A Call for Democracy and Respect for Human Rights in Guatemala
Attorney General Consuelo Porra is promoting in Guatemala what some writers have described as “lawfare” months after the landslide electoral victory of Bernardo Arévalo to the presidency of Guatemala. Lawfare is a political war through judicial-media channels, with economic, political, and geopolitical interests hidden from public opinion. It usually operates “from above” through a judicial apparatus that “rises” above the Legislative and Executive Branches, expanding the room for maneuver and power for judges, to the detriment of the loss of balance between powers, enabling a growing “juristocracy,” and normalizing in many cases the double standards of the law. The elevation of the judicial apparatus and the selectivity in the instances is articulated with a leading role of the media, which operates for the prompt criminalization of political sectors or leaders. https://www.celag.org/observatorio-lawfare/ In the specific case of Guatemala, Porras’ lawfare and even the suspicion of a “legal coup” has been developed against a legitimately elected government and a president, Bernardo Arévalo, selected by 61% of the voters. Bernardo Arévalo, who has not yet been sworn in — the swearing-in is scheduled for January 14. Since 2019,
The prosecutor launched an irrational attack against president-elect Bernardo Arévalo and several leaders of his party, “Movimiento Semilla” (“Seed Movement”). She intends to erase them from political existence and describes them as a “criminal organization.” For now, she managed to freeze the party’s legal status and issued arrest warrants against some youth leaders. She launched three lawsuits against Arévalo to imprison him. She has the underhanded support of President Alejandro Giammattei, who is urged on by his unofficial partner, the young Miguel Martinez, sanctioned at the beginning of December by the Biden administration with the Magnitsky Act for alleged acts of corruption in the purchase of Russian vaccines and money laundering in a U.S. bank. The coup effort is supported by a majority of deputies — provided they get their money’s worth —some judges, magistrates, and oligarchs who still believe they are anonymous. https://english.elpais.com/international/2023-12-12/the-coup-detat-led-by-the-attorney-general-in-guatemala-will-fail.html
The National Confederation of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA), one of the Global Ministries’ Partners in the country, expressed its denouncement of the actions that are undermining democracy and human rights in that country. They reject the political persecution against the Semilla party as the winner of the general elections already recognized by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal -TSE-and by different national and international observers. CONAVIGUA joined the rejection of imposing a coup d’état promoted by Attorney General Porras, judges and magistrates, and other political and business actors, which they signaled as supported by the government of President Giammattei. CONAVIGUA urgently called on the Organization of American States, the European Union, deputies from different parliaments with a democratic vocation “to be vigilant and accompany our country. We must not allow abuse of power, corruption, and impunity, and we must not allow any more violations of rights. Human rights. Our commitment to a Plurinational Guatemala and to the defense of women’s human rights, the struggle and resistance continues.” We have included the original communiqué in Spanish and English.
Civil and human rights and indigenous organizations have been accompanying the people of Guatemala in their strikes, protests, and vigils against this threat to democracy and human rights. Héctor Castañeda Midence, General Coordinator of the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala, describes the process as follows:
“The people of Guatemala, throughout its history, have demonstrated that they have a democratic vocation, the organization of the people through the ancestral authorities, the union, student, and people of Faith movements, has always called for authentically democratic governments. In every mobilization, sit-in, and resistance, authentic representatives are demanded, and the usurpers are denounced. This suffering feat favoring authentic representation of the people’s autonomy does not come from past elections. It comes from the depth of our territories’ history and bodies.”
“Yesterday at the sit-in in front of the MP (Public Ministry) with the community in resistance of Santa Rosa, with some members of the Xinca parliament, we remembered our martyred relatives. Strong men with skin tanned by the harsh eastern sun, hands roughened by the crow and the hoe, men of the countryside, accustomed to resisting any inclemency, and yet we cry with deep pain. But strangely enough, we feel strengthened by crying instead of feeling hopeless. It’s hard to understand, I know. But that was how we felt last night, and that is how it has been in the darkest nights of our towns. We concluded in our talks that an ancient pain lives in us, but far from weakening us, it strengthens us, motivates us, and gives us Faith.”
Declaration of CONAVIGUA: NO MORE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, NO TO THE COUP D’ÉTAT (En español)
As a women’s organization with a political and historical commitment in the country, today, within the framework of the commemoration of the 75 years of the declaration against Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by the United Nations Assembly, we raise our voice as survivors of the Genocide, to point out that the different governments that have led our country have violated and disrespected human rights, especially the rights of indigenous peoples, resulting in the Genocide of the 1980s.
For decades, as survivors of the Genocide and crimes against humanity, we have sought justice for the crimes that the state security forces committed against families in urban areas, communities, indigenous people, women in general, and especially massive sexual violations that were committed against the dignity and honor of Mayan women, causing multiple and irreparable damage to the mental, physical and spiritual health of girls, adolescents, mothers, pregnant women, young women, and the grandmothers.
At CONAVIGUA, we recognize the bravery of women, families, and communities that have faced official justice by demanding, pointing out, and demanding that investigate, sanction, and punish, with the total weight of the law, violations of human rights humans that hundreds of families suffered in the eighties. A lot of women We have bravely taken the decision and the risks that the search for our relatives detained and forcibly disappeared and buried like XX in the hundreds of clandestine cemeteries throughout the country.
We are convinced that those responsible for the crimes of severe violations of the human rights of the past today are also responsible for violating democracy and committing serious violations of human rights and life, disrespect for the mother earth, territory, natural assets, violations of the laws, of the Constitution Politics of the Republic, abuses of power, looting of state assets, corruption, the high cost of living, migration, abandonment of public services and all the racist actions against indigenous peoples.
We value, support, and honor the historical role of our indigenous, ancestral authorities, who, with courage and determination, led the national strike today with its different modalities of struggles, resistance and an indigenous uprising with the participation of other peoples, organizations, social, women, students, peasants and Christians among others, we continue to fight, uniting and defending the demands of our people so that democracy, the popular vote, the free expression of thought, free organization and free mobilization are respected. We use the right to peaceful and organized resistance to reject corruption and impunity.
We reject the political persecution against the Semilla party as the winner of the general elections already recognized by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal -TSE-and by different national and international observers. We join the rejection of imposing a coup d’état promoted by Attorney General Consuelo Porras, the FECI, some judges and magistrates, and other political and business actors, all supported by the government of Alejandro Giammattei. We urgently call on the OAS, the European Union, and deputies from different parliaments with a democratic vocation to be vigilant and accompany our country. We must not allow abuse of power, corruption, and impunity, and we must not allow any more violations of Human Rights. Our commitment to a Plurinational Guatemala and to the defense of women’s human rights, the struggle and resistance continues.