BB Video - Guatemala Protests: Eyewitness Cellphone Video from Twitterers


(Download / Watch on YouTube)

This past Sunday in Guatemala, tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital city to protest the assassination of an attorney who blamed president Álvaro Colom for his imminent murder in a posthumously-released YouTube Video.

Boing Boing Video viewer (and BB blog reader) Maria Figueroa (@thevenemousone on Twitter) was there with friends, and she sent us this eyewitness report captured on her cellphone.

Twitter has played a central role in this still-unfolding crisis: protests have been organized on this and other social networks, and Twitter user Jean "@jeanfer" Anleu went to jail last week for having posted a tweet related to the scandal. Authorities released him to house arrest, and he was forced to pay a $6,500 fine (for which he is now in debt).

The video featured here was shot on Maria's phone just as the protest was assembling. Her photos from Sunday's protest are here on Flickr. Here are more video clips documenting the protests.

Discuss

38 Responses to “BB Video - Guatemala Protests: Eyewitness Cellphone Video from Twitterers”

  1. axl456 says:

    I do not want to be polemic neither start a Discussion.

    But i would like to know what the poor ppl of guatemala have to say about this..

    I DO think that colom has to take a step back and let justice happen (like the girl on the video says).

    actually i think that he have to resign.

    But sadly as an venezuelan citizen, I allways have seconds thoughts when it comes to listen to the rich class, and a girl with complete knowledge of english in guatemala, is not the profile of a middle or poor class person..

    just to make this comment more clear, I DO NOT think that this could be an master plan of the rich class to take control of guatemala..

    I just want to hear the opinions, of the poor class of guatemala.

    remember, the most dangerous minority is the wealthy minority
    http://tinyurl.com/q6dyo2

  2. socialnerdia says:

    nicely said.. it’s sad but true.

    still confused out of my mind about what the whole thing with the badgers is about though..

  3. jeaguilar says:

    @Venomous

    I am honestly not familiar with the Cabrera dictatorship but will look into it. I think it’s important to underscore that this administration has only been in power for 15 months and that there is a tremendous amount of instigation on the part of the parties that have a vested interest in destabilization.

    I was forwarded an op-ed which was pulled from publication that calls for a respect for the democratic institutions and democracy over violence and vengeance. I think it’s a good read: http://sites.google.com/site/justiceandtolerance.

    @Wash Wash

    Let’s not pretend that the situation of violence in Guatemala is a recent phenomenon. My parents were extremely lucky back in 2001 driving up to Guatemala City (on an ill-advised road trip from Nicaragua). They were pulled over at gun-point, held for many hours, and thoroughly robbed. Mercifully, they – unlike so many others – were not murdered and left on the side of the road. I don’t think that anyone denies that there is a horrible situation of violence in Guatemala. I do think it’s a little disingenuous to expect that this administration would come in to solve all those historic problems in 15 months. The government can only do so much. Especially when they are battling to enact tax reforms that are so strongly opposed by the oligarchy, right?

    I think that it is evident that there is a strong part of this movement that is genuine, youthful, and inspired. And I think that the vigor of youthful protest is being co-opted by those for whom political instability is in their interest. Which is a shame, because what the beautiful country of Guatemala needs most in order to achieve peace is unity.

    I think Venomous is right about his demands for justice (and as Xeni pointed out). This is about something bigger than Colom. But the path to get to that there can’t be the same path of violence, instability, and impunity that has failed in the past.

  4. Takuan says:

    we don’t need any stinking badgers.

  5. Takuan says:

    I don’t know Guatemala. I do know people. This all smells genuine to me.

  6. nosehat says:

    @Takuan:

    Groooaaan!

  7. Takuan says:

    we had to get it out of the way before it got worse.

  8. dreego says:

    I think everyone that lives or lived one time in Guatemala knows the hard facts straight up, and feel a bit resentful towards derrogatory comments, specially as to “what side are they on?”. Well, I can say that on my behalf, my side is justice.

    During my lifetime I’ve seen so many governments prostitute and destroy this country to the core. I’ve seen deaths, I’ve seen cowards run, or hold a gun against you for no reason whatsoever. I’ve seen a man mourn his wife and child over a “fatal mistake” of being on the wrong place, at the wrong time. I’ve seen a decent hard working poor class man on his way up, die horribly because he had books instead of a “juicy” laptop in his backpack. I’ve seen death, and it’s not just casualties, numbers, statistics. It’s grim, and it’s awful to go back home with hands and clothes stained with innocent blood while trying to aid them, keep them alive.

