Guatemala: Alejandro Giammattei is the new president-elect

Alejandro Giammattei became this January 14 in the new president of Guatemala for the next 4 years. The 63-year-old burgomaster has had a long career to reach the presidency. He has the record of 20 years of lost elections to be able to become president and mayor of Guatemala City, but this time his greatest great opponents, with greater popularity, were disqualified. Giammattei developed multiple sclerosis in his youth which forces him to use crutches. The only previous job he had was to be director of the penitentiary system for a short period of time, because soon he would be jailed for the murder of 7 inmates in his administration.

But not only has he suffered, the country which is going to take his reins has also suffered with him. With a high rate of crime, corruption out of control for years and with the migration of thousands of its citizens seeking a better lifestyle abroad, with the United States being the first country they turn to. The president’s response to all these problems that afflict the country is a bracelet that wears blue, the same blue of his flag that means «hope.»

The former president, Jimmy Morales, failed to solve any of these problems. He won the presidency in 2015 with a message of protest against corruption. Once in power he ordered an anti-corruption agenda backed by the United Nations. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala investigated Morales, giving as a verdict that he would have violated campaign financing laws, which was categorically denied by Morales.

Alejandro Giammattei receives a country with high rates of violence and corruption out of control. In this photo he greets the outgoing president, Jimmy Morales. (Free Press Photo: Newspaper library)


After the delivery of Morales power, he travels to another city to attend another ceremony that is held on the same day where he takes office as a member of the Central American Parliament, a position that gives him political immunity.

One of the first actions of the new president will be «to reconstitute the pieces of government that are leaving us.» This does not seem like something significant against the anti-corruption war. So the president plans to monitor the government with a «national» anti-corruption commission which is not yet known what kind of power he will have. The president cares more about violent crimes, and it seems the president would maintain a military stance.

Alejandro Giammattei greets his appointed Minister of Economy, Antonio Malouf when attending a mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral. (Free Press Photo: Erick Ávila)


Another point is the low economic growth which should go from 3 to 5 or 6 percent to get people out of poverty. Words that were said by Antonio Malouf, minister of economy. This measure is being considered leaving aside the idea of ​​doubling the exports that would create a more stable flow of money.

On the other hand, the current president of Guatemala proposes to create a crusade for nutrition to help malnourished children in rural poor areas of Guatemala. Likewise, it is planned to build roads from the highlands of the west to the capital in order to attract emigrants and also attract their investment, thus creating a «wall of prosperity.» This will require an investment by the government, which is terribly low. Tax revenues are 10 percent of GDP (the smallest percentage in Latin America).