This month for Guatemala and its struggles has meant the reaffirmation that the struggle for life and dignity will be in its forms, or it will not be. On the one hand, the elections represent the feeling and need to leave behind corrupt systems, giving the vote of confidence to the anti-corruption policy of the elected candidate, Bernardo Arévalo, however, this transition of governments will not be easy, nothing is easy when it comes to defending your ideals and rights, the only thing left, as the comrades of ADH say in their updates this month, is to organize.

Bernardo Arévalo of the Semilla Party wins presidential election

On August 20th, Bernardo Arévalo won the Guatemalan presidential elections with 59% of the votes, while Sandra Torres, of the UNE (National Hope Party), claimed 36%. Running on an anti-corruption platform, this is a historic victory that many analysts consider a result of popular discontent with the corruption that plagues the state at its highest levels.

Semilla faces challenges ahead, such as “the certification of the runoff results and getting sworn into office in January, given the threats of political and judicial backlash in the weeks and months ahead” from the Special Prosecutor’s Office and the Public Ministry. These co-opted institutions continue their political persecution against Semilla and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). Likewise, another future challenge is that Semilla is outnumbered in the Guatemalan Congress, with only 23 representatives  in the 160-seat national congress.

Despite the difficulties, the sweeping and historic victory demonstrates that many Guatemalans embraced Semilla’s anti-corruption and anti-impunity platform. What’s ahead? Some worry that Semilla might be co-opted or repressed by the corrupt elites; others hope that they can strengthen social bases so that the people can carry on beyond this presidential term; still others expect major reforms that weed out corruption. At the end of the day, as NISGUA’s partners from the Association for Justice and Reconciliation said days before the election: “Whoever wins, the struggle continues.”

In a sepia-toned black-and-white image that mimics the front page of an old newspaper, Arevalo's headline, Arevalo sweeps the nation. Below is the name of the community press followed by a photo of Arevalo wearing a suit and with his hands crossed over his heart. Below a text that reads Guatemala makes history

Credit: Prensa Comunitaria

An Assembly, Celebration, and Commemoration 

Last month, our partners the ADH, the Departmental Assembly of the Peoples of Huehuetenango, held an assembly at the source of the San Juan river to unite its base around three important events.

Firstly, on July 22nd, the family, friends, and communities who were honored enough to know the late Rubén Herrera celebrated three years since his passing from COVID-19. Over the flames of a Mayan ceremony, attendees of the assembly chanted “Rubén is present”, not as a way to call him into the space but rather to honor that he is already and eternally there.

Secondly, the ADH celebrated the achievement of their fourth Municipal Water Protection Agreement. This win came just in time to celebrate it alongside the ADH’s 17 anniversary.

Lastly, this assembly was also an exchange between ADH’s base and members of organized communities from Guatemala’s southern coast. Under the overall goal of sharing about their interrelated struggles to protect land and water, the organizers from across the country’s western regions shared about recent wins, persistent obstacles, and current analysis of the fight for Mother Earth.

The photograph shows the beginning of the San Juan River. The river is flowing from left to right in the image’s foreground and is shaded by small trees. In the middle of the river there are many bundles of flowers used as offerings in Mayan ceremonies. In the background there is a group of Indigenous people praying.

Photo credit: NISGUA Internacionalista

August announcement 

NISGUA 2024 Calendar: Interwoven wisdom

We celebrate the diverse and intertwined forms of knowledge between Peoples and territories. In 2024 we want to share with you 12 images that represent the weaving between generations, cultures, forms of resistance and celebration of the Peoples in Guatemala towards the search for justice, respect for the Earth and the liberation of all communities.

In an open space where there is a lot of cut trees and branches scattered around the space, a group of people gathered, mostly socialized men and boys with brown skin color, with hat or cap, rubber boots looking in front, to another person who is talking to them, with an open book.

Photo by Jonás Moller. Community meeting in a newly formed settlement of the Communities of Population in Resistance (CPR) of the Ixcán.

Stay tuned for the calendar launch and don’t miss yours!!!!