Here’s a headline that’ll send shockwaves through Central America: Anti-corruption advocate Bernardo Arévalo has officially become the President-elect of Guatemala! His victory is more than just an electoral win—it’s a powerful stand against a history of political corruption and U.S.-backed regime changes in the country.
Guatemalans, tired of the institutional erosion and skyrocketing poverty and inequality, cast their vote overwhelmingly in favor of Arévalo over his rival, Sandra Torres. And this isn’t just any victory. It harkens back to the progressive leadership vibes of Jacobo Árbenz, who faced a U.S.-orchestrated coup back in 1954. Fun fact? Arévalo’s lineage is steeped in democratic advocacy—his father, Juan José, played a monumental role during the ‘Guatemalan Spring,’ a beacon of democracy in 1944.
Now, the real question looming over this monumental election: Will Arévalo actually get to assume office come January 2024?
Here’s where things get spicy. Leading up to the election, authorities had already played their hand by blocking some noteworthy candidates from the ballot—Thelma Cabrera, a prominent Indigenous leader, being one of them.
In his triumphant speech post-victory, Arévalo addressed the elephant in the room—the possibility of Guatemala’s political bigwigs attempting to block him from taking the presidency. He stressed the resilience of the Guatemalan people, emphasizing, “The Guatemalan people have spoken forcefully.”
Though Arévalo managed to shock everyone with his stunning performance in the primary round, his journey has not been without hurdles. Cue Rafael Curruchiche, a prosecutor with his own corruption accusations, who attempted to suspend Arévalo’s party by claiming foul play with campaign signatures. Thankfully, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal came through, dismissing Curruchiche’s claims.
Yet, Arévalo’s journey to the presidency is far from smooth sailing. Allan Nairn, an American journalist who’s kept an eye on Guatemalan politics for decades, warned of Guatemala’s conservative elites who might pull all stops to prevent Arévalo from assuming office. It’s more than just winning the vote—it’s about winning big and rallying thousands to stand up for democracy.
To the millennials and progressives out there, take note! The winds of change are blowing through Central America, and it’s stories like these that reignite our faith in the power of democracy and the collective voice. Let’s keep our eyes on Guatemala and stand in solidarity with its people’s fight for a fair and transparent political future!