    When you touch death that much, it’s bound to get you deep. I’ve even questioned my own religion many time as to why this kind of thing happens? Why this country is overflowing with criminals, while the good man out there gets it EVERY SINGLE DAY? When people say: “It is what it is”, it upsets me. When people think that the higher classes are the ones overthrowing governments that give out to the poor, I ask them “What have you done to change it?”, and basically most of them reply with either a lame excuse, or just silence.
    Why that reply? Because everyone lives in fear of coming out, and trying to settle justice straight.

    I don’t know on this crime (Mr. Rosenberg) who’s really to blame. All I know is that him, like MANY other crimes (and I could spend a whole day reciting names, crimes and still the day wouldn’t be enough) are eventually forgotten and left behind, going back to that “It is what it is” idea to comfort them on their despair. This time it’s an eye opener to most of the people who has had their share of crime and death. And it was an eye opener for those who don’t want it to happen to them. It’s an eye opener for everyone who claims justice.

    What we’re all working for is, that the truth comes out. And we hope that the truth is fair and just. Because we all need to rest our conscience once and for all, for the crimes we know that have been left behind, and for the people that corrupt the system.

    And if that’s not all, the rally held by the President on Sunday at Central Park left a lot of people disappointed with the fact that, being low class, they know they were played and they know that they’re helpless as to what to do. I’ve worked with low classes, helping them in their time of need, and it upsets me that people manipulate them because they are helpless. So you can count that my part goes out to giving the low class a voice, an intelligent shout-out without encouraging them to take arms and violence. Giving them, as well as future generations of all classes a new reason to make this country an example for the whole world.

    That’s my two cents, and I don’t care who goes against it, I’m a stubborn idealist who still believes in the truth, the fair and the just.

  9. nosehat says:

    yes, I can appreciate that. well played.

  10. dreego says:

    If you ever head down to Panajachel, Solola here in Guatemala (just an example), you might find that there are low class native people that are fluent in English, Spanish, French, German and still talk in their native tongue amongst each other.

    Like my Grandfather once told me, knowledge is rich for those who know how to embrace it.

  11. Takuan says:

    I would like to ask the Guatemalans what the future of Guatemala is?

  12. washwash says:

    I agree with you JEAGUILAR, no one expected the Colom government to solve the problem overnight.

    Especially considering the lack of funds.

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the tax reforms being proposed so vehemently by the government, up to the point where a congressman told the press last week that if it didn’t pass, the president would dissolve congress.

    The reason many people are against it is that most of the new taxes would go to Mrs. Colom’s Cohesión Social program, a multi-billion DOLLAR slush fund that has no transparency or congressional oversight whatsoever, congress gave her the power to do with that money as she saw fit, she answers to no one.

    I think you said it best when you said: “But the path to get to that there can’t be the same path of violence, instability, and impunity that has failed in the past.”

    That is exactly what this movement is all about. Changing the path.

    No one said it would be an easy road, or a speedy one, but nonetheless it is a path we must embark on.

  13. socialnerdia says:

    Wow “The Raven” knows nothing.

    The fact that there is an embarrassing and unjust gap between rich and poor is only a part of the reality. Guatemala is full of violence and corruption, and that’s the way it’s been for a long time. Read Prensa Libre (a newspaper) online every day and you’re sure to often see murders, kidnappings, ex-presidents living in other countries with tax money, rapes, hunger, etc etc etc. Believe me that in some parts of the world, Oprah means nothing.

    I have friends that have been shot at by 13 year old kids (for a cellphone). I have family members that have been kidnapped for political reasons. I have family members that have had 4 guys point a gun at them for a car. I know two kids who got kidnapped at their bus stop. I knew a girl in high school who’s dad was tortured in front of his son. So the violence is real. I’ve also been in a part of Guatemala City that is basically on a dump and the kids there need to breathe it day in and day out. I’ve hung out with people that have absolutely nothing and a lot of everything. There are good people and bad people. But unfortunately the system breathes injustice and it lets the violent be violent, and the corrupt be corrupt.

