Keeping It In The Family (New Internationalist)

It’s no secret that Guatemala City is a dangerous place. Central America’s largest metropolis is teeming with violence, gangs and crime. But will the upcoming presidential elections bring with it an end to the corruption that dominates Guatemala’s capital or is it set to worsen as Guatemalan’s go to the polls this September?

Campaign posters litter the roads of Guatemala City’s capital with various party slogans emblazoned across.

But since you can only legally declare yourself as a candidate once the elections are called in May, the contenders have already overstepped the mark; not that playing by the rules is particularly important in this race.

Controversy Kick-Starts Guatemala’s Presidential Elections

So far there are three potentially illegal candidates all vying for the country’s top spot.

Since 1985, Article 186 of Guatemala’s constitution has prohibited close relatives of past or present presidents from running for office – so as to prevent a dictatorship.

However, the current president’s wife, First Lady Sandra Torres de Colom, is vying to continue her husband’s tenure and has even sought a divorce from her other half in order to compete. Zury Rios Mont, the daughter of ex-general and military dictator Efraín Rios Mont also wants to throw her hat into the race. While lawyers of ex-president Álvaro Arzú are scrambling to find a loophole in the constitution that would permit him to run again too.

Guatemalans Protest Unlawful Behaviour

Many Guatemalan’s are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry over the unlawful behaviour of their country’s political elite who, they believe, are making a mockery out of the Guatemalan constitution.

How can the future president hope to reduce the violence that controls the city if they themselves have risen to power through corrupt means?

Last Sunday, 20 March 2010, a group of people gathered outside the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City to “defend the country’s constitution” and show their objections to Torres’ and Arzú’s bids for presidency. The political rally attracted over 17,000 fans on Facebook and was subsequently shut down by the social network. The event’s organiser, Rodrigo Mencos, said: “It’s not important to these politicians that they’re violating the laws.”

Another demonstration rally has been organised for the end of March.


1 Response to “Keeping It In The Family (New Internationalist)”

  1. 1 tacky April 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Some things never change around the world. The families in power like to keep in power. Thanks for your coverage.

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