Guatemala News Wrap-Up

The biggest news in August was that ex-first lady and presidential candidate Sandra Torres was ruled constitutionally ineligible to run for president. The decision made by the Corte Constitucional (CC) is final, which means that the ruling coalition UNE-Gana is left without a candidate for the September 11 elections.

With Torres out of the way, candidates Eduardo Suger and Manuel Baldizon have been jockeying for the support of  former UNE-Gana backers. The real fight on September 11th is expected to be for second place. If front-runner Otto Perez Molina does not get over half of the vote, then he will enter a runoff (as expected) with the second place candidate.

Guatemala appears set to elect its first female vice-president.  All three parties said to have a realistic shot at winning the presidency (Partido Patriota, CREO and LIDER) have nominated women on its presidential ticket.  Either Roxana Baldetti, Laura Reyes or Raquel Blandon will be making history as the country’s highest elected female official.

The U-20 Men’s Soccer Team did better than expected as it moved beyond the first round of the U-20 World Cup. After two losses to Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, Guatemala was able to defeat Croatia 1-0 to move into the second round. Sadly, the team lost to Portugal in a 1-0 match, where the Guatemalan side was praised widely for its effort in the country’s first participation in any World Cup.

National hero Mateo Flores passed away on August 11th.  In 1952, Flores was the first and only Guatemalan to win the Boston Marathon.  He also won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1955 Pan-American Games in Mexico City. Following his retirement, Flores became a beloved figure in Guatemala both for his achievements as well as being an ambassador of running and of sport in general. Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City is named after him.

The Guatemalan volunteer firefighters celebrated their 60th anniversary this month of service and celebrated with parades throughout Guatemala City.

Finally, in lucky news, Erwin Reyes was cutting his lawn in Guatemala City when he encountered a fragmentation grenade.  Fortunately for Reyes the bomb did not go off and it was safely removed by police.

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