Could Indigenous demonstrations against corruption lead to lasting change in Guatemala?

Eduardo Campos Lima wrote recently in America: The Jesuit Review about the increasingly active response to government and elite corruption especially as seen through Indigenous mobilisations. Interestingly, in presenting a ‘split’ in the opposition in, for example, town and country, there is a sense of a split in the response of the Catholic Church in Guatemala in how to proceed.

Thousands of Indigenous activists and small growers demonstrated in Guatemala on Sept. 15 against President Alejandro Giammattei’s administration and the country’s legacy of colonialism and racism. The day had marked the bicentennial of Central America’s independence, but protesters said they had no reason to celebrate that independence.

Since 2020, Guatemala’s historical social inequality—which especially affects the Indigenous and rural populations—has only worsened because of economic deterioration intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic and a serious political crisis created by, critics charge, Mr. Giammattei’s increasing authoritarian tendencies.

The divides in the Central American country are many: About a fifth of the population still supports the controversial president, while a majority disapproves of his administration. Most of the opposition comes from the countryside, while the government can count on support in the cities.

Organized groups of Indigenous communities and subsistence farmers have been denouncing the president’s alleged corruption and calling for his impeachment, but other social actors have been seeking dialogue and reconciliation. The same split appears in the Catholic Church.

You can read the full piece, with links, here Could Indigenous demonstrations against corruption lead to lasting change in Guatemala?

Categories: Corruption, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Indigenous peoples, Justice, Poverty, Violence

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