The Election of Molina-Perez
This picture is from Tikal, where we went on Sunday. It was incredible.
This is from a movie you might know called Star Wars. There are several shots like this that were taken in none other than Guatemala. I always thought it was filmed on a foreign planet but it turns out Guatemala wasn’t that far away after all!
The day at Tikal was especially fun because I didn’t take any sort of camera. That is, my camera broke last weekend at Panajachel, so instead I just tried my hardest to get into everyone else’s photos. I think that the mission was successful.
Sunday a new president was elected. His name is Otto Molina-Perez, and he was a military general in Guatemala during the civil war. One of my Latin American history textbooks points out that typically candidates that have recently been elected in Guatemala are leftover from wars. Molina-Perez is no different. He was trained at the school of the Americas in Georgia and is known to have authorized massacres in Guatemala. His excuse was that he was under orders.
They estimate that there were 200,000 people killed during the civil war, and in 1999 the UN declared that there was a genocide of the indigenous Guatemala people.
However, Molina-Perez got off the hook by saying that he was under orders.
That didn’t work in the Nuremberg trials and it shouldn’t work now.
His platform was “Mano Duro”, which translates to something like “Iron Fist”. He says he will attack the gang problems and drug trafficking in Guatemala, but likely his four years will be spent paying back people for electing him President. The money he spent on campaigning is sketchy to say the least. Noone knows where the money came from.
This was also the same guy who was in Antigua the first day we arrived. Remember the Orange Clowns?
We talked in class today if it is possible for Latin America to grow economically like the “miracle countries” of Southeast Asia. Hypothetically if a proper non-corrupt leader came into power and placed serious land reforms than more equality could be found.
There just needs to be a guarantee that the US will not intervene to overthrow the government like they did with Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.
That’s the guy himself. He was mostly revolutionary in that he was trying to help his people.
I went with a Guatemalan student, Cesar, to the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City and noticed the murals throughout campus. One depicted Che Gueverra, Jacobo Arbenz, and Karl Marx right next to each other.
One quote from Arbenz on the wall I wrote down.
“De que sirvela riqueza sino esta en la felicidad del pueblo.”
“Of what is wealth unless it is in the happiness of the people.”
Is reform possible? Is revolution possible?
Only time will tell.
It’s anyones guess, including the Economist magazine. As the US loses it’s military policing ability of the world will it focus more internally? How will the empire fall?
A new paradigm is figuring out how free-trade neoliberalism and human rights fit together, because right now it’s not cutting it. Even though the richer are richer, what about the 99% in the US? What about the rest of the developing world?
As for now, I’d better study hard because this global economy isn’t leaving soon.