Indian carrying a hacienda owner with a chair strapped to his back. Painting.
The transformative hope for the great majorities is not in either of the two options. In 2027, Guatemalans will continue to look for the promise of structural changes, hopefully with some lessons learned. For I do not believe that these peoples were born condemned to eternal placebo.
Two neoliberal social-democratic political parties are vying for the presidency of Guatemala on August 20. Neither of them has a majority in the next Congress of the Republic. Both turn to Washington for political cleansing.
In the case of Sandra Torres, candidate of the National Unity of Hope (UNE) party, she has already been imprisoned for crimes of illicit association. In the case of Bernardo Arévalo, there remains the benefit of the doubt about his promise of the “fight against corruption“. Although in 2015 Guatemala already elected an “outsider in the fight against corruption”, Jimmy Morales, who turned out to be worse than his imprisoned predecessor.
Whoever wins, the neoliberal system, intertwined with the drug trafficking industry, will continue to dispossess the territories with more violence than before. Neither political party questions the validity of the neoliberal system in Guatemala.
If the neoliberal system continues to thrive, then the army of Guatemalan migrants expelled to the U.S. will continue to grow.
By 2027, there will no longer be 6 out of 10 Guatemalans living in poverty, but poverty will be eating away at perhaps 65% or more of the population.
If Bernardo Arévalo wins, it is likely, due to the influence of the sensitive youth around him, that he will try to make some symbolic or cosmetic reforms in state institutions or public policies. But, if possible, such reforms will be minimal since the Congress of the Republic and the licit and illicit economy are controlled by the so-called “pact of the corrupt”.
In this hypothetical context, Arevalo will have no choice but to get as close as he can to the US Embassy (if he does not, he could have the same end as Jacobo Arbenz or Otto Perez).But, the Embassy will not allow Arevalo to get close to the anti-neoliberal or anti-imperial socio-political actors that will surely remain in the communities and in the streets of Guatemala. The indigenous-peasant-popular sector financed by USAID crumbs will not be able to defend Arevalo from the attacks of the oligarchy.
If Sandra Torres wins, she will have the support of the gringo embassy, as well as the country’s illicit oligarchy. The state apparatus will continue its accelerated process of entropy (self-destruction) occupied by organized crime. But, the living conditions of the people will continue to worsen.And resistance to dispossession and neoliberal plunder from the territories will continue to grow.
With the Seed party it is probable that the racist Creole State will oxygenate or try to revitalize itself, but it will surely be for the benefit of the usual ones, and on the ashes of the peoples.Just as it happened in the two centuries of the Republic.With the UNE party, it is likely that the apparent State in the territories will collapse faster, giving way, if anything, to self-organizing processes of the communities and peoples to manage their lives. But, violence and insecurity will continue to increase.
In short, the transformative hope for the great majorities is not in either of the two options.In 2027, Guatemalans will continue to look for the promise of structural change, hopefully with some lessons learned. Because I do not believe that these peoples were born condemned to eternal placebo.