All posts tagged: Guatemalan army

In Guatemala, At Least, Democracy Is Winning

In Guatemala, At Least, Democracy Is Winning

Democracy could use a win. All around the world, states have been taken over by strongmen dead set on extracting as much wealth as they can from the societies they rule. In Russia and Venezuela, Myanmar and Angola, weak electoral systems have given way to hyper-corrupt autocracies. And democrats haven’t really figured out how to fight back. Successful methods to get rid of criminal regimes are desperately needed but vanishingly rare. Which is why what’s happening in Guatemala right now demands attention. Over the past six months, Guatemalans have made an audacious gambit to take their government back. And against all odds, they’re winning. Nobody expected this. Until quite recently, Guatemala was arguably an excellent example of what the Venezuelan writer Moisés Naím calls a “mafia state”—a country run by a criminal syndicate focused mostly on enriching itself. Guatemalans call it the pacto de corruptos, or the “pact of the corrupt.” A nested set of criminal enterprises thoroughly colonized the state, infiltrating not just the government, but the courts, the election authorities, and crucially, the …