    Even if a miracle happened and a good president/party was in power, it would be almost impossible to rid the country of the corruption.

    Just do a search for Guatemalan ex-presidents, let me know which island they’re on these days.

    And sure, “political opponents” will “attack and destabilize” as Xeni said. And that is part of the point. I doubt many here know this, but about 5 bus drivers were killed on the same day some weeks ago, in different areas of the city. It paralized everything. So this only makes things WORSE. Both sides of the coin are ROTTEN. And anyone who tries to make a difference, CANT.

    Next time you make ignorant assumptions (the raven), do some research. Trust whatever you want. Just keep reading your internet while sipping your coffee and dont worry because you might never have to live in a place where they take your life for a couple of bucks and governments get rid of you for standing in their way.

    Even with research, even living there, you would probably not understand the complexity of one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.

    So I thank God for the people who walked, and marched, and told the world that they HAVE HAD IT. This is not about politics. This is about humans just asking to be able to live their lives. I can only hope that one day Guatemala is rid of violence and corruption, as well as poverty and injustice.

  14. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I call shenanigans on the following astroturfy weasel phrases:

    - it’s important to underscore (talking point deluxe)
    - let’s not pretend (you mean disagree with you)
    - I think that it is evident (and the evidence is…?)

  15. jeaguilar says:

    @MDH: It was not my intention to sound douche-y or arrogant: I was just trying to articulate my feelings without being disrespectful. The first draft of my post was definitely rude. I disagreed with Antinous’ comment because it seemed to me that he (or she) didn’t take the time to read my posts and just nitpicked my phrases instead. Thanks for the pointer on “kindly suggest” which I will take into consideration.

  16. jeaguilar says:

    Of all the recent governments that Guatemala has had, can you name a single one more committed to the poor and disadvantaged than the current administration?

  17. jeaguilar says:

    @Antinous

    Astroturfy weasel phrases? I call shenanigans on your moderation. “It’s important to underscore” is accurate because it calls attention to a very important aspect of the debate about the current situation in Guatemala: namely, that it is the exact same situation that has had no successful resolution for years upon years. So, it is important to remind the people – those that blame the current administration for the systemic problems in Guatemala – that the current administration is not the source.

    “Let’s not pretend” does not mean “disagree with you.” It means that, for the purposes of this discussion, it would be silly to argue that the violence in Guatemala is a new occurrence. There isn’t any informed person on the planet that would disagree with that but there are many who would – see above – blame all calamities on whoever happens to be in charge at the time.

    “I think that it is evident”… Ummm, isn’t the evidence that “there is a strong part of this movement that is genuine, youthful, and inspired” embodied not only in the article above but in the comments herein too? The evidence is also in that this particular revolution is being Twittered which I would posit suggests a certain youthfulness.

    I kindly suggest for your future moderation that you read completely and in context and not just extract a few phrases for literary critique out of context.

  18. venomous says:

    @Raven: you saying only rich, right-winged people have internet access and are reporting actually offends me. First, it offends me because I think it’s an ignorant comment, and an easy way to disqualify the whole situation. Second, it offends me because you question the reasoning why we are doing this.

    The whole point of who I am in terms of the Guatemalan society is, to me, irrelevant, but I will clarify for you. I’m neither rich nor poor, neither left nor right winged. I’m a middle class kid, who was lucky enough to have working-class parents who could provide me with education. I (until this point, I guess) have always been apathetic when it comes to politics and public movements. To me, it’s something that has NEVER worked, and something that is not trustworthy. We have a joke here in our country, which is that in every presidential election, it’s not really about choosing the best prospect because NOBODY is good enough, but choosing the least worst one… and you know? I think it’s time we did something about it.

    My generation is a generation of Guatemalans that did not know war, as our parents did. We did not know war, but we know violence very well. We know corruption. We know hopelessness and unfair justice being served. We know mobs, mafia, drug cartels. And this video, vehemently screams to us to wake up, to do something, it tells us this environment we live in, and that we are used to is NOT how it should be.

    I have no idea whether Rodigo Rosenberg’s alegations are true, or not. To me, the alegations of who killed him are not even the most important part of the video.

