Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Guatemalans Getting Out of Line

From what I've been able to glean from looking at a few blogs is the Guatemalans are sick of the corruption and neglect of government and the ruling cla$$ -- as are much of the people of the planet.

Bottom-lefthand corner, page A7:

"Anger as Guatemala votes amid graft scandals" Associated Press  September 05, 2015

GUATEMALA CITY — The wave of political turmoil that toppled Guatemala’s president has overshadowed Sunday’s vote to elect a new leader, an election that many fear could put a lid on the anticorruption drive.

Tens of thousands who demonstrated for the ouster of President Otto Molina Perez got part of their wishes when the president resigned to face possible corruption charges in a customs fraud scheme.

But a second major demand wasn’t met: the postponement of the election that many said offered little alternative to the old guard.

‘‘The people are rejecting this political system, the mafia takeover of democracy. They feel like voting is simply selecting the next person who will loot the country,’’ said Manfredo Marroquin, president of the influential civic group Citizen Action. 

Sadly, I know exactly how they feel.

Leading in most polls with roughly 30 percent backing is Manuel Baldizon, 44, a wealthy businessman and longtime politician.

If none of the 14 candidates reaches 50 percent, a runoff will be held Oct. 25.

What do you do when most elections are rigged?


No need to make to big a deal of what is going on down there. Pre$$ never really has before.


"Guatemala presidential vote appears headed to a runoff" by Sonia Perez D. Associated Press  September 07, 2015

GUATEMALA CITY — A former television comic was heading for a runoff with either a wealthy businessman or a former first lady in voting for Guatemala’s next president, days after the Central American nation’s leader resigned over a corruption scandal.

With about 79 percent of polling stations reporting early Monday, comedian Jimmy Morales, who has never held elective office, was leading with 26 percent of the vote.

It's funny and it is not. There was once a movie made of such things (that touched on electoral fraud), and now that he is dead(?) I'll never forget it.

What is signals is the average Guatemalans disgust with their US puppet regime.

He was followed by businessman and longtime politician Manuel Baldizon, with 18.5 percent, and former first lady Sandra Torres, with 17.7 percent.

Assuming no candidate in the field of 14 gets a majority, the top two finishers advance to a runoff to be held Oct. 25.

“The people are showing that they do not want a group like that for the future,” Morales said, referring to Baldizon’s LIDER party.

Rudy Marlon Pineda, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, said final results would be available Monday around midday.

Electoral officials estimated a nearly 80 percent turnout.


Right about here is my already-outdated print(?):

The candidates in Sunday’s election faced an uncomfortable challenge: trying to win votes in a nation where former President Otto Perez Molina remains in court custody awaiting a decision on whether he will be tried on graft charges.

Most of the candidates were old-guard figures picked to run before energized prosecutors backed by a mass anti-corruption movement toppled Perez Molina’s administration. Many voters were so skeptical that they campaigned for the election itself to be postponed to give them a new crop of choices.

Baldizon had led most polls with roughly 30 percent backing. His running mate is accused by prosecutors of influence trafficking, but as a candidate enjoys immunity from prosecution.

Analyst Christians Castillo said Morales’ surprising performance was a sign of voter discontent, “a vote of punishment” against more traditional candidates.

I will tell you this: it is a THEME HEADING into 2016 around here! 

Guatemalans were also voting for vice president, members of Congress, and the Central American Parliament, and local authorities for municipalities nationwide.

A key question was the level of protest vote in the face of the customs corruption scandal, which also forced Perez Molina’s previous vice president, Roxana Baldetti, to resign. She, too, is accused in the scheme.

Activists had urged voters to go to the polls wearing black clothes of mourning, abstain, or cast null ballots. On the streets, it was hard to find a campaign poster that hadn’t been covered with insults. Tens of thousands had joined demonstrations asking for the vote to be postponed.

About 8.5 percent of votes were blank or spoiled.

Add that to the comedians total, then half it and add that due to fraud. What's that give you, over 50? That is your true result where it an honest counting in Guatemala (I call 'em as I count, 'er, see 'em).

Baldizon, who finished second in the last presidential race, initially campaigned on the slogan “It’s his turn” — a reference to the fact that the last four elections have been won by the previous runner-up. It struck many critics as a display of what’s wrong with the country’s politics. At protests, demonstrators have chanted: “It’s not your turn.”

Made me laugh, and I'm thinking Jeb Bush, Hillary, Biden, naaaah!

Elites actually think they are entitled to rule, and the damn formality of voting gets in the way!

Baldizon has acknowledged Guatemalans’ disgust with crime, corruption and impunity. His campaign website vows a “modernization of the democratic state” to reform government and combat poverty

His crew and cronies up to their eyeballs in it as well as benefiting from increasing wealth inequality that is rampant everywhere -- but they's gonna fix things!

That's where the print ended for me, more or less (been rejiggered, a theme today; one almost thinks they are reading me sometimes and are trying to slow me down).

and social inequality. 

Don't know why the scissors fell there, but moving along....

But after Baldizon’s campaign blew past the legal ceiling on electoral costs, he ignored orders to stop spending. 

Spent loads of dough and still finished in second? I'll bet that comedian ran on a punch line.

Morales boasts of his outsider status and says he is part of the uprising against corruption. He has promised greater transparency, including media review of government contracts. 

How is your security team?

Torres divorced former President Alvaro Colom ahead of the last presidential race to try to get around rules barring presidential relatives from running, but was still ruled ineligible. A businesswoman and longtime political party figure, she is proposing a coalition government to respond to the concerns of outraged citizens

So she is the limited hangout, third-way compromise, huh? Or does her support just go to Baldizon, thus making his ceiling about 36?

Zury Rios — the daughter of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who faces charges of crimes against humanity for killings by security forces during his 1982-83 regime — was also on the ballot. She was taking around 6 percent of the vote. 

That's the first inkling of murderous US-supported regimes that have not been mentioned at all in print. You see where they are topping out, 'eh?

One of the first to cast his ballot was President Alejandro Maldonado, who was vice president before he swore in to office this week after Perez Molina’s resignation. He said it was citizens’ responsibility to vote, and then for elected officials to live up to their duty

It sounds good, but....

Businessman Salvador Paiz said the political crisis touched off by corruption scandals will encourage the public to keep a close eye on the next crop of elected officials. 

If hungry, harvest and eat 'em.

“I see a government that is going to be much more monitored by Guatemalan society, and I think that’s great. . . . Today we Guatemalans are coming out with courage to denounce acts of corruption,” Paiz said. 

They sure as hell are!

Attorney General Thelma Aldana said authorities had received about 1,200 complaints related to the election, including the burning of some ballots in the municipality of Patzun, north of the capital.

Like I said, they rigged some of it and Rivero is right: you can only sway the vote so far. Especially in "third world" countries where people actually TALK to EACH OTHER about things, like who did you vote for?!



"The corruption scandal brought together thousands of protesters, from the indigenous to business representatives and clergy, all demanding that the president resign. The discontent also played out during Sunday’s presidential election, in which the front-runner in the polls, a longtime congressman and establishment candidate, placed third in the vote and will probably not advance to the Oct. 25 runoff." 

They aren't getting back in line.