Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

AQ Podcast: Guatemala’s Suspiciously Status Quo Election

Central America’s largest country is struggling with inequality, crime and threats to democracy. Then why do leading candidates in upcoming elections sound similar to the incumbent?
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In Guatemala, economic growth has done little to improve poverty and inequality. Violence continues to drive people to leave the country. Democracy is also in decline, as successive governments have undermined institutions, jailed journalists and forced independent prosecutors and judges into exile. In these conditions, one might expect candidates in upcoming presidential elections to stand for change. Yet the leading ones share similarities with the current president. What explains this? In this episode, investigative journalist Claudia Méndez Arriaza describes how elites control the political and judicial systems in order to maintain power in their own hands. She also talks about hopes for change. Méndez Arriaza currently works with ConCriterio.

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Claudia Méndez Arriaza has been an investigative reporter in Guatemala for 20 years. She currently works with ConCriterio.

Brian Winter is AQ’s editor-in-chief.

Supplemental reading: 

Meet the Candidates: Guatemala by AQ editors

Zury Ríos Campaigns to Lead Guatemala’s Faltering Democracy by Claudia Méndez Arriaza

Nayib Bukele’s Growing List of Latin American Admirers by Will Freeman

Tags: AQ Podcast, Brazil, Development, economics, El Salvador, Human Rights, Mexico, Peru
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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
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