My god (who doesn’t exist)!
I didn’t expect it, but it’s happening…Guatemala, of all places, might be joining the leftward trend in Latin America.
Rigoberta Menchu, indigenous leftist winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has entered into this September’s presidential race in an alliance with her new indigenous movement, Winaq (which is a Mayan word meaning the whole integrity of a person…or something close), and the center-left Encuentro Por Guatemala, which is headed by Nineth Montenegro, another famous activist, and I believe one of the founders of GAM (mutual aid group…a group of families of the disappeared). The press in Guatemala is all over the place in their comments about Rigoberta (an indigenous leftist woman running for president!), and most seem to think that she won’t win but that she might come in 2nd or third…but no one really knows.
The problem is that the front-runner is Alvaro Colom, a social democrat (center-left, more or less) who is something like 12 points ahead of second place Otto Perez Molina…who is a hard right ex-General (from the genocide days of the civil war) who’s campaign slogan is simply “firm hand.” Now with Rigoberta in, she’s going to be taking votes from Colom…which might end up just strengthening the ex-general to win in the second-round of voting. Boy I hope not.
My partner, Glendi, and I (that’s a long and beautiful story that I’ll tell you all soon enough!) actually saw Colom speak back in August of 2006. He wasn’t bad. But he’s not all that good either. She’s rooting for Colom. But I’m rooting for Rigoberta. Because if she wins, she’ll probably sign on to ALBA alongside Evo Morales, Carlos Ortega, Chavez, Castro, etc…and then Guatemala will get cheap oil, doctors, reading programs, etc…and those alliances are so important.
If Colom wins, maybe he’ll pursue similar alliances, but I’m not sure, because the right wing is already attacking him as a “Chavista” and he’s vigorously denying it.
This will be an interesting 6 months in Guatemala.