A Critical Moment for Democracy in Guatemala
As the current right-wing government in Guatemala threatens a coup to prevent a transfer of power coming out of recent elections, social movements have been out in the streets mobilizing tirelessly. They are calling for respect for the election results in the short-term while standing up for justice, self-determination, and the realization of basic human rights more broadly. Several of our movement partners and allies are among those at the forefront of these struggles, including Comité de Unidad Campesina/Peasant Unity Committee (CUC) and Sector de Mujeres. Please read the following statements by CUC and Sector de Mujeres (in alliance with others) and stay tuned for further updates.
Statement by Comité de Unidad Campesina (CUC):
PROGRESS IN THE STRUGGLE OF THE MAYAN PEOPLES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND BROAD SECTORS OF SOCIETY AGAINST THE COUP D’ÉTAT AND THE TERRORIST RESPONSE OF THE STATE IN GUATEMALA
- Legitimate resistance. Making use of the constitutional right to peaceful resistance against abuse of power, corruption, manipulation of justice, and attempts to overturn the popular vote in the recent elections, the Indigenous peoples, peasant organizations, inhabitants, traders, transporters, democratic political parties, and broad sectors of society, have come together in a sustained, democratic, and peaceful way, to engage in popular resistance across the country’s territory.
- The democratic actions of the people, including mobilization, forming alliances, and a high level of personal and collective sacrifice, have succeeded in stopping the illegal actions initiated by the Executive Body, the Public Prosecutor, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court, and certain organizations with economic influence. The main aim of these actors has been to overturn the popular vote and annul the recent election through brazenly illegal and illegitimate chicanery, and to use tricks to impose a government willing to join the corrupt pact.
- Popular mobilization and resistance have put a brake on the plans of the coup perpetrators. Corrupt actors (Consuelo Porras and staff of the Public Prosecutor) who have promoted the coup have been called on to resign, as they have broken the democratic rules of the Constitution of the Republic, in order to block the results of the 2023 elections. This demand has brought together a broad social and popular alliance, which has managed to safeguard the fragile democracy of Guatemala.
- The state response has been criminal, using semi-clandestine structures made up of illegal groups directed and funded by members of the corrupt pact. Organized crime represses the people, through extrajudicial violence, threats, and murder. A brother from San Marcos was the first fatality.
- An end to parastatal repression of popular resistance. It is vital to dismantle the criminal groups that repress the people, and to prosecute those responsible for the crimes committed so far by the participants, financers, and masterminds of the coup.
- The resignation of Consuelo Porras and her accomplices in the crimes committed against the 2023 elections.
The victory of the Indigenous peoples and social organizations, who have stopped the coup d’état planned by the reactionary forces in this country.
WE CALL ON EVERYONE TO DEMONSTRATE ON OCTOBER 20
UNTIL THEY RESIGN. GUATEMALA OCTOBER 2023
Statement by Sector de Mujeres and allies:
THE FUTURE DOES NOT JUST ARRIVE, IT IS BUILT
The recent actions of the Public Prosecutor and the Constitutional Court have served to consolidate the corrupt pact and the systematic corruption that is rife among state institutions, which completely undermines the will of the people and threatens the fragile democracy of Guatemala. Faced with these actions, as Alianza Política Sector de Mujeres, Asociación Grupo Integral de Mujeres Sanjuaneras, Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala, Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas, and the organizations of the Coordinadora 25 de Noviembre:
- We reject the actions of the Public Prosecutor that break the rules of the Constitution, endangering electoral process and thus violating the sovereignty of the Guatemalan people.
- We reject the ineffectiveness of the Human Rights Ombudsman as the guarantor of the observance of the rights of the population, which has come out to demonstrate peacefully.
- We condemn the corrupt system that has become established in state institutions, leaving the majority of the population abandoned, especially women; this can be observed in the lack of healthcare, poor access to education for girls and boys, and the increase in the number of people forced to leave their place of origin and go to other countries.
Faced with this breach of human rights, the population of Guatemala has decided to take to the streets to make demands. Firstly, they demand that the results of the vote on August 20 should be honored. Secondly, they demand the resignation of: Consuelo Porras, Head of the Public Prosecutor; Rafael Curruchiche, Head of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, and Judge Fredy Orellana, who are the people responsible for committing illegal acts against the will of the people.
We recognize the historic legacy of the 48 cantons that have resisted for centuries, and the courage of thousands of Guatemalans in defending democracy in the country, taking to the streets to peacefully exercise their right to demonstrate, demonstrating today that the future does not just arrive, it is built.
We call on the international community to pay attention to what is happening in Guatemala, and to observe how a dignified people defends and builds a country with peace and social justice.
Guatemala, October 2023