Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Guatemala on the brink of serious social crisis

By Lucas Leiroz | November 26, 2020

A major crisis is unfolding in Guatemala. Violent protests, vandalism and mutual accusations fill the scenario of great political, social, and institutional tensions that are forming in this Central American country. Last weekend, amid protests against the government in the center of Guatemala City, there was an attempt to set fire to the National Congress, which gained prominence in the news across Latin America. At first, the main suspicions pointed to criminal actions of violent protesters, but some investigations point to completely different possibilities.

Initially, investigators began to question the fact that the Parliament’s security team was very scarce at the time of the demonstrations – even though it was clear that on November 21 there would be protests in the vicinity, having previously been publicly announced. The Congressional protection scheme was limited to a few individuals scattered around the area, without any organized staff to prevent potential acts of vandalism. Still, according to reports, the Guatemalan National Civil Police simply did not try to prevent some of the acts of vandalism carried out during the protests, remaining inert while the crimes were being committed. Witnesses say the police watched passively as the protesters set fire to the Parliament without any reaction. Several photo and video records were posted on social networks around the world, proving police inertia in the face of vandalism, which caused indignation and suspicion.

It was then that the Guatemalan political opposition, led by the party “Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza” (UNE), began to claim that such acts were not committed by protesters, but by government infiltrators, protected by security forces, trying to boycott the legitimate civil acts. The government’s intention, according to the opposition’s allegations, would simply be to delegitimize popular demonstrations through propaganda about the acts of vandalism practiced by such infiltrators, which would make a perfect excuse for the government to take exceptional measures and act violently against the protesters.

To understand the Guatemalan crisis properly, we must analyze the country’s situation profoundly. The peak of popular dissatisfaction, which motivated the violent protests of November 21, was the approval by the parliamentarians of the Budget of the Republic for 2021. The project of State accounts significantly reduced health and education expenses, which generated legitimate popular indignation. Among the social programs that lost funding under the new budget are child nutrition projects, for example – even in a country where the poverty line reaches 50% of the total population. In the same vein, provisions for universities, maternity centers and medical clinics have declined substantially and are now in real risk. After the increase in violence in the protests, budget approval was temporarily suspended.

Despite this being the peak of the revolt, popular indignation began much earlier and encompasses several factors. Guatemala suffers from a serious case of structural corruption, as well as great incompetence to deal with the country’s main social problems. The country has not yet overcome the crisis generated by the new coronavirus pandemic and the two consecutive hurricanes that hit the region recently, leaving hundreds of dead people.

Popular indignation is not restricted to the acts of the Parliament. In the Executive Branch, the situation is similar. Alejandro Giammattei’s first year in office is being marked by criticism and scandals, in addition to a notable inability to overcome internal differences between members of his own team. For example, recently, Vice President Guillermo Castillo criticized Giammattei for invoking international legal documents to legitimize a severe response against acts of vandalism during the demonstrations. Castillo classified the attitude as exaggerated and said that the Guatemalan people do not practice such acts.

In addition, the vice president stated during an interview that he asked the president to resign from his office with the aim of alleviating social tensions in the country. Castillo openly defends the creation of a Guatemalan “commission of notables”, led by religious and popular institutions, which should give to the Congress a list with possible names to occupy the office of new president. This is sufficient to reveal the deep level of dissatisfaction, disunity, and lack of strategic planning within the Guatemalan government and parliament.

While the accusations continue on both sides and the Guatemalan state is fragmented into several political factions, the population suffers from the consequences of many incompetent policies. Now, with the arson attack against the Parliament, popular demonstrations are likely to be suppressed with extreme violence. Although Congress has suspended the approval of the new budget, there is no indication that such suspension will continue – it may be only a temporary measure while the demonstrations remain violent. It is likely that the government will tighten up its security policies and that the restriction on popular acts will grow to the point of preventing any legitimate demonstration against austerity measures. Given the recent history of the country and the entire Central American region, it is difficult to establish any positive scenario for the near future in Guatemala.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

November 26, 2020 - Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Another Social Crisis in a Central American country? Gee, I wonder who’s behind it this time. I wonder if the CIA know what is going on, I mean, they seem to take particular interest in Central and South America, and so many political leaders in that zone have died in nasty accidents over the years…….
    If only they had “Stable Government” like the USA, where everything is done properly…….

    Like

    Comment by brianharryaustralia | November 26, 2020 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.