Guatemala News Wrap Up

It’s another tricky month for “having a functional election” here in Guatemala. The biggest news is that the Tribunal Suprema Electoral (elections ministry) declared that First Lady Sandra Torres was unable to participate in the election due to fraud associated with her politically motivated divorce from current president Alvaro Colom.  Currently, her party, UNE, is appealing to a series of electoral officials in order to be instated on the ballot.

Following Torres’ ejection, a series of bomb threats were reported in the TSE building and a number of TSE officials requested (and received) official state-sponsored bodyguards.

More election-related follies are expected with the presidential campaign of Harold Caballeros, an evangelical minister who is running on the Viva-EG ticket in coallition with human rights activist Nineth Montenegro.  According to Guatemalan electoral law, Caballeros should (theoretically) have to resign his positions in a number of evangelical churches and commisions.  Caballeros insists that he should not have to do so.

Finally, on the elections front, vice presidential candidate Mauricio Urruela was hospitalized following the crash of the helicopter that he was riding in. Investigators determined that the crash was an accident, and not political sabotage.

The other major piece of news which made the news worldwide was the murder of Argentinian musician Facundo Cabral. The investigation into Cabral’s murder revealed that he was accidentally killed, and that the real target of the assassination was Nicaraguan nightclub owner Henry Farinas. News of Cabral’s death brought spontaneous demonstrations for peace all around the country, and was immediately denounced by all the major political parties.

Cabral’s final concert before his untimely death was played at Xela’s Teatro Roma.  A number of local activists are petitioning the city and the mayor to rename the theater Teatro Facundo Cabral, in honor of the late singer.

Finally, in football news, Guatemalan  football fans are excited to see the U-20 Team advance to the World Cup in Colombia. Guatemala landed in Group D along with Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Croatia.  Expect large crowds to be watching the three games in the first round which are going to be played on July 31st, August 3rd and August 6th.

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