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Showdown in Guatemala

Interim President Maldonado and a leader of the protest movement discuss Guatemala’s corruption scandal and its fallout.

It has been a remarkable week of rapid change in Guatemala.

The people in the Central American republic witnessed the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina, only to see him appear in court facing corruption charges before being taken into custody.

In the following presidential election, TV comedian Jimmy Morales faced off against several candidates also accused of corruption.


by ”Alejandro

young social activists, political experts, sociologists and young people who have recently graduated from our universities.”]

All this was accompanied by cheers from the protest movement that has finally pushed this country to face up to years of government mismanagement. 

Tens of thousands od people had for the past five months taken to the streets in peaceful demonstrations and now they have got what they were calling for.

Former President Otto Perez Molina is in court over his alleged involvement in a massive corruption scandal, dubbed “La Linea” or “The Line”, in which importers gave bribes to avoid paying customs charges.

The inquiry continues until the judge decides whether a full trial should go ahead. Perez claims to be innocent.

The new interim President, Alejandro Maldonado also backs the charges. He was the vice president who took office only in May when his predecessor resigned after accusations that she too was involved in “La Linea”.

He will hold office for 133 days until a new president is chosen in run-off elections later this fall.

Corruption charges are certainly not new in Guatemala, nor in Central and Latin America as a whole. But because the popular uprising had such a dramatic effect, leaders and people in many countries in the region are paying attention.

Maldonado called on protesters to remain vigilant and not to stop. “This is an opportunity,” he said. “They cannot relax.”

Talk to Al Jazeera sat down with President Alejandro Maldonado to discuss politics, protests, corruption and impunity in Guatemala.

We also talk to one of the leaders of the protest movement, Gabriel Wer from “Justice Now”, about the impact of the peaceful protests and his hopes for the future of Guatemala. 

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