Things That Matter

Guatemala Is The Latest Country To Have Elected An ‘Outsider’ Politician And Here’s What That Means For The Country

This past Sunday, voters took to to the polls in Guatemala and voted in a new leader that will surely shape the country for the next four years. Alejandro Giammattei, a right-wing former prison chief, took victory in the presidential elections in Guatemala, winning nearly 60% of the vote over former First Lady Sandra Torres, who had 42% of the vote. The election was filled with many questions  and ultimately became a contest where Guatemalans viewed the election a battle between the worst possible options. 

Giammattei faced an uphill battle during the election cycle that many didn’t see him ending up on top considering this was his fourth attempt running for President. The 63-year-old spent several months in prison back in 2008, when he was then director of the country’s prison system, due to some prisoners being killed in a raid during this tenure. He would eventually be acquitted of wrongdoing.

“Today is a new period of the country,” Giammattei told supporters Guatemala City following his victory. “Those who voted for us, those who did not vote for us, and those who did not go to vote, it does not matter. Today we need to unite, today I am the president of all Guatemalans.”

Here’s what you need to know about Giammattei and why was elected to lead Guatemala.

Giammattei was at first viewed as a long shot to win the nomination but his get-tough approach to crime and his conservative viewpoints, which includes his strong opposition to gay marriage and abortion, won him over with Guatemalan voters in a presidential runoff. He ran on a platform with a promise to bring down violence, endorse family values and support the death penalty.

There are about eight million Guatemalans who are registered to vote in the Central American country. But the nation that has been hit with by poverty, unemployment and migration issues, had about 45% turnout which suggests widespread disillusionment and lack of confidence with the political process.

Giammattei will take office in January from President Jimmy Morales, who leaves a corruption-tainted legacy. He congratulated his successor and promised a “transparent and orderly” transition.

“I hope that during this transition the doors will open to get more information so we can see what, from a diplomatic point of view, we can do to remove from this deal the things that are not right for us, or how we can come to an agreement with the United States,” Giammattei, 63, told Reuters in an interview.

What does the election of Giammattei mean for Guatemala moving forward, particularly when it comes to immigration?

 Credit:@CNN/Twitter

One of the biggest issues facing Guatemala right now are the growing number of migrants that are leaving the country and heading towards the United States. At least 1% of Guatemala’s population of some 16 million has left the country this year due to a worsening economic situation and distrust in government. About 250,000 people from Guatemala were apprehended at the border since October, according to to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Back in July, the Morales’ administration signed an agreement with the U.S. that would require Salvadorans and Hondurans to request asylum at a port of entry in Guatemala. This was done in part to slow the number of migrants that were crossing through the country to reach the U.S. The new administration will have to figure out what to do with the agreement which could have huge ramifications when it comes to the inflow of Central American migrants coming to the U.S. border. 

This all will mean that Giammattei will need to negotiate with President Trump, who last month threatened to impose a travel ban, tariffs on exports and even  taxes on migrants’ remittances if the country did not work with him on immigration reform. But that relationship won’t be an easy task as many, including  Giammattei don’t agree with the deal. 

“It’s not right for the country,” Giammattei told NBC News. “If we don’t have the capacity to look after our own people, imagine what it will be like for foreigners.”

There are various takes on which direction Guatemala will go in with a new leader at the top. 

Credit:@mdmcdonald/Twitter

As a new era in politics takes shape in Guatemala many are reflecting on the possibilities and the economic effect the election may bring. Many in the country wanted change at the top due to the prior administration and the corruption that it was constantly wrapped in. 

“I decided to vote against Sandra Torres because of the accusations of corruption,” Rosa Julaju, an indigenous Kaqchikel woman, told Al Jazeera.”I hope Giammattei confronts the violence in our country. I voted for him for better security.”

Whatever the reason to vote, it’s clear the country is moving in a new direction that many hope will bring prosperity and more job opportunities. But that will all rest on Giammattei who is in control of a country that is just looking to get back on it’s feet after years of corruption at the top. 

