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News > Guatemala

Guatemalans Reject Exclusion of Leftist Presidential Candidate

  • Guatemalan leftist candidate Thelma Cabrera (C), 2023.

    Guatemalan leftist candidate Thelma Cabrera (C), 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @danielapastrana

Published 16 February 2023

"Preventing the registration of Thelma Cabrera as a presidential candidate is an act of racism," Indigenous environmental activist Bernardo Caal Xol stressed.

On Thursday, Guatemalan farmers blocked twelve national highways to protest against a judicial decision that prevents Indigenous leader Thelma Cabrera from taking part in the June 25 presidential elections.


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Militants of the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP) also took to the streets to protest against the judges who rejected a legal appeal presented by Cabrera's lawyers.

"The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) is blocking the registration of opposition candidates," the MLP denounced before the international community.

On Feb. 3, electoral authorities did not allow Cabrera's candidacy to register, arguing that her vice-presidential candidate, Jordan Rodas, did not meet all legal requirements. Supposedly, there is a complaint against him for his performance as human rights attorney.

As a consequence of the above, Cabrera and Rodas must now go to the Constitutional Court to try to reverse the ruling against their candidacies.

The 52-year-old Indigenous leader Thelma Cabrera participated for the first time in the 2019 elections, obtaining fourth place with 10 percent of the votes cast. This time, however, she has strong options to emerge victorious in the presidential race.

According to local analysts, this possibility has mobilized the Guatemalan far-right elites and corrupt groups to avoid her participation in the upcoming elections.

"Preventing the registration of Thelma Cabrera as a presidential candidate is an act of racism," pointed out Bernardo Caal Xol, a 50-year-old trade unionist who was wrongfully imprisoned for defending the rights of the Indigenous Maya Q'eqchi' people.

"The Guateman State was created by a small group of people in 1821," this environmenta activist said to emphasize the discriminatory practices that white elites seek to preserve.

In June, Guatemalans will also elect 160 lawmakers, 20 representatives to the Central American Parliament, and 340 mayors, who will exercise their functions from 2024 to 2028.

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