Guatemala's new president to ask for society's assist in face of opposition from entrenched powers


GUATEMALA CITY — President Bernardo Arévalo mentioned Thursday that together with his political occasion suspended, little help in congress and an legal professional basic in scorching pursuit, he’ll enchantment to the Guatemalan individuals to assist him overcome the entrenched outdated guard and obtain the change he campaigned on.

“We’re clear that within the present context, we rely on society and convincing them that collectively we start to row,” Arévalo advised The Related Press in an interview two weeks after his inauguration. “We are able to’t rely on a political system the place these prison and patronage networks nonetheless lurk.”

Arévalo gained the presidency in August, beating the institution candidate by a cushty margin. He’s the son of a former president credited with implementing a few of Guatemala’s key labor protections, however Arévalo’s sturdy displaying in a crowded subject was nonetheless a shock.

The considerate politician with a background in academia and battle decision caught fireplace with a message of difficult the nation’s entrenched energy construction and resuming the struggle in opposition to corruption.

The face of the resistance to alter is Lawyer Normal Consuelo Porras. Sanctioned by the U.S. authorities for allegedly undermining Guatemala’s democracy, Porras has used her workplace’s autonomy to pursue Arévalo and his occasion since he gained a spot within the presidential runoff election final yr.

Arévalo needs her out, however she has up to now refused to go.

The president mentioned Thursday that Porras’ workplace “is the place the perverse system stays anchored and we’re in search of the authorized technique of resolving this.”

Her time period runs via 2026.

“We’re undecided she’s going to complete her time period as a result of there are actions in congress and authorized actions,” Arévalo mentioned. “What pursuits us is that the Lawyer Normal’s Workplace stops appearing in opposition to the regulation and in opposition to the democratic institutionality of the state.”

With solely days in energy, Arévalo mentioned the extent of current corruption was evident.

“There are ministries the place you simply need to open a drawer and (the corruption) jumps out at your face, as a result of the vanity concerning the impunity was such that they didn’t even attempt to disguise it,” he mentioned.

However he asks: “To whom would you’re taking the complaints, to an entity during which there is not any confidence?”

That is a problem for Guatemala’s relationship with the USA, one of many overseas powers that stored strain on the outgoing administration to make sure a clean transition. In trade, he mentioned, the U.S. authorities needs a companion they’ll belief.

“If their fear is drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, they cannot belief a corrupt authorities, nor the political events that elect narco deputies and narco mayors,” Arévalo mentioned.

As for U.S. issues over immigration, Arévalo mentioned the answer is Guatemala’s growth. “If the arrival of undocumented immigrants is an issue for them, the nation’s growth is a part of the reply that they want and it’s exactly what we need to make occur,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, Arévalo acknowledges that the Guatemalans already dwelling within the U.S. are a key supply of earnings — bigger than exports or tourism — via the remittances they ship residence. In trade, they need to have some kind of political illustration, he mentioned, suggesting an abroad district be established via which they may select congressional illustration in Guatemala.

Talking within the wood-paneled presidential workplace, Arévalo mentioned that upon his inauguration his 98-year-old mom, Margarita de León, gave him recommendation: “Now you’re president, respect your father’s reminiscence and should God enlighten you.”

Arévalo’s father, Juan José Arévalo Bermejo, served as president in 1945-1951, ushering in what got here to be often known as Guatemala’s “spring.” He later went into exile in Uruguay the place the youthful Arévalo was born.

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