Guatemala. In the second round of the presidential election, held on December 28, Óscar Berger of Gran Alianza Nacional (GANA) won before Álvaro Colom. However, the most attention was given during the year to Efraín Ríos Montt’s candidacy.
According to Countryaah.com, Guatemala Independence Day is September 15. The 78-year-old former general, who was Guatemala’s dictator in 1982–83 and charged with Mayan Indians genocide, has twice tried to run for office but was stopped by the Supreme Court on the basis of a clause in the Constitution that bans people who participated in military coups. As late as July 5, his candidacy was again rejected, but after appeal to the Constitutional Court, where Ríos Montt’s attorneys claimed that the clause came into force only in 1986 after his departure, the sentence was annulled. However, he only got 18% of the vote in the first round of elections on November 9.
The election campaign, incidentally, became violent; by September 1, 17 political activists had been murdered and 12 were subjected to attempted murder, in addition to several acts of violence against journalists and legal officials in particular. Paramilitary death squads were suspected to be behind.
Guatemala ratified the ICC Statute in April 2012. At the same time, the United Nations Human Rights Council urged the government not to impede the prosecution of those guilty of genocide in 1960-96. Molina had briefly denied that a genocide had ever taken place in the country during this period.
Molina was chosen to take a tough course on domestic violence. Two years later, he was more known for the desire to legalize drugs, because the fight against drugs had failed anyway. In 2009, Guatemala had 4 cities on Latin America’s top-10 list of violent cities. At the top was Esquintla with 165 annual kills per year. 100,000 residents. 5,174 were murdered in the country in 2012.
In June 2014, former Chief of Police Erwin Sperisen was sentenced to life in prison by a Swiss court for his participation in the killings of 7 inmates in the Pavón prison in 2006. He was the Chief of Police in Guatemala in 2004-07 and in 2007 fled to Switzerland. He had dual Swiss-Guatemalan citizenship.
As a result of the collapse of law enforcement in the country, failure to protect witnesses and total impunity for criminals in the security forces, the population is increasingly resorting to self-rape and lynching. Dozens of Guatemalans were killed by lynching in 2013 and 14.
In a 2014 article, Noam Chomsky described Guatemala as one of the world’s worst current horror cabinets. A direct consequence of the 1954 CIA coup and the subsequent superpower’s support for the country’s changing military dictatorships.
In April 2015, the Guetamala State Prosecutor, in collaboration with the UN, revealed the existence of a criminal organization involving people around the president. In the so-called La Linea case, persons around the president had formed an organization in collaboration with high ranking officials in the customs. They ensured that the country’s major importers were reduced to duty, in return for paying money to the criminal organization. In May, Vice President Roxana Baldetti resigned because of her involvement in the criminal organization. In August, she was arrested. That same month, the state prosecutor presented evidence of President Molina’s participation in the crime. On September 1, Parliament deprived him of his political immunity; on September 2, he resigned; and on September 3, he was arrested and placed before a judge. He was transferred to the Matamoros prison in the capital. Acting Vice President Alejandro Maldonado took over the post until January.
A few days after the president’s departure, presidential and parliamentary elections were held. Outgoing President Molina’s party, Partido Patriota (PP) lost 39 seats and had to settle for 17 out of Parliament’s 158. From being the largest party, it was sent back to 4th place. The largest party was the conservative populist Libertad Democrática Renovada (LDR), who went 30 seats up to 44. Second largest was the Social Democratic Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza (UNE), which however dropped 12 seats back to 36. First came in URNG 9th place with three mandates – but tripled in 2011.
By the first round of the presidential election, Jimmy Morales from the conservative Frente de Convergencia Nacional (FCN) received surprisingly the most votes: 23.9%. Second, Sandra Torres received from UNE with 19.8%. The FCN was brand new in Parliament. It had come in with 11 seats, making it the 5th largest party. At the December 2 polls, Morales won a landslide victory of 67.4%. He was inducted into the presidential post in January 2016. He represented good conservative values as a supporter of the death penalty and opponent of abortion. He further denied the military had massacred the indigenous population in the 1970’s and 80’s. Not weird. His party had formed former officers in 2008.