On Thursday September 3, 2015, the president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, resigned from office in the midst of fraud and corruption allegations. His vice president, Roxanna Baldetti, resigned from office in May and is currently in jail for her involvement in the scandal. They have been accused of fraud and receiving millions of dollars in bribe money.
Unfortunately, corruption at the highest levels of government in Guatemala is not rare. What is unique right now is the widespread peaceful protests that demonstrated to the country and the world that there are a growing number of Guatemalans who desire justice and are willing to fight for it. There is an awakening among young Guatemalans to be involved in the process. Through social media, they organized for a cause greater than themselves and have seen the results they desired with the president’s resignation.
In addition to the historic event of a presidential resignation, the national election is Sunday, September 6. Even though there are 17 candidates running for president, I have often heard that there are no good choices. Whoever is elected is entering into a new political environment in Guatemala. In the past, due to the 4 year term limit of the Guatemalan president, often he would take advantage of that time to “steal” as much as he can. However, with the new energy and attention that has awakened, it is not likely the new president will be able to get away with much.
For the Love of Missions has seen there is a lack of trust in authority, especially for those living in marginalized situations like the garbage dump. There is skepticism toward those who are supposed to be helping but so often are just looking out for themselves. And who can blame them! It really is no wonder we, as an organization, encounter so many challenges rooted in this lack of trust. Maybe, just maybe, this is a turning point for Guatemala. I join so many in praying for this election and new awareness to bring hope and healing.