Comments, In Focus, Latin America

Capitulation after weeks of social mobilisations 

In Guatemala, President-elect Bernardo Arévalo, besieged by the justice of the side of those ‘disobedient’ to Washington, signed a document of “capitulation” with the oligarchic side of those obedient to Washington. Most uncomfortable of all, he dragged into the capitulation the indigenous organisations that were already beginning to emerge as Guatemala’s “heroes”.


Ollantay Itzamná


The document agreed between some indigenous leaders, the National Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Tourism, and Bernardo Arévalo, bears the title Action for Democracy. It has no date, no signature. Only logos.

It contains 5 points.

The first concerns “respect for the election result and the handing over of power on 14 January”. The second states that “there will be no judicial reprisals against those who came out to defend the election results”. The other three are rhetoric: respect for rights, respect for democracy and resolving conflicts peacefully. That is, without blocking roads.

In this “act of surrender” to the Washington-sympathising business community, nowhere does the “demand” for the dismissal of the Attorney General appear. Consuelo Porras (with a mandate until 2026), Judge Orellana or Prosecutor Curuchiche.

There is no mention anywhere of the vaunted “fight against corruption” or the poetic “tropical spring”.

Karin Herrera and Bernardo Arévalo. Photo: Gobierno de Guatemala /Flickr.  Creative License Commons.

On the contrary, the indigenous leaders, after a month of protests, are obliged to “resolve the conflicts” without violating rights (free business transit).

Arévalo apparently also had to sacrifice his request for “no judicial harassment against his Semilla party”. In the act of capitulation, this request, reiterated more than a month ago, does not appear.

Who loses and who wins?

The mobilised popular sector loses. Especially those who sacrificed themselves in the belief that they would be able to “remove” the officials in question. Even part of the Catholic hierarchy and its parishioners took to the streets with this objective in mind. But the leaders and the president capitulated. The former perhaps in exchange for not “suffering” judicial reprisals for leading the road blockades, and the latter in order to take office on 14 January.

Once again, the indigenous leadership has lost credibility. How are they going to explain this capitulation that condemns them to “bosses’ pacification” to the native communities that slept in the streets? The supposed agreements were made in the halls of a comfortable hotel, behind the backs of the demonstrators, even without the press. Wasn’t it that the indigenous “heroes” of democracy are assembly members?

The agents representing US interests won. Not for nothing did Luis Almagro (Secretary of the OAS) have to put up with Curuchiche’s “public insults”. Now, Guatemala is under control again.

Both sides of the oligarchy, obedient and disobedient to Washington, won. The former because they did not relinquish their rotten control of the state apparatus. The former, because there will be no more “fight against corruption”, no more roadblocks during Arevalo’s government.

In short, although there is a capitulation act, without date or signatures, nothing has been said in this tropical territory where in moments the storm turns into a hurricane or vice versa.

A territory where the boss despises the “Indian”, no matter how much he “pays for the bosses’ democracy”, to the extent that, after almost a month of permitted festive demonstrations, the incumbent boss does not even deign to show his presence at the act of capitulation. PL

(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: Pixabay

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