After winning the nation’s election in 2023 with over 60% of the vote, Bernado Arévalo, leader of the centre-left Movimiento Semilla, has faced various attempts to block his ascension to the presidency. Today, Arévalo’s inauguration was supposed to take place at 3pm, but did not materialize. Known locally as the ‘anti-corruption crusader’, Arévalo’s campaign focused on defeating corruption in the country, much like his father Juan José Arévalo Senior, the first democratically elected President of Guatemala.
A September 2023 report by the Organization of American States claimed that the myriad of legal actions taken against Arévalo and his Semilla Party by Guatemala’s Judiciary were politically motivated, with the aim of preventing him from taking power. Time Magazine’s Ilan Palacios reports, “Sandra Torres, his rival for the presidency, refused to concede the election. The Electoral Tribunal attempted to annul the results. Congress refused to recognize 23 lawmakers from the Seed Movement elected alongside the president. And the Attorney General’s Office, led by Consuelo Porras, has actively sought to prevent his rise to power.”
Arévalo supporters gathering in the streets calling for the completion of his inauguration have been met with tear gas. Samantha Power, visiting head of the United States delegation in Guatemala, has called for calm, amid mounting public frustration.
?? GUATEMALA :
Con gases lacrimógenos son reprimidos por la policía los guatemaltecos que protestan exigiendo la toma de posesión del nuevo Congreso y del presidente electo Bernardo Arévalo.
Video: Cortesía. pic.twitter.com/FZwXLyr8j1
— Martin AFM (@donmartuit) January 14, 2024
There is no question that Bernardo Arevalo is the President of Guatemala. We call on all sides to remain calm — and for the Guatemalan Congress to uphold the will of the people. The world is watching.
— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) January 14, 2024
Reports of Arévalos supporting Ministers being locked inside Parliament have surfaced, further fuelling tensions.
'The inauguration of the elected President of #Guatemala Bernardo Arevalo, was interfered with
The deputies supporting him were locked in parliament."
? Kahlo pic.twitter.com/txnrwn25RH
— Arthur Morgan (@ArthurM40330824) January 14, 2024
Updates to follow.