Will The New Government Really Help Guatemala?


By Isabella Rolz

GUATEMALA - Frustration over prevalent corruption, the new government which inaugurated in January 14, is expected to begin a new democratic era, and consequently, continue with the newly Central American Spring.

Guatemala has long been linked by their corrupt and bloody history, some of the world’s highest homicide rates, pervasive poverty, gang violence, and organized crime.

“Years of living under the boot of authoritarian military rule in this country has also left its middle class fearful of political activism,” said Foreign Policy.

Guatemala is the second poorest country in Latin America, plus, it has the world’s fifth-highest homicide rate. It has been a challenge over the years to make progress on these issues because its presidencies have stolen millions of money from public funds.

The head of Transparency International Guatemala, Manfredo Marroquín, pointed out that an array of corrupt government officials left Guatemalan institutions, specifically the judicial structure, depraved and full of demagogue officials. 

According to Vox World, Marroquín calls this corruption "the greatest challenge in Guatemala today."

Consequently, the new president: Jimmy Morales, who took office this January – with his campaign slogan being “Not corrupt, not a thief,” is best known by many supporters, as the new face of anti-corruption.

Many voters were attracted to Mr. Morales because he represented an anti-establishment and therefore a fresh start.

Nonetheless, the country that the new president inherited is a troubled one, 20 years subsequent to the Guatemala’s 36-year civil war, which killed over 2000,000 people. “Meanwhile, the deeply entrenched structural conditions that gave rise to that conflict — the enduring vestiges of colonialism, political exclusion, inequality, and poverty — remain largely intact,” said Foreign Policy.

Morales and his cabinet are the only hope Guatemala has to transform the country. Aside from his anti-corruption campaign, Jimmy Morales pledged to reform education and health care - it is yet to be seen if that will get accomplished.  

But as the nation struggles to embrace an era of waning influence for those accustomed to impunity, merely declining to impede high-profile prosecutions for war crimes won’t be enough,” said Foreign Policy.

In order for Guatemala to progress, President Morales will have to demolish the entrenched military elites as well as other powerful enterprises that remain with colossal power and eradicate the ongoing corruption across the governmental institutions.