Six months after coming to power, the Jimmy Morales government shows signs of declining authority and is proving the theory that this political "outsider“ never had a serious plan for Guatemala.
Regardless of his relentless efforts to highlight small steps in education, health, infrastructure and especially security, the president’s red numbers indicate unfavorable public opinion, even amongst some who were members of his team at the outset.
The resignation of two ministers, the possible dismissal of a third, the dismissal of two deputy ministers and the resignation of another two, are just some of the consequences of the 47-year-old president’s inexperience.
More than 60 percent of the population rate his performance as bad and question his tendency to follow a militarist and rightwing course of action.
A poll conducted by the Prensa Libre daily newspaper revealed that 8,336 of 20,273 (60 percent) people questioned regard the performance of the winner of a presidential election marked by frustration at the work of traditional politicians and anger at the level of corruption in Guatemala, as ineffective.
Politicians, social activists and experts from different sectors all agree that Morales is refusing to adopt the structural reforms required to change the reality of one of the countries most affected by inequality, exclusion, violence, malnutrition and other related problems.
These sectors point to the president because he seems intent on turning the military into the protagonists of the few civil works promoted in the country and consequently into the force needed to change the country.
On taking office, Morales ordered the army to build nearly eight thousand kilometers of roads and highways, produce school desks, supply hospitals with wheelchairs and undertake other works of benefit to the people.
Based on their involvement in such social projects, he decided to hold a public parade to mark the anniversary of the military institution on June 30.
However, popular opposition was so intense that he had to withdraw his proposal and celebrate the date in the air force grounds.
An increase in the army budget and a reduction in funding for a program created to compensate victims of the armed conflict – to only $3.2 million of $38 million assigned for the year- are interpreted as another sign of where the president’s scales are inclined to tilt.
In a report on his presidential performance during his first six months in power, he referred to the sweeping offensive against gangs and the dismantling of a number of their cells and the consequent arrest of almost 200 gang members.
Morales also highlighted the progressive reduction of violent deaths, particularly those caused by firearms and bladed weapons.
Between March and June, there were 123 homicides less than in the same period last year, he said.
He also referred to a reduction of the fiscal gap which, according to Morales, permitted a pay rise for civil police officers and the reopening of services at some hospitals.
Education and health workers in Guatemala, however, have a different view of reality.
Faced with criticism for neglecting such basic human rights, the president’s reply caused outrage when he said that such concerns were those “of people who have problems or are resentful and of those who own no businesses and hold no share of power.”Share on FB Share on TT