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The beginning of the democratic spring in Guatemala is, for now, blocked

2024-02-21T05:06:20.349Z

Highlights: The beginning of the democratic spring in Guatemala is, for now, blocked. Bernardo Arévalo has only been in power for five weeks, after overcoming the suffocating siege of the Corrupt Pact. He waved the flag of the “new democratic spring,” a romantic but suggestive evocation that finally summoned intergenerational support in the cities and the countryside. The dispute over the rule of law is the mother of the battles of democracy, writes Gutiérrez.


Arévalo and his party are learning to swim among sharks. His first movements have been between tentative and erratic, and the expected spring green seems to adopt a suspicious gray due to the permanence of the paintings that served the Pact.


What were the strategic tasks of the disruptive presidents of the 20th century?

For Juan José Arévalo (1945-51) it was about bringing Guatemala up to date with the demands of the 20th century: wage decree in the countryside, extended liberal education and social security at the height of the welfare state and in a framework of civil liberties, although on the outskirts of a fateful Cold War for the reformists.

Vinicio Cerezo (1986-91) masterminded the start of the current democratic wave by safeguarding its basic procedure (the popular vote), after the heavy burden of the militarist holocaust, on the eve of the implosion of communism, but under the new neoliberal hegemony that blocked the social lift of the middle classes and painfully eroded the pillars of democratic politics and institutions.

What will be the central task of Bernardo Arévalo, who has only been in power for five weeks, after overcoming the suffocating siege of the

Corrupt Pact

?

In his campaign, Arévalo Jr. waved the flag of the “new democratic spring,” a romantic but suggestive evocation that finally summoned intergenerational support in the cities and the countryside.

And the October Revolution (1944-1954) - ruined by a violent conspiracy of anti-communist landowners, politicians and religious people, led by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - was recorded in the memory of many Guatemalans as “the ten spring years, in the country of eternal dictatorship.”

The signs of the time in which the leader of the Semilla Movement will have to govern (2024-2028) are complex and uncertain.

The general discredit of liberal democracy as a formula to facilitate security and well-being;

the tide of rabid populisms headed decisively towards the establishment of neo-dictatorships that take wings on assertions as simple as they are false, deniers of climate change and allergic to the recognition of identities, at the same time that they roll out the red carpet to the armies in areas that are theirs. aliens;

the walls and allergic xenophobia in the face of massive migrations without governance.

The world is now too disorganized in its rearrangement to stop at trench wars for democracy, at least in Latin America;

However, Guatemalan democracy was miraculously rescued by an unprecedented synergy between indigenous peoples and the international community.

Now the leading role belongs to Arévalo and the part of him, who is learning to swim among sharks.

His first movements have been between tentative and erratic, and the expected spring green seems to precociously adopt a suspicious gray due to the permanence of the second and third rank cadres that served the

Pact

.

They are the “revolving door” of bureaucracy that I described in the scenarios for the first year of this Government.

The sign of the times for President Arévalo has a name: crisis in the construction of the rule of law, a structural problem that emerged in 2015, coincidentally when the founders of the Semilla Movement dreamed of building a long-term reformist political project with their mentor, Edelberto Torres. -Rivas (1930-2018), the most outstanding Central American sociologist of the last century.

Then, the CICIG (International Commission Against Impunity of Guatemala) and the prosecutors of the Public Ministry removed the roots of corruption and impunity like never before.

They offered an unexpected tank of oxygen to the already tired democracy that Vinicio Cerezo inaugurated three decades earlier;

and they excited the entire country, which mobilized fervently.

The dispute over the rule of law is the mother of the battles of democracy.

The Corrupt Pact knows this, because dominating it explains its lavish illicit enrichment with impunity, although impudence was also the window of its unexpected defeat at the polls in 2023. But it does not give up.

He now attacks using a subtle pincer operation.

Attorney General Consuelo Porras continues to beat the drum in her role as

Torquemada

and her allies in the judicial system tighten the criminalization against dissent.

The gray agents in Congress and the “revolving door” bureaucracy in the central government act as the mythical Medusa: they can turn into political stone the reformer seduced by their tempting eyes that invite corruption.

Removing Mrs. Torquemada will be President Arévalo's first strategic task.

Otherwise, the democratic spring could be spoiled before it germinates.

Édgar Gutiérrez

is a political analyst and former foreign minister of Guatemala.

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Source: elparis

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