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Guatemala: The new Democratic Spring in Guatemala is because of, and for the Guatemalan people, a majority being Mayan Indigenous peoples

January 14, 2024 marks only the third time in the country’s history that an actually democratic government has taken power. It marks the beginning of the country’s second Democratic Spring.

70 years ago (1944), Guatemala’s first actually democratic government came to power, commencing the first Democratic Spring.

60 years ago (1954), a U.S. military coup ended it, ousting Guatemala’s second actually democratic government.

Today, Rights Action says

All thanks and respect to those honest prosecutors, judges, lawyers and Members of Congress that did all in their power to resist and try and hinder the systemic corruption and impunity of decades of repressive, ‘open-for-global-business’ governments dominated by Guatemala’s traditional ‘Covenant of the Corrupt’ elites, all backed by the U.S., Canada and E.U.

All thanks and respect to the surprising and dignified Semilla Party, and newly inaugurated President Bernardo Arevalo and VP Karin Herrera.

But most of all, all thanks and respect to the Guatemalan people (including millions forced into exile since the 1970s), a majority being of the mainly Mayan indigenous peoples, who for 60 years have suffered repressive, corrupt governments and systemic exploitation and impoverishment, repression and violence, human rights violations and forced displacements, scorched earth massacres, disappearances and genocides in four Mayan regions of the country.

Most recently, without the past six months of sustained protests and mobilizations by the long suffering, repressed and impoverished Guatemalan people (read 6 months of Guatemala Election Watch alerts), it is almost certain that President Bernardo Arevalo and VP Karin Herrera would have been illegally and corruptly blocked by the traditional ‘Covenant of the Corrupt’ ruling elites from taking power on January 14, 2024.

Going forward, Rights Action will continue our support for land, rights and environmental defense struggles led by Indigenous and campesino communities resisting the harms and violence, corruption and forced evictions of numerous global extractivist industries. We will continue support for truth, memory and justice work, for the crimes against humanity and organized crime.

And we will support to the best of our abilities the re-building and empowerment of indigenous Ancestral Councils across the country that are the most important watchdogs and guarantors of the new Democratic Spring, and are key players in the work and struggle to transform countless economic, social, legal, political and land tenure aspects of this profoundly unjust, unequal, repressive and corrupt country.

The new Democratic Spring in Guatemala is because of and for the Guatemalan people.