    The most important part of this video is the wakeup call. We live in a country where 20 people die in violent acts every day. Where 98% of the responsible for these deaths are still walking freely, unconvicted. And we have realized that we are the ones who need to change that, because not our president, not our justice system, not our parents can do anything for it.

    All we want, I will repeat myself from that video, is fair justice. Not only against the president because oh well, he happens to be the one implicated in the Rossenberg/Musa cases, but against anyone who deserves to be served with it.

    We are sick of choosing the “least worst”, we are sick of just being an spectator in the daily show happening around us. And well, we know that to do so, we need to show the world that we need a change, from the inside out.

    I don’t want to “throw the government”, to “do political change”. I’ve never liked politics. I am not a politician, and I’d say I don’t know much about the subject. I will also add that there have been politicians that think they can take advantage of this incident (I’m talking about you, Mr. Perez Molina), which I condemn, because this is not a political fight. It’s SOCIAL fight.

    What I want is to be able to walk around my block without fear of being robbed, raped, or murdered. I want REAL change to our country, for everyone.

    Is that really too much to ask? I think not.

  19. mdh says:

    If you feel the need to “kindly suggest” how someone does their job, you’re being a douchebag.

    Not saying you’re wrong, or right, just that you do come across as rather arrogant and yes, weasely.

  20. Androide says:

    @axl456
    Your comments show profound ignorance of the situation in Guatemala. Most of the people protesting and speaking up are average citizens, neither rich nor poor, just people that are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    This is not about rich vs poor, which is what the government would have us believe, and what your own government in Venezuela has led you to believe.
    ‘Divide and conquer’, that’s their motto. Don’t let them fool you into that trap.

  21. axl456 says:

    @DREEGO (#23)
    well thats, really hard to believe, but i wont doubt your word..

    despite that, is not just the knowledge of english, i just say that to make a point, but is clear that all of these videos, blogs, and tweets are coming from the rich, or middle-rich class of guatemala. Lets not lie to eachother saying that poor ppl have access to internet, cuz even if they do have access, they dont use twitter, or visit blogs like Boingboing.

    People outside guatemala (like me) can not see the entire picture of whats happening there, i know that because that’s exactly what’s happens with the info that go outside venezuela about our situation here.

    Is funny but, the only video I’ve seen showing a group of ppl from the poor class of guatemala, was a pro colom video, where the ppl was supporting colom..

    I would say it again so you dont think am a troll (Xeni dont eat me xD). From my point of view, i think that despite all the tweets, blog post, etc, colom has to resign. And win back again the trust of the people IF he can.

    but we all have to remember that a country can not run by just listening to the voice of one side.

  22. The Raven says:

    I was going to write a more extensive reply, but “what Jeaguilar said” will mostly do. I will add that when I hear a political movement complain of crime, that movement may well be used support an authoritarian crackdown. My heart goes out to the people of Guatemala. Yet for a political movement to succeed in Latin America, courage, strategy, political theory, broad-based support, and ethical leaders are all needed. It isn’t enough to get out into the streets–you’ve got to go somewhere better.

  23. Roy Trumbull says:

    I’m afraid things have been a mess for as long as I can remember. I had a relative by marriage who lived in Guatemala. She would leave the country and come to the states because things had gotten too bad for her. Then she would return only to head back norte again a few years later. That went on for the 40 years I knew her. She dearly loved the country.

  24. Anonymous says:

    One of those links posted up there seem to suggest that only some privileged or elite is behind most of the information we are getting about all this. I suppose this could be seen as a fair assessment, given that we know that poorer nations have, in general, less of all the things we in the developed world take for granted. I mean, they are “poorer”, right?

    It doesn’t really work out that way, though.

    This notion that, somehow, only the advantaged have access to the internet in so-called developing nations is misguided. The fact is that, for better or for worse, the internet is part of a great majority of urban peoples around the world. This is true in Papua New Guinea, it is true in Ghana, and I assume it is also the case in Guatemala.

    Furthermore, places that did not have the long advantage of telephony infrastructure monopolies also do not have a large existing investment in landline telecom. The adoption rate of mobile phone technology in many developing nations is huge — often much higher than markets in the US and Europe. This means that convergent technologies like SMS and chat and, now, Twitter also had, and continue to have, a very high adoption rate in those places.

