As many of you may know, Guatemala has gone through a politically turbulent few months. The UN has been investigating corruption through a group we call CICIG here, which has lead to unveiling a bribery scandal involving both the then Vice President Roxana Baldetti and President Otto Pérez Molina. That lead to the VP’s resignation, and the President’s resignation, too, once he was stripped of his immunity from prosecution.
I got back to sweet-home Guatemala a few days ago, traveling all day wondering if the president would still be in office when I landed at night. That same night, he resigned (Finally!). Now, both Baldetti and Pérez are on trial for accepting millions of dollars in bribes while in office. As the investigation continues, there are sure to be many more politicians implicated.
This is a country where corruption is the norm, where one of the leading presidential candidates is running on the sole platform “Neither corrupt nor a thief”, where nobody really trusts the political system to do much of anything. So you can imagine what a big deal it is for the two top guys in this broken system to be brought down. And what’s more amazing to me is that the people are calm, peaceful, and more organized than ever.
Tomorrow is election day. Nobody is seems to be entirely sure of what will happen… who will be elected. With about a dozen candidates for presidency alone, it is overwhelming for anyone, but especially for much of the Guatemalan population that is not well-educated. This is unprecedented territory.
To be continued….
Read more here on the challenges Guatemala faces during these elections.