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Guatemala’s New Conservative President Has Been Sworn In And His Policies Could Have Serious Implications

As of Tuesday, Guatemala has a new president. His name is Alejandro Giammattei and he has a pretty different view on politics and policies from his predecessor. In fact, his right-wing views could have far-reaching geo-political implications far beyond the borders of Guatemala.

On Tuesday, Guatemala swore in a new president who has promised to put an end to the violence and poverty that have plagued the country.

Credit: Roberto Villasenor / Getty

Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, was inaugurated amid tensions in the country regarding the outgoing president, Jimmy Morales, along with uncertainty over the ‘Safe Third Country’ deal signed with the United States.

The new president is a doctor and former prison system director from the right-wing Vamos political party. He begins his four-year term setting out to reform the nation into a safe and economically stable country to counter balance the outflow of Guatemalans fleeing to the United States.

At his inauguration, Giammattei said, “This is the moment to rescue Guatemala from the absurd. It is the moment to combat corruption and malnutrition. We will govern with decency, with honorability, and with ethical values.”

During his hours-long speech, the new president also reiterated several key campaign promises that helped him win the election. His promised presidential anti-corruption commission would be established at the outset of his presidency and his administration would soon present several legislative proposals, including reforms to designate street gangs as “terrorist” groups.

President Giammattei takes over the presidency as the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor comes to a shaker end. Former President Jimmy Morales is leaving office in what many say is shame. The former president kicked out a popular UN-backed anti-corruption commission after he and his party were accused of illegal campaign financing. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Giammattei has made serious promises to the Guatemalan people.

Shortly after his election victory, Giammattei Made sweeping promises of a new Guatemala – one that he would build with new, conservative, right-wing policies. He mentioned a vision of a peaceful nation full of promise and progress. He vowed to end malnutrition and violence while putting an end to ‘disgusting’ corruption.

While the former president ousted a U.N.-backed International Anti-Corruption Commission, Giammattei has talked about creating something similar at the national level. However, according to a civil society activist, Manfredo Marroquin, there isn’t much hope for real change under the new administration.

What Giammattei is making a priority is to stimulate business and investment in Guatemala. He says that will trickle down and put an end to cost of migration. But many say his proposals may benefit only a small sector of Guatemalan society.

Relations with the U.S. could also become more complicated.

Credit: Carolyn Kaster / WhiteHouse.gov

Giammattei still hasn’t stated his official position on the controversial deal signed with the US that allows the United States to send asylum seekeers to Guatemala. The deal was signed between the Trump Administration and the former president, Jimmy Morales. The ‘Safe Third Country’ agreement basically allows the US to send asylum seekers from third countries to Guatemala, in effect forcing them to request asylum there or return to their home country.

The deal has been widely criticised in Central America and the US. Guatemala is now the top country of origin for migrants and asylum seekers apprehended at the US southern border. Tens of thousands flee violence, poverty and persecution in Guatemala every year.

“If they send us to Guatemala, they are sending us back to potential death,” Edwin*, a 37-year-old Honduran asylum seeker currently in Mexico with his family after fleeing extortion and death threats last year told Al Jazeera.

Despite all the controversy, the incoming president still hasn’t shared his views on the asylum deal. At first, it appeared that he was considering reforms to the deal or may even scrap it entirely. But during the transition period after the election, he called on former president Morales to share the agreement and documents with him so he could form a response

On Monday, a day before he took office, Giammattei said he still had not been given the documents. As soon as his team received and analysed them, he would announce his position, he added.

Meanwhile, his predecessor wasn’t having the greatest day no longer as President.

Protesters surrounded outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales late on Tuesday, throwing eggs at him and his vice president as they sought to take up new posts that bring immunity from prosecution, just hours after leaving office. 

Protesters yelling “Murderer” jostled Morales’ police detail and let off a loud firework as he tried to reach a hotel that is the temporary headquarters of Central America’s regional parliament, a Reuters witness said. Moments later he was stuck by a plastic object and the eggs.

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Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

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Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

Photo via screenshot

As the nation still struggles to come to grip with the horrific events that took place at the Capitol on last Wednesday, the aftermath of the debacle threatens to be just as horrifying as the event itself.

Videos are still continuing to pop up of unhinged far-right Trump supporters making public spectacles of themselves. But one such video became viral when the target of their hate refused to lie back and take it.

Recently, a video went viral of Democratic California Congressman Lou Correa being harassed by a crowd of Trump supporters right after the storming of the Capitol.

