Guatemala might be holding general elections on June 25, but it is rapidly losing its claim to be a democracy. A cohort of predatory factions has been jointly coopting independent institutions and pushing opponents into exile or jail since 2019, leading many Guatemalans to view the election as a pointless farce.
In the faceoff between liberal democracies and autocracies, the competing camps are enlisting backers across the globe, and Latin America has become an important battleground. Venezuela has emerged as the epicenter of activity for the anti-Western front, as highlighted by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Caracas last week.
In Guatemala’s upcoming presidential election, change is not on the ballot. President Alejandro Giammattei cannot run for reelection, and the candidate for his conservative Vamos party won’t win. But while Giammattei’s party might be unable to hold onto power, it has prevented any candidates who threaten the status quo from winning.
The leaders of El Salvador’s two main opposition parties are reportedly discussing a plan advanced by civil society groups to field a single presidential candidate in the country’s 2024 election. It may be the only chance they have to unseat authoritarian President Nayib Bukele, but even then, the task will prove daunting.