Indigenous farmworker chief bids for Guatemala presidency


GUATEMALA CITY — An Indigenous feminine farmworker chief hopes to change into Guatemala’s subsequent president. But Thelma Cabrera faces an uphill battle, after the nation’s Electoral Tribunal refused to permit her to register her candidacy.

There is only one week left within the registration interval for the June 25 elections, however Cabrera and her Movement for Peoples’ Liberation are vowing to go forward together with her marketing campaign whether or not the will get registered or not.

It was by no means going to be a simple battle. Even although the federal government’s final census stated round 48% of Guatemalans establish as Indigenous — and a few Indigenous teams insist the quantity is greater — lighter-skinned elites have at all times dominated.

Paradoxically, the tribunal barred Cabrera’s working mate from registering their ticket on the grounds he didn’t provide a letter stating there aren’t any corruption instances open in opposition to him — though it allowed politicians with pending instances to register.

“The political system has been corrupted,” stated Cabrera. “The system itself has been designed by the corrupt to kept them free, but to tie the hands of those who are honest. We cannot stand this slavery we are living in anymore.”

Cabrera, 52, has unlikely arms for a president, roughened by a long time of washing garments in a river and planting meals. She has a sixth-grade training, which she calls “quite a lot for an Indigenous woman in Guatemala.”

“We are seeking to transform the country, after all the injustices we have suffered,” Cabrera stated in a current interview at her house.

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The battle will not be with out danger. At least 26 members of the Farmworkers Development Committee — the group that based the Movement for Peoples’ Liberation — have been killed since 2019.

The group fights for land and public providers for Indigenous individuals and it seeks to dam privatizations. But it has additionally been accused of stealing electrical energy and never paying for it.

“They are afraid of us,” Cabrera stated of the nation’s elites. “It is they who are afraid of a roadmap for the nation.”

“Nobody is going to take anything away from anyone,” she stated. “All we want is for everyone to do their duty.”

While Guatemala has been dominated by a succession of male politicians representing the elites, Cabrera nonetheless lives in her humble, tin-roofed home within the village of El Asintal, on Guatemala’s Pacific coast.

Like many Guatemalans, Cabrera’s daughter — one among her 4 kids — emigrated to the United States in 2021, as a result of she couldn’t discover a first rate job in her homeland.

The U.S. authorities has sharply criticized the weakening of anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala, and in 2021 it cancelled the U.S. visa of Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras, who had been pursuing former prosecutors who carried out corruption investigations.

Around 30 former anti-corruption officers have fled the nation, and the persecution seems to have prolonged to journalists.

President Alejandro Giammattei has been dismissive of U.S. officers’ criticism of his legal professional common and what they see as Guatemala backsliding on battling corruption. The nation’s new particular prosecutor in opposition to impunity has been positioned on a U.S. checklist of individuals suspected of corruption or undermining democracy. He is accused of obstructing corruption investigations.

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