    The irony is that for many in the urbanized developing world the real problem is getting a safe place to live, access to reasonably priced food and a government that doesn’t just hang you out to dry when the shit hits the fan. Mobile phone service and daily internet access is so cheap and ubiquitous in most urban centres that even if you do not have access to either, you know someone who does.

    Therefore, it is difficult to make any assumptions about the demographics or the socio-political backgrounds of a population of “internet” users from a place like Guatemala. Certainly, it is a mistake to assume that the same barriers to entry to internet and telephony that exist in the US are the same elsewhere.

    Maybe it is an elite that are the only voices we are hearing. If so, it isn’t because non-elites do not have access to, or awareness of, the internet and things like Twitter. If those voices /are/ silent there is another reason.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Venomous, don’t even listen to that raven dude. He obvs doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    If a badger came up to you and started spewing nonsense about memory leaks in dynamic pointers in C++ would you listen to it?

    Neither would I. Badgers know nothing about object oriented programming.

    -A

  26. Takuan says:

    whenever I’m looking at a complex situation from the outside (and without understanding what I am looking at) I ask myself two questions:
    1. who is getting killed?
    2. who is getting the money?

  27. venomous says:

    #11

    Epic geeky comment is epic and geeky (FTW!). :D thanks.

    @JeAguilar
    I will give you my humble opinion and answer on your question. My answer, is depends. Why?

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the government of Guatemalan Dictator Manuel Estarda Cabrera, in the early 1900s. He was “the president that educated the country, and the poor”. Sometimes, Colom’s presidency reminds me of Mr. Estrada Cabrera, and his claims of progress.

    While I will admit that Colom “has given”, I will also debate this point. Guatemala’s public health system (and coverage, especially outside of the city), is outdated. Public education, while now free, is still extremely low quality.

    I know you cannot bring change and progress within one year. But that is my very same point. This administration acts as if they have fixed all of these people’s problems sometimes, and that bothers me. Sure, they give them things. But don’t only give them food, money, and basic services so you can later threaten them to remove them if they are not supportive.

    What about giving these people a real chance? What about giving them an oportunity to progress? We have lived in a vicious circle for the past 200 years in which the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. And I think everyone should get a fair chance to progress.

    As I mentioned earlier, I will not deny they have given. But they need to stop to give only when there’s a gain for them, and give because the people DESERVE to have.

    In the end, it might be that you might be biased, and I might be biased to believe what we have been led to believe. But facts are facts, and I think that we should also stick to the facts. I leave you with Amnesty International’s report on Colom’s first year as President:
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/guatemala-amnesty-gives-mixed-review-colom-s-first-year-office-20090112

  28. The Raven says:

    We are reminded how the people with Twitter and Youtube access in Guatemala is the out-of-power (and horrible) Guatemalan right. Are we being played by some magic realist version of wingnuts?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @The Raven, that’s inaccurate and unfair. Watch the video, read the blog posts, unless you’re just trolling.

      Have you spent time in Guatemala? Have you lived there, do you have friends or family there? I bet if the answer to any of these things was “yes,” you wouldn’t make silly statements implying that the only people with ‘net access are right-wing coup agitators.

      The young people who submitted this footage, the ones talking about the crisis on Twitter, seem to me equally critical of right-wing politicians such as Otto Perez Molina. Their message is an end to the blanket impunity for violent crimes, and an end to the corruption that affects all levels of Guatemala’s social, political, financial, and justice systems.

      Nearly all murders in Guatemala go unsolved and unpunished. While the crisis may well become a football between political parties, many of the “tuiteros” expressing their hopes during this crisis would define themselves as apolitical.

      Yes, the rural poor, and the indigenous populations, are largely without access to these communication tools. But that does not mean that the young people who do have this access, and who are using it in a new way here, are all right-wing astroturfers.

  29. venomous says:

    Oops, I meant #12 for Epic geeky comment :P

    (but #11′s comment was pretty on-spot too)

  30. arkizzle says:

    Axl456

    ..well thats, really hard to believe, but i wont doubt your word..

    Why is it hard to believe? I’ve met plenty of people in North Africa, East Sahara / West Sahara, that haven’t a penny to rub together, but can competently speak the main European languages and some Japanese, because when a tourist bus rolls through, they can be local guides or translators or just beg a meal.

