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

Ivanka Trump Whose Father Allegedly Cheated His Way Into College Tells Out-Of-Work Americans To Pass On College And ‘Find Something New’

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Ivanka Trump Whose Father Allegedly Cheated His Way Into College Tells Out-Of-Work Americans To Pass On College And ‘Find Something New’

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When Donald Trump ran in 2016, many of his supporters were banking on the real estate mogul’s successful empire to help them transform their own pennies into mountains of gold. Now, with a pandemic and unemployment rates skyrocketing, that potential is being put to the test and proving to be failing. As of July, the United States is being gravely incapacitated by an economic collapse caused by a national stay at home orders and the shut down of non-essential businesses. In April, a record number of 20.5 million people lost their jobs, a decline reported as being the most sudden on record.

Still, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump wants Americans to pull themselves up by their own britches and “find something new.”

In a new ad campaign called “Find Something New,” Ivanka Trump is attempting to encourage unemployed Americans to find new careers.

The adviser to her father launched a new initiative on Tuesday urging Americans that are unemployed to find new careers during virtual roundtable which took place amongst other business leaders. Apple CEO Tim Cook was also involved in the discussion which featured a handful of Americans opening up about their own employment stories.

“Now, as a result of COVID, people need to, unfortunately, in some cases learn a completely new skill,” Trump urged during the campaign’s launch. “But that is also an opportunity to be put on for a new trajectory for themselves and their lives and we want to facilitate that connection back to the workforce and make it as smooth as possible.”

Users on Twitter were quick to lambast the “Find Something New” campaign in part for its title. After all, the suggestion to many Americans who have forged careers through years of work and financial commitments to their education is as CNN puts it, “too simplistic a catchphrase to describe the unemployment meltdown happening for millions of Americans as a global pandemic continues to ravage physical and financial health.”

In response to critics, Ivanka Trump defended herself on Twitter.

“I suggest that you visit http://FindSomethingNew.org,” Trump wrote. “This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job. This work has never been more urgent.”

Born out of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, Trump’s “Find Something New” campaign has a website that directs users towards other work opportunities. Trump, a graduate of Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, whose niece recently claimed he cheated to get into, has recently called his supporters to overlook college and university job programs in favor of vocational and technical schools. His daughter, Ivanka Trump herself is also a graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and while she has proven to be a jack of various trades in terms of career (besides being an advisor to her father, she is a reality star and designer) can undoubtedly chalk all of that up to the success of her own father.

Trump Allegedly Asked If He Could Sell Puerto Rico Instead Of Investing In The Island’s Future

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Trump Allegedly Asked If He Could Sell Puerto Rico Instead Of Investing In The Island’s Future

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It’s no surprise that the Trump administration has been full of surprises. Over the last 3 1/2 years, headline after headline have left many of us wondering what the actual f*** is going on inside the White House?

Over the last few weeks, a steady stream of people closely connected to the president – from family members to former cabinet members – have released books, given interviews, and spoken out about the commander-in-chief and many of the revelations are outright terrifying.

Donald Trump considered the idea of selling Puerto Rico in 2017 after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Ever since Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico in 2017, President Trump has expressed displeasure with the U.S. territory. After trying to limit recovery funds provided to the island last year, he finally signed a long-overdue disaster aid bill before taking to Twitter to declare himself the “best thing that ever happened” to Puerto Rico.

However, according to a New York Times story, Trump floated the idea of selling Puerto Rico so he wouldn’t have to deal with the issue any further. Elaine Duke, a Republican who served as acting head of Homeland Security from July to December 2017, told the Times in an interview, “The president’s initial ideas were more of as a businessman, you know: Can we outsource the electricity? Can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?”

The latest revelation is just the latest in a string of attacks and disdain for the island territory from the Trump administration.

Hurricane Maria devastated the island – three years later it’s still struggling to rebound.

The 2017 hurricane season was one for the record books. And Puerto Rico was front and center in a particularly destructive season. Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused $43 billion to $159 billion in damage to the island and left nearly 3,000 people dead. The island continues to rebuild and that’s in no small part to the incompetence of both local leaders and the Trump administration.

In the wake of Maria, Trump and Puerto Rican officials blamed each other amid the island’s recovery, with the president faulting local officials for their management of relief funds. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz criticized the administration for the delay in federal response to hurricane recovery, prompting the president to target Cruz in several tweets, and call her “incompetent.”

Things got so heated that White House officials told congressional leaders and appropriators not to give any more money to Puerto Rico in November 2018, CNN noted. However, the Washington Post reported a relief fund of $17 billion was released in January with tough restrictions. Administration officials attributed the delay to corruption concerns, but critics said the postponement was political.

Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm. The President has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, calling it “an incredible, unsung success” last year.

As shocking as the suggestion is, it’s not the first time Trump has floated similar ideas.

The idea of selling Puerto Rico – just to avoid having to put in any work – is so Trumpian that the allegation sounds extremely likely true. And the incident is hardly the first in which Trump has worn his “businessman” hat in the Oval Office.

Last August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the president, in conversation with top aides “with varying degrees of seriousness,” floated the idea of purchasing Greenland. The gigantic Arctic island, which is rapidly melting thanks to climate change, is a self-ruling part of Denmark and is definitely not for sale. Trump nevertheless apparently believed that Greenland could somehow be purchased. In fact, a 2019 New York Times article reported that a former official heard the president joke that he would be happy to trade Puerto Rico for Greenland.

For Dukes part, she believes that the whole point of Trump’s plan one to be mean. She tells the Times, that “There is a singular view that strength is mean, that any kind of ability to collaborate, or not be angry is a weakness.” She said Trump embraces “hate-filled, angry and divisive” language that distracts from the real issues. 

Duke is the latest former top White House security official to denounce Trump’s handling of the job, joining Kelly, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former national security adviser John Bolton.