One and a half month ahead of the presidential elections, on May 1, under the slogan of “March for Dignity, Life and Justice”, more than 1,000 Guatemalans began an 8-day-long march against the corruption of politicians and government officials and the impunity enjoyed by these authorities, among other issues. The march has been called by the ancestral authorities of various Indigenous communities of Guatemala.
Members of various Indigenous and peasant organizations, student movements, women’s organizations, social movements, community and alternative media, began the march from the Quetzaltenango department in the west of Guatemala. After walking for around 200 km and passing through different departments, it will conclude in the capital, Guatemala City, where it is scheduled to reach today, May 8.
The primary objective of the march is to sensitize and inform the Guatemalan population about the damage that corruption promoted by the government of president Jimmy Morales has caused to the country and urge them to vote with conscience in the upcoming general elections.
Another important objective is to demand the cessation of the acts of intimidation, criminalization and prosecution of human rights and land defenders as well as of the social protests. The protesters demand justice for all the social leaders killed in recent years for defending ancestral lands and preventing forceful evictions.
The Indigenous and peasant communities are demonstrating against the economic model of accumulation and dispossession that violates collective and individual rights and the extractive agribusiness that exists in the country. Women’s organizations are manifesting to denounce the growing violence against women across the national territory. Student movements are protesting against the exploitation of young labor demanding respect for workers’ rights. Social organizations are demanding that the state guarantee access to common goods and ensure that the whole population has a dignified life.
Earlier this year, on January 12, thousands of citizens demonstrated in Guatemala City to reject the government’s decision to unilaterally terminate the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), an UN-backed anti-corruption panel aimed at supporting country’s judicial institutions in the fight against corruption and impunity.