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Spartan Scoop

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Spartan Scoop


The soon-to-be President seems promising for Guatemalans, but he faces much adversity
Javier Arango, Wikimedia Commons
Bernardo Arévalo, the face of Guatemala’s future democracy

There is talk of a coup in Guatemala. Rumors have been rushing around the country that the recently elected President, Bernardo Arévalo, may be withheld from taking office. The current government of Guatemala doesn’t seem thrilled to welcome him, and have taken measures to ruin the legitimacy of his win. Many of Arévalo’s supporters were angry about this, so they began wide-spread protests.

Arévalo is a controversial figure to the current government because they know he is bound to initiate an enormous change. His grand, correctional ideas about how Guatemala should be run interfere with how it’s being operated now. Therefore, extended investigations are being conducted on his campaign with the intent to uncover something compromising.

One of the ways government officials have expressed their mistrust in Arévalo is by looking into a possibly tampered with vote-counting computer system. They allege that his party entered the names of deceased people to count as votes. The people supporting him do not believe that Arévalo had anything to do with this. Arévalo’s support is so enthusiastic that they choose to ignore any nay-saying against their President. Many Guatemalans had long been waiting for someone with new ideas to arise. They wanted a change from the seemingly endless stream of poor governance.

Arévalo is anti-corruption, and he claims that some of those in the current government are corrupt. He is an advocate for clean democracy, which is what he says is starkly different from how Guatemala’s democracy is now.

Arévalo is anti-corruption, and he claims that some of those in the current government are corrupt.

— Asher Maney

The popular support of Arévalo is similar to that of his father in the 1940’s. Many of the senior citizens remember Juan José Arévalo’s presidency and how refreshing it was. This period of time is called the ‘Guatemalan Spring’ and took place after 100 years of dictatorship. The Spring lasted for about ten years and was most notable for its democracy. Juan José Arévalo was one of two presidents over the 10 years. 

Those who were alive during the time remember it today as one of the best times in Guatemalan history. The time ended in 1954 when a coup was instituted by the U.S. 

In this recent election, the people elected Arévalo partially because of the similarity between him and the ideals of the Spring. The presidents during that time wanted departure from corruption, just as Arévalo wants now. Arévalo’s even pointed out the similarity between himself and the Spring. This idea caught on among the multitudes of modern Guatemalans. 

Because of this, He won the democratic election by a large amount. The government responded negatively to his win and began to study anything that would cause Arévalo to be unable to take office. Arévalo was angry about the hold up and called for his supporters to take to the streets in protest. 

Obeying their soon-to-be President’s suggestion, the streets were soon flooded with angry protesters. They blocked roads and hung out around dams causing a ruckus and making sure their stance was well known. Photos of make-shift roadblocks have been circulating on the internet. They were constructed on necessary roadways in an attempt to show dissatisfaction with the government’s response. The people badly wanted to get what they voted for.

Of course, all the protesting is not good for the Guatemalan economy, and many retail stores closed down because of a lack of incoming shipments. Trucks carrying supplies could only get so far on the road before having to stop abruptly at one of the many fiery tire roadblocks. Around $366 million has been lost all around the economy in just the last three weeks

Expected to take care of the situation and appease the protesters was David Barrientos, the Interior Minister. David chose to do little to help out. He consciously ignored his job and allowed the protests to keep on going. Eventually, one of the protesters died when someone was shot by an unidentified gunman. This caused the Interior Minister to resign from his office. 

Government officials who are trying to disprove Arévalo’s legitimacy are being called to resign by his supporters. One of them is Consuelo Porras. She is the Secretary General, and is not a popular figure among Arévalo supporters. She has led criticism against the many protests and has stated, “I want to express my complete disagreement and distaste”. 

Porras is responsible for a lot of the investigations. In fact, she is the main reason that the protesters are even on the streets in the first place. The people want her to step down and stop holding everything up. However, she is firmly convinced that some kind of law was broken in the process of his election and refuses to resign.

Even if Porras has a fair point to make about the disorderly conduct of the protests, she is undoubtedly holding up a system that needs to get running in order for the people to be happy.

Other than Porras, there are a few others in the current political regime that have reasons not to want Arévalo as president. The main reason that he is anti-corruption is because corruption definitely exists within the government. Some of those holding positions right now may face consequences if what he promises is true. He plans to purge the system of dishonest individuals. It isn’t any wonder to Arévalo why he is being held up in a web of legal strings.

If the current government manages to prove some falsification or manipulation in how Arévalo won the election, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal because of the many supporters he has. The only reason to be worried is that if something serious is proven, he could be completely withheld. 

Overall, the people of Guatemala are very happy to have a new president with great promises for the future. He wants to return Guatemala to the golden age in their history; to give the people what they want: freedom from persistent corruption. As Arévalo takes office on January 14th, many eyes will look to see how he holds up against stubborn opposition, and if he does do his best to keep his promises.

About the Contributor
Asher Maney
Asher Maney, Reporter
Specializes in politics, gardening, and Grandpa Asher