Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Turmoil in Guatemala! Part 3

To add to the social unrest in Guatemala, there has also been a lot of political instability during the past 6 months. An international organization that fights corruption and impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) uncovered a massive tax evasion and bribery scheme involving high ranking government officials and influential members of the public and private sectors. This came on the eve of decision the president had to make whether or not to extend the agreement with CICIG to continue working in Guatemala. Initially it appeared that the president (Otto Perez Molina) would not renew the agreement, but when the evidence came out he did agree to allow CICIG to continue operating in country. He is probably regretting the decision now because of what has transpired since then. Initially, the secretary of the vice-president was implicated, but he disappeared without a trace. Some say he is in hiding while others suspect he is dead. After this the vice-president was implicated and she resigned and is currently awaiting trial. With her a number of key government officials and heads of the public sector where implicated and are awaiting trial. With all this coming out, Guatemalans started to protest by the tens of thousands in the streets demanding that the president resign. In his campaign he had promised to be tough on crime and corruption. However, his government has probably been the most corrupt as to date. It is estimated that they stole more than $100 million in taxes and bribes from the country. Even though people were demanding his resignation the president refused to step down. However, after months of weekly peaceful protests (sometimes more than 100,000 people) the president stepped down shortly before the national elections. By this time his immunity had been stripped away and he was left with no options. He is currently in custody awaiting trial. One wonders what will all come out in the trial and also what the West's involvement has been in all of this. Otto Perez Molina was a general in the US backed Guatemalan army during the civil war and was involved in several massacres of indigenous villages. One also wonders what arrangements have been made for him and others involved and whether or not they will ever be sentenced for their crimes.
Por Andrea Orozco y Byron VásquezRegardless this was an historic event in Guatemala. Never before had the pressure of the people of Guatemala been able to lead to a president resigning from office. Never before had the protests been peaceful and orderly. It seems that Guatemala might be turning a corner politically and socially with regards to democracy. It appears that God had also heard the prayers of thousands of Guatemalan Christians who have spent the past months praying and fasting for the country. Please join them and us in prayer for Guatemala and its government.