Guatemala’s Presidential Elections: A Choice Between Elite Interests

Andrea Ixchiu, from Prensa Comunitaria, gave an interview with The Real News days before the Guatemala Presidential elections and her analysis still stands in the lead up to the run-off, next month, between Jimmy Morales and Sandra Torres.

While Jimmy Morales may be a TV comedian, he’s surrounded by a dark military elite linked to war crimes and ‘organised violence’ – self-styled political party (MLN) – who put a lot of pressure on the media during the genocide case.

These networks have been organising themselves to maintain their position in power and to set themselves against trials for human rights violations. These groups are strongly linked with traditional business elites. The current interim President, for example, was an important member of the MLN, “the party of organised violence”.

Manual Baldizón, on the other hand, represented a different business elite, the new elites as distinct from the traditional ones and has been linked with drug cartels and paramilitary groups. Sandra Torres, however, is tied to the traditional elites.

All this rules out any effective opposition in Guatemala.

While the protests and mobilisations of the last several months against corruption and for a more just future have placed the spotlight on high level criminality and impunity, nothing has changed regarding the structures in place that allowed this to happen. The rules haven’t changed.

The search for a just future had also included attempts to change the electoral rules in Guatemala but these remain and continue to favour the ruling elites, with the US flip-flopping around but maintaining their traditional support for the elite status quo.

The popular mobilisations have been dangerous for these interest groups who want to sustain their dominant business role in the face of the historical demands of the indigenous communities, the women’s struggle, and those that want to put people and communities before the interests of transnational capital, especially those linked to resource extraction projects and hydroelectrical projects.

You can watch the interview and read a transcript here, on The Real News.

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Categories: Presidential Elections, Video

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