Guatemalan Tribunal Bars Leftist Presidential Ticket From Ballot

One knowledgeable stated the choice to disqualify Indigenous human rights defender Thelma Cabrera is an “electoral coup.”

Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal dominated earlier this week {that a} leftist presidential ticket headed by Indigenous human rights defender Thelma Cabrera ought to be barred from the June poll, prompting fury and vows of mass protests from Cabrera’s supporters.

Thursday’s ruling — which Cabrera’s younger political social gathering, the Motion for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP), is vowing to enchantment to the Supreme Courtroom of Justice — stems from Guatemala electoral authorities’ refusal to certify the candidacy of Cabrera’s operating mate, former human rights ombudsman Jordán Rodas.

Reporting indicates that election officers have justified stonewalling Rodas — a longtime target of Guatemala’s right-wing political institution — by citing supposed “anomalies throughout the assortment of compensation” upon his departure from the ombudsman publish final 12 months.

However Cabrera and Rodas contend that the electoral tribunal’s choice is a politically motivated try and maintain a left-wing social gathering — whose base is essentially rural — off the poll, which is ready to incorporate the daughter of Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the previous U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator who was convicted of genocide and crimes in opposition to humanity in 2013.

Montt’s victims had been largely Indigenous peasants.

Final month, the identical electoral physique that deemed Cabrera and Rodas disqualified from the June poll ruled that Zury Ríos can take part, regardless of a constitutional provision barring the family members of coup leaders from serving as Guatemala’s president. Ríos was blocked from the 2019 presidential ballot on these grounds.

That 12 months, as Nick Burns of Americas Quarterly lately reported, Cabrera “gave the Guatemalan political institution a shock” by successful 10% of the vote within the presidential election.

“It was probably the most profitable presidential run by an indigenous particular person in Guatemala’s trendy historical past — the one different was by Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú in 2007, who gained 3% of the vote,” Burns famous. “Cabrera’s biography is putting. She grew up in a Maya Mam household of poor laborers on a espresso plantation on Guatemala’s Pacific coast and was married at 15. She described in a ebook how she and her sister Vilma went to highschool by means of the sixth grade as a result of their mom — who couldn’t learn or write — noticed schooling as essential.”

Cabrera’s supporters have vowed to “paralyze the nation” with large-scale demonstrations if the electoral physique’s choice isn’t reversed.

“If they don’t do it, we’re going to take over the worldwide airport, the three ports of the nation, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and all state establishments,” stated one MLP supporter. “We’re Indigenous, we’re Maya, and we may be out right here for a month!”

Daniel Zovatto, a political scientist and knowledgeable in Latin American elections, said the tribunal’s ruling in opposition to the MLP presidential ticket quantities to an “electoral coup” that “vitiates the integrity and credibility” of the upcoming contest.

Rodas, a human rights champion, lamented in response to the choice that “democracy in Guatemala has taken one other step again.”

“They’re afraid of the folks and their sovereign choices,” he stated.