New Guatemala president sworn in

Alvaro Colom promises new beginning for the country's poor after being inaugurated.

    President Colom waves to people
    after his inauguration [AFP]

    Despite his ideology, Guatemala's new leader said he doesn't want to be identified with other leftist governments in Latin America, including that of Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president.

     

    'Independent path'

     

    Colom has said each country must "find its own path", and that he won't accept Venezuela's offer of oil for preferential terms until he has consulted with his country's business elite.

     

    The ceremony was attended by Mayan leaders, some wearing colourful embroidered blouses and skirts. Also taking office on Monday was Rafael Espada, the vice-president.

     

    "We are going to fight for the unity of the country, for the harmony with our indigenous people," Colom said.

     

    Colom, an industrial engineer, has promised a broad social agenda that includes building schools and medical centres, creating jobs, and bringing security to a country where gangs behead victims and drug traffickers control much of the police forces.

     

    But even Colom has recognised his job won't be easy. Half of Guatemala's 13 million people live on less than $1 a day, and discrimination against the ethnic Mayan majority is rampant.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.