    These are not professional tour guides, just poor people who know that the biggest asset they have is communication. If there is money just walking around, and all you have to do to get it is communicate with it.. you pick up the language.

    I’m not saying that that is what Dreego is talking about, but language is not the preserve of the rich affluent Westerner.

  31. washwash says:

    This morning, at 6am, unknown assailants blew a bus driver’s brains out all over his windshield. (Bonus, the bus was filled with people going to work!) All because the poor man couldn’t pay the Q150 ($18) the mareros were extorting from him.

    a few hours later, two men were gunned down in the street, like dogs! They bled to death on the dirty sidewalk, surrounded by trash and curious onlookers.

    Wanna play count the bullet holes? Well, you can! In this picture, you can see the car of a poor woman who was murdered in front of one of Guatemala’s largest schools, on one of the largest thoroughfares. In broad daylight. (BTW, I counted 53 bullet holes. http://elperiodico.com.gt/es/20090518/pais/100871/?tpl=73&height=500&width=600 )
    Fun fact: This was the second such murder (as in: on the same street, in the same fashion (with assault rifles ), both victims were driving almost identical white Hyundais, in less than 24 hrs )

    ALL THIS BEFORE LUNCH TODAY . A few more people were murdered this afternoon as well, but they haven’t made the papers yet.

    I would say this was a typical day of murder and mayhem in Guatemala city, but it wasn’t, it was actually pretty light. Let’s see what tomorrow’s news holds for us!

    Also, I reiterate that this is just this morning’s murders. Meaningless, insignificant crap like extortion, carjacking, armed robbery, express kidnappings, will not be mentioned here.

    I hope this is useful to some of you like RAVEN, and JEAGUILAR, so you can get a little bit of insight into what daily life is like in Guatemala, and why we march, why we must stand up and take back our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (To paraphrase some dude on some bill in my wallet). Also why this must be done PEACEFULLY and within what little shreds of a pathetic joke our legal/ justice system is.

    Like Venomous said, is that too much to ask? Or because we tweet and take to the streets and protest, we are just some rich, right wing troublemakers?

    – and it’s true about the badgers, I asked around.

  32. washwash says:

    Thanks JEAGUILAR, I guess in the end we all want the same things, even if we see ‘em a wee bit differently :)

  33. The Raven says:

    The internet vastly widens the scope of the agent provocatuer. Most of the people protesting could be apolitical. But this could be skillful trolling.

    I do know something of Latin American history, politics and activism, though not so much of Guatemala. My girlfriend grew up in the Meixcan DF; lived there 20 years & cried when Allende died. I’ve traveled in Mexico. Mexico–and I don’t think it’s so different in Guatemala–runs on rumors. With intensely social people, no hard facts, and no trustworthy authorities (people who speak the truth to power in Latin America have a way of ending up dead), rumors travel like wildfire. And I’ve seen how skillful trolls can create a mob on the internet. I’m not saying this is necessarily that, but I don’t trust it either, and won’t until we see honest leadership emerge into the light. Why do you trust it? Latin America has fed us corvids very well in the past 400 years.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Why do you trust it?

      I don’t know or care what or whom you’re suggesting I trust here. This is silliness.

      Overgeneralizing isn’t helpful. I trust facts. I trust what I am able to observe or document personally.

      The participants with who I am familiar, personally, are primarily young “geek” types who see the current crisis as symbolic of longstanding, endemic problems with no solution in sight.

      A friend in Guate once said, there is no politician so bad here that a worse one can’t replace him. I think this is the fear many have, right now.

      I do not personally take a position on the guilt or innocence of president Colom, and my posts reflect this.

      I have been traveling to Guate for some twenty years now. I am personally familiar with the destructiveness of mobs, with what fear and desperation and lack of factual information and poverty do when combined — and of how fast rumors can spread, be they based in part in truth, or not at all. But you’re missing the point.

      Rosenberg’s assassination was one of many, many murders that will take place in Guatemala this year. The specific charges of corruption he made in the video, which I personally do not have any way of verifying at this time, are made in the context of widespread corruption. The narcotrafickers, the death squad leftovers, all of the plagues that rot Guatemala — it’s all of this to which the young “tuiteros” are reacting. Many with whom I’ve corresponded say they feel this is bigger than Colom.

