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Guatemala’s Arévalo Slams Corrupt Elite on Labor Day

On Wednesday, the President of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo, lashed out at those “who enrich themselves at the expense of the people” in an event for International Workers’ Day, in which he evoked the labor code enacted in 1947 by his father, former President Juan José Arévalo.

Guatemala has experienced an “unprecedented institutional deterioration” and a “disaster of corruption and impunity” due to that “corrupt criminal political elite” that clings to its privileges, said Arévalo, whose predecessor, the right-wing President Alejandro Giammattei, never participated in a May 1st event.

“We continue to face the pettiness of those who want everything to remain the same, of those who enrich themselves at the expense of the people,” the social-democratic president declared in a speech before hundreds of workers.

“Since we are among friends, I am going to make a confession to you: these first three months of government have been complicated and have been a great learning experience,” he added, alluding to the conflict he maintains with the questioned Attorney General, Consuelo Porras.

Sanctioned by the United States and the European Union for being “corrupt” and “anti-democratic”, Porras launched a judicial crusade last year against Arévalo and his party, which cast doubt on the transition of power in January.

Arévalo, who then denounced an “attempted coup d’état”, once in government, took legal action to achieve the dismissal of Porras, as he lacks the power to remove her.

Arévalo recalled that Guatemala’s first Labor Code was enacted in 1947 by his father, who governed from 1945 to 1951. He was the leader of a “democratic spring” that ended abruptly with the overthrow in 1954 of his successor, Jacobo Árbenz, in a military coup orchestrated by the United States.

The 1947 Code “remains in force in the 21st century”, Arévalo affirmed, who maintained that “there is no democracy without social justice and there is no social justice without democracy”.

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