The challenges for new president Álvaro Colom
Álvaro Colom is the new president of
After two electoral rounds that were exhausting for the candidates, the population, and the national and international electoral observers, Colom managed to become president of
REDUCE POVERTY, GENERATE EMPLOYMENT, END THE LACK OF SECURITY
Otto Pérez, a retired general and a harsh candidate, lost with a campaign that promoted punishment by example for the delinquents and managed to win over much of the population. Harsh Hand was its motto. If we take into account that five months ago nobody supported Peréz, and that he has now been nearly victorious, we can get an idea of the desperation that the Guatemalans live in with respect to the organized and unorganized crime that ravages the country. Those who voted for Pérez forgot the soldier’s performance during times of armed conflict, in which he was responsible for many deaths, causing various human rights groups to brand his actions as genocide while providing proof for this accusation. The daily pragmatism that defines current
“Colom admires Rodríguez Zapatero and Michelle Bachelet, and he is characterized by using the words willingness, dialog, negotiation, and tolerance to the umpteenth power, which is still valued very little by the majority of the Guatemalan population”
This is the same four years that Colom has to reduce poverty, generate employment, end the lack of security and increase the productivity of his country. He calls himself a social democrat, but someone who hears this and is not familiar with
Ideology in Guatemalan political parties shines brightly because of its absence; it is possible to find politicians that have been in 4 or 5 parties without having any problems. There is even one who was with Colom in the first round of these elections, and with Pérez in the second one. Being a politician is simply another job in this marvelous Central American country.
Even so, Colom admires Rodríguez Zapatero and Michelle Bachelet, and he is characterized by using the words willingness, dialog, negotiation, and tolerance to the umpteenth power. Personally, I find it admirable along general lines, but it is still valued very little by the majority of the Guatemalan population. He has evidently won the elections, but we shouldn’t forget the very high level of abstention or the high number of intentionally null votes.
GOVERNABILITY, A KEY MATTER
If Colom implements an effective program that makes an impact within the first 100 days in office, he would earn needed credibility from internal and external politicians, economists, and social workers. The international community needs more to be able to invest in
“The problem is that the word hope has been diluted so many times in
One of the key points will be the governability of the country; because without it nothing of what Colom might propose will be able to move forward, since his party does not hold the majority in Parliament. He will have to effectuate the agreements that he had been working on with the parties that have been left out of the second round. Without them his projects will not be able to achieve much. There has already been a positive response from various leaders, some of whom helped him win the second time around, like Álvaro Arzú, the ex-President of the country and current mayor of the capital.
Colom should be able to obtain support from the Great National Alliance (GANA in its Spanish initials), the Unionist Party, the Center of Social Action, and especially from the Meeting in
ISSUES THAT CAN’T BE AVOIDED
Coinciding with the Guatemalan voters’ pragmatism, there should be demands for what can be accomplished. The country is not going to enjoy a radical transformation during the next four years, but Álvaro Colom has the obligation to work on some of these points without any hesitation.
The reduction of assassinations in general, but those of women in particular, given that they are turning into a historical curse for the country. They are indiscriminate, cowardly and reactionary; in the majority of cases they kill them simply for being women. All of the State’s strength should be concentrated on this. In the process the security forces, which for the moment, at best, look the other way, should be purged of what needs to be purged.
Raising the employment rate; making agreements with economic and social forces with which there has already been rapprochement.
The task is immense, but in order for Colom to pass the first exam that he himself has imposed for his first 100 days, he needs to start truly acting from somewhere. Of course, looking at the situation carefully, improving the way that things are now is not a very complicated thing. The”problem is that the word hope has been diluted so many times in