Guatemala on Brink of Coup d’Etat: President-Elect Accuses Public Ministry of Plotting to Annul Election Results

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The Central American nation of Guatemala is facing a coup d’etat, President-elect Bernardo Arevalo has claimed, pointing the finger at the country’s Public Ministry for attempting to annul the results of this summer’s election over alleged irregularities.

Arevalo came out on top with 58% of the vote in a run-off in August against former First Lady Sandra Torres. The center-left politician claimed the following month that the “political mafias” would pull out all the stops to prevent his inauguration on January 14, 2024.

On Friday, the president-elect held a press conference where he addressed the current situation, calling it a “senseless, preposterous, and malevolent coup d’etat.” He claimed that the alleged plotters are a group of high-ranking officials within the Public Ministry, who are working to overthrow the government.

Arevalo praised Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal for its firm stance on maintaining the integrity of the election results. He also urged the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Justice to follow suit and take action in support of democracy and the rule of law.

On Friday, Prosecutor Leonor Morales announced that in addtion to the presidential election, all elections for MPs and mayors held this summer should be considered invalid. The prosecutor’s office alleges that the formats used in the elections were not approved by the country’s electoral authority, as discovered in their investigation.

“There are crossed out minutes, there are minutes where there are no signatures from the Vote Receiving Boards, not all of them are there, their are more voters than ballots,” another prosecutor, Rafael Curruchiche, detailed.

He emphasized that the inquiry did not target any specific political party or individual but instead encompassed all participants. Curruchiche stated that the results of the investigation will be submitted to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which is anticipated to render a decision on the issue.

The president-elect disputed the claims made by the prosecutor’s office, which also accused Arevalo’s party of forging signatures. He urged the Public Ministry to provide proof for their accusations.

This latest development in Guatemala comes as Latin America is embroiled in another crisis.

According to a report by El Pais on Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has stationed troops along the border with Guyana in preparation for Caracas’ plan to annex 160,000 square km of land known as Essequibo. This move comes after a referendum held earlier this week in which Venezuelans voiced their support for the incorporation of the oil-rich region into Venezuela. Maduro recently unveiled a revised map of the country that includes the disputed territory.

The conflict between the two nations originated in 1899 when the United States allocated Essequibo to Guiana, which was then under British rule. Venezuela has never recognized this decision as valid.

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