The incident took place at the Washington Dulles International Airport right outside of D.C. Based on the location and the timing, its safe to assume that these enraged Trump supporters were part of the insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol.

In the video, we see Rep. Correa defend himself against an irate mob who is getting in his face and hurling vitriolic insults at him.

Videos if the confrontation were posted by various right-wing social media pages, ostensibly trying to “expose” Correa for standing up for himself.

The video begins with various Trump supporters raving to Correa about “communist China” and “antifa”. When Correa explains that he was in Washington, D.C. to defend democracy, one of the Trump supporters tells him that the U.S. “isn’t a democracy, it’s a republic.”

The video then shows a large, deep-voiced many getting in Correa’s face and bellowing “Who are you?” and calling Correa a “F–ker”. Off screen, another man yells at Correa: “Nobody here voted for you. We don’t want you,” to which Correa responds: “That’s okay! 70% of people in my district did.”

In the face of such hatred, Correa held his own, refusing to be cowed by a group of bullies who recently showed themselves to be no better than terrorists.

In various interviews since the video went viral, Correa described the events that led up to the incident.

Correa told The OC Register that he had had roughly 15 minutes of sleep the night before after having stay up late to ratify the electoral votes after the process was interrupted by an angry mob.

He says he turned the corner to head towards his gate when the angry Trump-supporters recognized him as a lawmaker. “They picked me out, and boy, they came at me,” he told CNN.

Correa added that he was “surprised” at how “brazen” the hecklers were.

“They started lobbing all kinds of statements and just getting in my face, and I wouldn’t back off,” he said to the Register. “It was a situation where they were amped up and I have no idea why they came at me. Then I was surrounded by them and I stood my ground.”

But Correa, who was born in East LA and spent much of his youth in Mexico, says that he wasn’t intimidated by the bullies.

In the same interview with the Register, Correa described himself as from “the hood” and said that he is used to having angry citizens confront him for one reason or another. But this incident was unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

“I’ve never seen our nation so divided,” he said. “I’m OK with people coming up and expressing their anger and what have you. It’s another thing when people go out of their way to surround you and go after you.”

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Barack Obama Says He Had To Quarantine With Malia’s British Boyfriend

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Barack Obama Says He Had To Quarantine With Malia’s British Boyfriend

Pool / Getty

If you’re not living alone in quarantine-life, you know that these months indoors have made it nearly impossible to NOT get to know the people around you better. Tight quarters and days on end together have made some couples and broken others. Fortunately, it seems for the Obamas quarantine has done the latter.

Former President Barack Obama shared the lessons he’s learned in quarantine after giving some very rare insight into what it was like in his family’s household during the beginning of the pandemic. According to Obama, the quarantine didn’t just include him and his wife Michelle. Or even just their daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19.

Malia’s British boyfriend also joined in for the self-isolation period.

In an interview with Bill Simmons podcast this week, Obama opened up about his favorite part of COVID-19 isolation with his family.

“I think, [like] a lot of families, we went through that first month where we were playing games every night and doing little arts and crafts projects and then slowly, you know, they started to get a little bored with us,” he explained. “Maybe teaching Malia and Sasha, and Malia’s boyfriend who was with us for a little while, spades.”

The former president went onto add that Malia’s boyfriend is “British…wonderful young man, and he was sort of stuck because there was a whole visa thing and he had a job set up. So we took him in and I didn’t want to like him, but he’s a good kid. The only thing you discover—this is not a surprise to you, Bill, because you’ve got a son—young men eat. It’s weird to watch them consume food. My grocery bill went up about 30 percent.”

Speakingto InStyle last month, Obama opened up about his daughters’ personalities.

“Sasha is, as Malia describes it, completely confident about her own take on the world and is not cowed or intimidated—and never has been—by anybody’s titles, anybody’s credentials,” he said. “If she thinks something’s wrong or right, she will say so. When she was 4, 5, 6 years old, once she made a decision, she would dig in and couldn’t be steered off it. I write about it in the book, how we were trying to get her to taste caviar when we were visiting Russia. She was like, ‘Mnn-nnh. No. Sorry. That looks slimy. It’s nasty. I’m not going to do it—even if I’ve got to give up dessert.’ And that part of her character has always been there.”

“And Malia, she is just buoyant,” Barack he went on to share. “She’s somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life, and enjoys conversation. She’s never bored, which is a badass quality that can take you places.”

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