By Beatrice E. Rangel
Guatemala truly is a showcase of corporativism. The economy is run by about 15 players who determine market conditions at polo matches.
Political parties are organized around the idea that the public treasury is the election bounty. Television radio and movie theatres are monopolized by a single powerful economic group that gets to decide what news is to be spread and what entertainment will prevail in the country. The military is partly penetrated by powerful economic interests and partly by organized crime. Court decisions can be commissioned — should the price be right.
In this stage a presidential election is being prepared for September and the institutional framework is already being manipulated to give the presidency to a person who feels comfortable with this state of affairs — and evidently two female leaders seem to miss that match. Thelma Aldana, a former prosecutor who successfully built a case against former president Otto Perez Molina and initiated investigations targeting current president Jimmy Morales on the grounds of corruption, is now the subject of an arrest warrant by Guatemalan authorities.
Paradoxically enough in a land where no public servant seems to understand that the state is not a booty, Ms Aldana has been charged with illegally hiring employees in her office. Ms Aldana, who was abroad and had secured a registry of her candidacy with the electoral court, plans to return and to run given that the Guatemalan law protects candidates from prosecution.
Another rejected candidate was Ms Zury Rios Sosa, daughter of Efrain Rios Montt who was a horrific dictator whose government exterminated segments of the Mayan population while killing leftist leaders by the dozens. Article 186 of the constitution of Guatemala states that relatives of coup leaders can’t be elected president or vice-president, and that includes Rios Sosa. Her father led a coup in 1982 to conduct one of the most repressive regimes in the Central American country.
Rios Sosa has threatened with making public her father’s files where many of the Guatemalan elite are signaled either for corruption or violations of human rights. Ms Rios Sosa of course also is highly inconvenient to Guatemala’s elite as they would lose control of the country on two dimensions. First because they will be unable to exert pressure on Ms Rios Sosa to compromise public policies in their favor given that she probably has enough information about each actor to send him or her to jail.
Second, given her independence from political parties, the military and the business community she could command a disillusioned civic society into mobilizing against the MRE, as they are dubbed by US State Department Officers (MRE-= Morally Repugnant Elites). Should either of these two ladies break the isolation wall, probably Guatemala could begin to clean up its politics, institutions and future to follow the steps of the single democratic star in the region, Costa Rica.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday, March 25th, 2019
*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*