There are celebrations and cautious optimism in Guatemala as Bernardo Arevalo Jr. win the presidency, renew the nation's democratic aspirations and its revolutionary previous.


In Guatemala, tens of 1000’s of persons are gathering to have fun a surprising victory for democracy. Regardless of the lengthy odds and brazen makes an attempt by the federal government to maintain a reformist president from taking energy, in the present day is the day of the inauguration. NPR's Eyder Peralta is in Guatemala Metropolis. Good morning, Eyder.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Hey, good morning, Ayesha.

RASCOE: So it's a fantastic day the place you might be in the present day. Like, what are you listening to? What do you see?

PERALTA: So, proper now, I'm within the middle of downtown Guatemala Metropolis, and 1000’s of indigenous Guatemalans are pouring into this metropolis, they usually're right here to welcome their new president, Bernardo Arevalo. Now, they do a ceremony, thanking the universe. They usually see this as an enormous victory that they had been in a position to defend democracy. They usually see this as a brand new starting. I see an indication now that claims spring has begun.

RASCOE: Elation, celebration, hope for a brand new starting – you recognize, these are massive phrases. Is there any actual excellent news on this?

PERALTA: Look. I had a dialog, a protracted dialog with Francisco Goldman. He’s a Guatemalan American author who would possibly know this nation higher than anybody. And are you aware what his identify was? He stated, what is going on in Guatemala is a, quote, “civic miracle”, and we’ve to offer a bit context right here. Guatemala is a rustic that has lengthy suffered. It has been by colonialism and dictators and army rule and genocide. And simply earlier than this election, the nation was going by considered one of its darkest moments – deep poverty, corruption, organized crime, persecution of activists and journalists and a sham democracy the place the elite basically rigged the elections. . Let's hear how Francisco Goldman described it.

FRANCISCO GOLDMAN: It's one thing in a Marvel film or one thing, or, you recognize, like if the ice walkers had received in “Sport Of Thrones.” You recognize, it's like, who's the boss and the place does the evil come from? But it takes every little thing, and its tentacles go in every single place. And everybody he touches turns right into a zombie.

PERALTA: And these ice marchers had been engaged on these elections. They pulled out all of the stops to attempt to forestall Arevalo from changing into president. They even threatened to arrest him. However Guatemalans, particularly younger city progressives and rural indigenous communities, didn’t let that occur. They gave him a landslide victory, despite the fact that the marketing campaign was run on a shoestring. They usually had been within the streets for greater than 100 days to be sure that he was in workplace. And we should always word that the USA performed an enormous position. They sanctioned a whole bunch of politicians. They basically twisted their arm to let Arevalo take workplace in the present day.

RASCOE: And we hear the celebration behind you. Inform us a bit concerning the man who will change into president.

PERALTA: So he’s this 65-year-old educational, the son of the nation's first democratically elected president. And his get together and his marketing campaign are led by a bunch of younger idealists. His candidacy begins at a college. It was born from an anti-corruption protest motion. And that is the central message of Bernardo Arevalo. He guarantees to place an finish to corruption, and meaning placing an finish to the looting of this nation by politicians and enterprise and arranged crime – the ice walkers, if you’ll.

RASCOE: It appears actually tough, although. Is it attainable?

PERALTA: Is it attainable? I imply, look. Ice walkers are nonetheless in Guatemala. In actual fact, we must be cautious and say that Arevalo has not but been sworn in. Gustavo Petro, the president of Colombia, stated yesterday that he’s coming to Guatemala, so there might be essential guests and make a coup much less probably.

However I'll depart you with one thing Francisco Goldman stated. He stated, sure, that is going to be extremely powerful for the incoming president. However what’s essential right here is that Guatemalans have discovered their voice. They organized, they fought a system after which protected their vote. And I’ll quote Francisco right here. He stated: “essentially the most hopeful factor in Guatemala shouldn’t be Arevalo, per se. Essentially the most hopeful factor in Guatemala is the democratic awakening that introduced him right here.” Guatemalans, he says, at the moment are empowered, and that's what's essential.

RASCOE: That's NPR's Eyder Peralta reporting from Guatemala Metropolis. Thanks a lot.

PERALTA: Thanks, Ayesha.


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