Guatemala gets its new president

Sonia Perez’s article on Guatemala’s new president, Jimmy Morales, sure makes it sound as if the Guatemalan people have already run out of patience with the man who will lead the government for the next four (?) years.

Those impatient for reform have signaled they intend to hold Morales to his promises to clean up government. A public protest has been called for Saturday, just two days after the inauguration, to remind the new president of his campaign slogan: “Neither corrupt nor a thief.”

“We are not going to wait very long,” Pascual added. “The people are already calling for protests, to make him see that we are here.”

As Edgar Gutierrez of USAC states, Morales inherits a difficult situation in Guatemala.

“He is a president who takes office without a party, without well-qualified people he trusts and with a state apparatus that’s really in financial and institutional ruin,” said Edgar Gutierrez, an analyst at San Carlos University in Guatemala.

There should be some concern that Morales is a political neophyte. His previous political experience was running unsuccessfully for mayor. However in neighboring El Salvador, Tony Saca and Mauricio Funes were both elected with as much political experience as Morales. The big difference is that both Saca (ARENA) and Funes (FMLN) were elected at the head of well-institutionalized political parties.

Fortunately for Morales, he is picking up the pieces after some of the worst years in recent memory. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?