      It’s not about trust. It’s about the Guatemalan people’s desire for due process, accountability, and transparency. It’s about the desire many have to see their country cease to be a “killer’s paradise.”

      Yes, political opponents who smell blood in the water will use this as an opportunity to attack and destabilize. But the inevitable jockeying for power that follows every political tremor in Guatemala does not negate the fact that a number of citizens who are suddenly voicing their desire for a better future, in new ways, using new forms of communication to do so — it doesn’t make their dreams any less real.

  34. jeaguilar says:

    @WashWash

    I extracted the following from an e-mail from a somebody who works within Cohesion Social with the Vice President and First Lady. My rough translation follows.

    «[…] Participo activamente en el Consejo de Cohesión Social, por lo que soy testigo de la falsedad de las acusaciones de la danza del millones de quetzales y del enriquecimiento ilícito de la primera dama y de sus miembros. Lo que hacemos en el Consejo de Cohesión Social es identificar las prioridades, armonizar la utilización de los recursos del estado en materia social y de desarrollo de quienes nunca han tenido una oportunidad de ser menos pobres. Es una experiencia inédita en Guatemala y quizás por eso, pero sobre todo por su desconocimiento, que se nos ataca de manera inmisericorde y se dicen fácilmente cualquier cantidad de mentiras.»

    «El programa “Mi Familia Progresa” es muy exitoso, lo mismo que ha sido en los otros países donde se ejecutan programas de las áreas rurales del Altiplano, las Verapaces y la región Chorti de Chiquimula, poblaciones indígenas en su mayoría y olvidados desde siempre. ¿Son los Q 300 mensuales, que para muchos de nosotros representan la plata que llevamos en la billetera, pero que para los beneficiarios significa duplicar su ingreso para comprar preferente alimentos, ropa, zapatos o jabón para lavar?»

    «No soy miembro de la UNE, pero cuando decidí entrar en la política nacional […] lo hice con convicción, con gran amor por quienes necesitan de nuestras manos solidarias, sabiendo que seré juzgado no por el conocimiento y responsabilidad profesional, sino que por las actuaciones políticas o los errores que pueda cometer. De eso estoy muy consciente y espero continuar haciendo los mejores esfuerzos para aliviar el sufrimiento y la extrema pobreza, la desnutrición y la enfermedad de nuestros niños y niñas de los municipios priorizados, de llevar un poco de maíz y frijol a quienes anualmente sufren de escasez de estos alimentos, de soñar por una Guatemala mejor…»

    […] I participate actively on the “Council for Social Cohesion” and am a witness to the falsity of the accusations of the dancing of millions of quetzales and the embezzlement of the First Lady and its members. What we do on the Council is to identify priorities, harmonize the use of state resources in social matters and the development of those who have never had a chance to be less poor. It is an untold story in Guatemala and may be the reason why, above all because it is little known, why we are attacked in such a merciless way and why any amount of lies are so easily spread.

    “The ‘My Family Advances’ program is very successful, just as it has been in other countries where programs of direct monetary transfers are in place. This year we will reach 1/2 million families, some 4 million Guatemalans, from the rural areas of the Altiplano, the Verapaces, and the Chorti region Of Chiquimula, a majority of indigenous populations forgotten about since forever. Is it the Q300, which for many of us represents the money in our wallets, but which for the beneficiaries means doubling their income to buy food, clothing, shoes, or washing soap?”

    “I am not a member of the UNE, but when I decided to enter national politics […] I did so with conviction and with the great love for those who need our helping hands, knowing I would be judged, not by those with professional knowledge and responsibility, but by the political actions or mistakes I might make. Of this I am very conscious and I hope to keep making my best efforts to alleviate suffering and extreme poverty, the malnutrition and sickness of the boys and girls in the prioritized area, to take a bit of corn and beans to those who lack those foods every year, and to dream of a better Guatemala.”

    I don’t know who killed Musa, his daughter, or Rosenberg and their deaths are tragic and terrible. Justice must be served for them and for all the other victims of terror and violence. But, there’s more to this crisis than is being reported and there are good people committed to Guatemala within the Colom government, too.

    @WashWash: I wish you the best, particularly because you are inside while I am comfortably and safely away.

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