Guatemala: opposition party headquarters raided
Guatemalan presidential candidate Bernardo Arévalo accused authorities of "political persecution" July 21, after police raided his center-left Semilla party headquarters. Arévalo condemned the raid as an attempt to hinder his campaign for the 2023 presidential election, the second round of which is scheduled for Aug. 20. Prosecutors say they were enforcing a court order that suspended Semilla due to alleged irregularities in party member registration. However, that order was canceled on July 13 by Guatemala's Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
An investigation into Semilla's member registrations led a court to suspend the party after the first-round vote, where Arévalo placed second and advanced to the runoff against Sandra Torres of the UNE party. This has complicated the race to succeed current President Alejandro Giammattei (of the right-wing Vamos party), though Guatemala's Constitutional Court has allowed Arévalo to remain on the ballot. Arévalo denies any registration improprieties.
In an Open Democracy interview released minutes after the raid, Arévalo warned that Torres' victory could lead Guatemala toward "an authoritarian drift." He vowed to crack down on corruption if elected, saying citizens have "a new-found hope that we can indeed move towards a dignified future for all."
From Jurist, July 24. Use with permission.
Note: Bernardo Arévalo is the son of Juan José Arévalo, leader of the peaceful revolution that ushered in Guatemala's "Democratic Spring" in 1945, brutally aborted by the CIA-backed military coup of 1954. (InfoBae, NYT)