READ: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Has A Theory To Help The Environment: People Should Poop Every Other Day

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Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Culture

Latinos For Trump Posted A Collage Of Flag For Hispanic Heritage Month And Got Some Wrong

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Latinos for Trump has long been a confusing organization in the Latino community. President Donald Trump has built his administration and brand to be squarely against people of color. Now, the Latinos for Trump group caused a stir when they posted a collage of flags that are not quite right.

Latinos for Trump really thought they had something when they posted their Hispanic Heritage Month collage.

The first, and most obvious mistake, is that the Mexican flag is backwards. The flag is supposed to be green, white, and red in that order. As we can all see, the collage has a Mexican flag that is red, white, and green. The eagle is even facing the wrong way so someone literally flipped the flag the wrong way.

Of course, some people tried to make sense of the bizarre Mexican flag snafu.

Last year, the Trump administration announced that it was cutting aid to three countries in Central America. The countries were El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Fox & Friends picked up the story but told their audience that Trump was cutting aid to “3 Mexican countries.” Perhaps this Twitter user is right and the Latinos for Trump are trying to suggest the existence of other Mexicos.

Someone else pointed out the issues with the Guatemalan flag in the top right corner.

People are very defensive about their cultural heritage and national origin. Messing up someone’s flag is a very serious issue for people. Just ask a Cuban or Puerto Rican about people confusing their flags. It is never a good thing.

Some people fixed the image for them so the organization can see what it should have looked like.

Good, clean lines with all of the flags facing the right way. The creator even changed the message in the middle for the Latino community. It is clear that social media is still willing to show up and teach a couple of lessons here and there.

Others had a more direct message for Latinos for Trump.

We all know that social media is where things go to be manipulated and made fun of. It is very important that if you make something for social media that you take good care to make sure that you check all of the right boxes and execute your work right the first time.

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

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New Poll Finds That Young Latino Voters Consider “Racial and Ethnic Social Equality” the Most Important Issue This Election

Things That Matter

New Poll Finds That Young Latino Voters Consider “Racial and Ethnic Social Equality” the Most Important Issue This Election

In a poll of  638 young Latino voters, aged 18-34, conducted by BuzzFeed News in conjunction with Telemundo, the results found that the most pressing topics on the minds of young Latino voters was “racial and ethnic social equality”–an issue that 62.7% of the demographic considers the most urgent this election. And that’s not all.

The illuminating survey revealed that 55.8% of young Latino voters had participated someway in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

They expressed their support through physically demonstrating on the streets or other forms of activism like donating or boycotting. According to their responses, it was the fervor and intensity of the Black Lives Matter movement that has fueled their fire to vote. 

Although 60% of young Latino voters have committed to voting for Biden, 19% still say they will support President Trump come November. This response is surprising to some, considering that President Trump is almost universally considered the most anti-Hispanic, anti-immigration U.S. President in recent history. 

via Getty Images

While the passion and social activism of young Latinos is exciting, the lack of enthusiasm for Presidential candidate Joe Biden is cause for concern.

After all, as Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, put it in a New York Times opinion piece: “There is no route to the White House without the support of Latinos.” 

The poll also revealed Latinos’ overwhelming belief that there is no unifying political figure in the Latino community. When asked to name a politician who “goes out of their way to support their community,” the leading response was “Nobody”. Participants then listed Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez as second choices, each politician gaining 6% of the participants’ votes. 

“It’s heartbreaking,” said executive director of the group Alliance for Youth Action, Sarah Audelo, to NBC News.

We can’t have so many young Latinos disconnected from the process because they don’t feel part of it.”

Ramos described the tiresome election-year scramble to secure the Latino vote through cringey attempts at speaking Spanish and dropping in on Latino community events as “Christopher Columbus syndrome”. “It’s such an open and flagrant display of opportunism,” he wrote.

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