Welcome back to another week of Central American news. This week, the news has been edited by Rodrigo Peñalba and Jonathan Peraza Campos.
Guatemalans headed to the ballots today to choose their new president, although few expect a winner in the first round. In this contentious election, half of the electoral vote remains undecided as nineteen candidates campaign for the presidency. Businesswoman and former first lady Sandra Torres leads the polls as the centrist candidate from the Unity for Hope (UNE) Party followed by right-wing Vamos candidate Alejandro Giammettei. Although she ranks fifth in the polls, the Maya Mam candidate for the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP) Party, Thelma Cabrera, has electrified the political landscape with proposals to transform a country laden with corruption and inequality in defense of indigenous and campesino rights.
Guatemala deals with large networks of corruption and narco politics. Former attorney general Thelma Aldana, who had worked with anti-corruption body led by the UN to help dismantle these networks, became the strongest candidate in the race. But she was stopped in her tracks when a day before her official registration, a warrant was issued for her arrest on charges of corruption, not long after she received death threats from paramilitaries and army veterans who demanded that she rescind her candidacy. Aldana remains in El Salvador as she fears for her life and arrest if she were to return to Guatemala.
This presidential election will put the strength of Guatemala’s democracy to the test.
Thanks for joining us, readers, for another edition of Central American News.
The Central American News Team
P.S. Next week, the Central American News team will take a summer break. We will come back with more Central American news on June 30th.