*Originally published on RYOT.org on October 27th, 2015 by Sean Sawyer*
By running on the campaign slogan “not corrupt, not a thief,” former TV comedian Jimmy Morales was able to win the Presidency of Guatemala in a landslide victory. This slogan is simple, yet struck a cord that resonated with his country. In September, President Otto Pérez Molina resigned from office and was then sent to jail on corruption charges. In May, Perez’s Vice President Roxana Baldetti was incarcerated for allegedly receiving $3.7 million in bribes.
After all of this corruption was brought to court, one citizen, Maria Elena Aquino Gomez, shared her thoughts with The Washington Poston the state of Guatemala that President-elect Morales was able to capitalize on. “We don’t have medicine in the hospitals. The children don’t have books in their schools. And throughout society there aren’t any jobs and the president hasn’t done anything to help. They’ve just stolen from the people. Guatemala is alive. We’re not dead. And we’ll continue fighting for our liberty.”
President-elect Morales has an uphill battle facing him and exploiting corruption from Guatemala. In the next Congress, Morales’ party, National Convergence Front (FCN), will only have 11 of the 158 seats in Congress. He will also have the pressure of the Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a U.N.-backed anti-corruption body. While Morales has applauded their work that exposed former President Perez, it will be extremely important that the new politician will work with them to expose other corrupt officials.
Adding to all of this pressure, Morales has no concrete plan on how to purge the country of corruption and to curb the world’s 5th highest nation of murders per capita, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s International Homicide Statistics database. While the homicide rate is alarmingly high, the most important issue is the corruption. Public officials often colluded with drug cartels and took bribes from foreign nations and stole from public money.
Perhaps, Jimmy Morales could be the fix that Guatemala deserves. During his time on television, Morales became a public figure that spoke out against the corruption in his country using television and social media as his vehicle. Morales’ story is eerily similar to the Robin Williams film Man of the Year, where he played a political satire tv host, much like Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, and won the presidency of the United States. But this is no movie, this is real life in a country that is in desperate need of a true and honest leader.
President-elect Morales told his country, “For 20 years I have made you laugh. I promise that as president I won’t make you cry.”
And even though some of his ideas seem outlandish, like making teachers wear GPS tracking devices to ensure they are actually at school teaching, hopefully, Jimmy Morales can stay true to his word and help the beautiful Central American country.
And one can’t help to see the obvious connection this election has to the 2016 United States Presidential election. Political newcomer Jimmy Morales beat former First Lady Sandra Torres de Colom. Sounds an awful like the current leaders of the political newcomer Donald Trump, who has no specifics on his policies and is trying to capitalize on frustrated voters like Morales, and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Could this be a foreshadowing to a storyline that only history could write?