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  • Peasants take the roads during national strike, Guatemala, August 6, 2019.

    Peasants take the roads during national strike, Guatemala, August 6, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @SantiagoteleSUR

Published 7 August 2019

The national strike is a reaction to the impositions of a political class which makes decisions without considering the sovereignty of the country.

Five days before the second round of the presidential elections in Guatemala, thousands of Campesinos began Tuesday a national strike in rejection of the immigration agreement signed with the United States and requesting the annulment of the elections held on June 16 due to indications of fraud.

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Convened by the Farmer Development Committee (Codeca), the Guatemalan mobilization started by blocking the country's main roads and was led by former presidential candidate Thelma Cabrera, a Mayan Indigenous woman who belongs to the Movement for the Liberation of Peoples (MLP), which was formed at the end of 2018.

"I support the courage of the people to continue denouncing the electoral fraud in Guatemala," Cabrera said and commented that the status quo acted to "impose" the runoff election candidates.

On Sunday, Guatemalans will choose between Sandra Torres, who belongs to the social democratic party National Unit of Hope (UNE) and Alejandro Giammattei, who is the candidate of the center-right party VAMOS.

In an attempt to contain demonstrations, the Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (Cacif), which brings together the Guatemalan business elite, presented an amparo to the Constitutional Court (CC) to 'guarantee the right of free locomotion of Guatemalans'.

Although this request was accepted, the farmer organizations were not afraid to start their protest and managed to block the main roads in the 22 Guatemalan departments.

National strike for the plurinational constituent. August 6, 2019. Thelma Cabrera was present at the strike held at Las Trampas, Quiche, where she received numerous signs of support.

Guatemalan social organizations are also rejecting the immigration agreement signed in Washington on July 26 by President Jimmy Morales, a commitment that turns Guatemala into a Safe Third Country (STC), that is, a territory to which the U.S. can send migrants while its authorities process their asylum claims.

"We defend the sovereignty of Guatemala because the government is giving our country to the United States. As a people we reject it," Cabrera said.

A similar opinion was held by former MLP congressional candidate Gilder Guzman, who emphasized that the STC agreement harms the country.

"We demand that the Constitutional Court revoke the agreement signed by the ​​​​​corrupted who are in power because it does not bring any benefit to Guatemala, a country in which we live precariously in every way," Guzman said and added that Morales "has served as a rug for the racist U.S. president", who has threatened Guatemalan officials.

The Indigenous leaders indicated their concern about the corruption of the political class, the repression against social activists and the violation of the rights of Guatemalans.

"We continue to denounce the 2019 electoral fraud promoted and planned by sectors of economic power through the Supreme Electoral Tribunal so that the same criminals who have murdered the people, and looted the assets and resources of the country, continue to govern," Codeco said.

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