Chicago, July 13, 2023 – The announcement by the Prosecutor’s Office of Guatemala of the initiation of a criminal corruption investigation into the Semilla political party causes concern to Alianza Americas and its membership. This announcement was almost simultaneous to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s announcement of the official results of the first round of the country’s presidential elections, which included candidate Bernardo Arevalo, of the Semilla political party, as one of the two contenders to advance to the second round.
As a multi-ethnic and multicultural network of 57 civil society organizations led by Latin American and Caribbean immigrants living in the United States, including organizations of people of Guatemalan origin, Alianza Americas issues the following statement in defense of democracy and due process in Guatemala:
In light of the surprising results of the first round of elections marked by abstention and null votes, we are concerned about the efforts of the defeated political parties to resort to legal maneuvers to question the electoral results and now the probity of the Semilla movement in the signature collection process. We note that the defeated parties, accustomed to holding power, are using the justice system to try to win through the courts the elections they lost at the polls. Respect for the exercise of the right to vote and to follow electoral procedures is fundamental for democracy.
This legal maneuver generates uncertainty and new questions about the role of the administration of justice in Guatemala. We are very concerned about the situation in Guatemala and call for respect for the constitution and the law. Democracy and the rule of law are at stake. We reiterate our call for the administration of justice not to be put at the service of partisan interests, and we urge the judiciary and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to take all necessary actions to protect the integrity of the electoral process and to respect the results that express the will of the people.
Likewise, we call on the political parties to act responsibly and respect democracy, as expressed in the will of the people. The events that took place last week have been a sad spectacle of political actors who do not respect the rules of the electoral game. It is essential for citizens to be able to trust democratic institutions, and that public institutions act in accordance with the constitution and the law.
The role of Guatemalan citizens, residing in the country and the diaspora abroad, is essential. Democracy is a system for electing leaders, based on the will of the people. We urge the population to stay informed and exercise their right to vote responsibly. The construction of a just and equitable society depends on its citizens.
We reaffirm our commitment to democracy, transparency and electoral justice. We urge the Guatemalan community abroad, as well as other international organizations, to closely monitor the situation in Guatemala and provide the necessary support to guarantee transparency and respect for the will of the people. We will continue paying attention, informing and accompanying the Guatemalan diaspora.
Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.