Opposition movement rejects TSE’s arbitrary measure

The Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Guatemala has arbitrarily denied the registration of the presidential candidate of the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP) in next June’s elections. “These are totally absurd motivations”, Leiria Vay García, a member of the political leadership of the Peasant Development Committee (Codeca), told La Rel.

For the indigenous leader, the decision to declare the registration of the Maya Mam leader, Thelma Cabrera, and the former Human Rights Ombudsman, Jordán Rodas, inadmissible is a strategy of the Guatemalan powers that be to defend their interests and maintain the status quo.

“The truth is that this decision is not against Thelma and Jordán, but against the project of transformation and the construction of a plurinational state that is being promoted by the people”, said Vay.

The obstacles being faced by the presidential binomial of the MLP, the political arm of Codeca, are nothing new.

Back in 2019, when the MLP first launched the candidacy of Thelma Cabrera, attacks against Codeca and the then presidential candidate intensified.

In the last four years, it is estimated that at least 24 Codeca activists have been murdered with impunity.

In addition, a series of manoeuvres were implemented to prevent the MLP from having access to public funds for the election campaign, nor to media coverage similar to that of the other parties.

Nor was it allowed to register its candidates for deputies and mayors under the same conditions.

Despite this, the result was largely positive.

Thelma Cabrera obtained almost half a million votes, winning in three departments, placing second in five others, and coming fourth nationally with 10.5 per cent of the vote.

Without so many obstacles placed in her way, it is very likely that she would have made it to the presidential run-off.

“In 2019, all predictions were shattered and that result set a very important precedent for the country.

They thought that by assassinating us, putting us under media siege and leaving us without funds they were going to stop us. But no, the movement continued and grew stronger and stronger”, explained the MLP’s International Relations Officer.

New wave of persecution and criminalisation

Four years later, the powers that be implemented the same strategy again, but now with greater and more radical force.

“The wave of persecution, defamation, criminalisation and assassination of Codeca leaders has been permanent. Thelma and Jordán were accused of nonsense.

What we believe,” Vay continued, “is that the elites, what we call the ‘pact of the corrupt’, are concerned not only about the level of acceptance of the presidential binomial, but also about our agenda of struggle and structural changes.

They are worried about the project of a popular and plurinational constituent assembly”.

For the Guatemalan powers that be, the MLP’s strong candidacy has become a real danger to their interests.

“They are worried because they think they could lose the elections and they put up any obstacle to prevent us from advancing as peoples, who are building our path of liberation”, said Vay.

The member of Codeca’s political leadership assured that they will never seek a change of candidacy.

“We are not an electoral party, but a political force that has a political project for the profound transformation of the country.

We will not give in to the game of the electoral and judicial authorities. It has already been demonstrated that they respond to the interests of the mafia that is entrenched in the institutions,” said Vay.

“We are not going to abandon Jordán (Rodas). We are going down the legal path, we are going to demand that our presidential binomial be allowed to participate, we are going to strengthen the campaign of our candidates for deputies and mayors”, he concluded.