- Guatemala's elections: the riches against the fascists (December 1999)
Guatemala was abandoned by the world when a ruthless dictatorship uprooted
hundreds of indian villages and killed an unknown number of innocents
(unfortunately, the Nobel Prize was awarded to the one Indian woman who had
nothing to do with all of this, thereby diminishing the entity of the drama).
Guatemala was the battlefield for a civil war that lasted from 1960 till 1996.
It was by far the longest (36 years) and the bloodiest (200,000 people killed,
one hundred times more than in Chile or Argentina).
tired of the endless fighting, the parties finally reached an agreement to
end the civil war. The curious fact of today's
elections, the first truly democratic elections in Guatemala, is that the
two candidates selected by the people for the runoff both belong to the
right-wing elite that ran the country during the civil war.
Alfonso Portillo is widely believed to be simply a puppet politician in the
hands of the former dictator, Rios Montt, who is going to be the speaker of
the parliament. Oscar Berger is no less clean as he belongs to the wealthiest
elite of the capital, the one that profited from the inequality and
exploitation of the dictatorship.
The party founded by the main rebel leader, Rodrigo Asturias, only won 12%
of the votes. The general who had started the peace process,
Julio Balconi, sat it out.