Guatemala vs. Venezuela (and other political musings)

Three interesting pieces of political news from Guatemala this week:

First, the voting continues for a temporary seat on the Security Council – it’s between Guatemala and Venezuela. The press here is definitely covering Hugo Chavez’s antics, who makes it sound like he’s running against the U.S. for the seat – as if a vote for Guatemala is a vote for George W. Bush or something… I think it would be great for Guatemala to be on the Council and to have more exposure on the world stage. At least the voting process is making more people around the world aware of Guatemala, its political interests, its economy, its culture…

Second, this past Tuesday, 10 major political party leaders – guided by a group of 15 community and academic leaders – released a “Visionary Plan for the Country,” with goals for improvement in the areas of security (which is dismal – see previous posts), health and nutrition (also dismal, since Guatemala this year fell to the bottom of Latin American-Caribbean countries in terms of child malnutrition), rural development, and education. Come this December, ten years will have passed since the Guatemalan Peace Accords, so it is time for a new agenda to shock the political system here – everyone I know here is pretty skeptical, but I still hope this is it…

Third, Wonkette – in a striking departure from its normal, humorous tone – covers the impending page scandal regarding House representative Jerry Weller, whose father-in-law happens to be Guatemalan former president/dictator, Efrain Rios Montt. Frankly, I’m addicted to U.S. mid-term election news, so it was surprising to see a Guatemalan connection like this. The Guatemalan supreme court ruled last week or the week before that Rios Montt cannot run for president again, but that still doesn’t seem to stop him as I just saw a campaign commercial for him on the local news channel yesterday… maybe he’s the equivalent of a Guatemalan Ralph Nader (but obviously more sinister)?

(Cross-posted at The View From Here.)

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