Wednesday, November 12, 2003

DEMOCRACY IN GUATEMALA

Speaking of OxBlog, they have drawn my attention to results from the Guatemalan election held yesterday.

Over the past few years I have learned a great deal about Guatemala from my sister who has made several trips there doing volunteer medical work.

In the elections yesterday former dictator General Efrain Rios Montt was soundly rejected by the Guatemalan people in favour of two other candidates who will meet at the end of the year in a run-off.

The 60% voter turnout was the highest in the nation's history and election observers on the ground said "the vote appeared to have been conducted freely and without major problems."

In the words of one Guatemalan,
"We are tired. We want a better life," said Arturo Alvarez, 44, a trucking company owner who waited three hours to cast his ballot Sunday in Guatemala City.

This man waited three hours to vote. Consider that. These are people that have suffered so much mis-rule that they are not complacent about their most basic democratic rights. I bet Mr. Alvarez has a better understanding of what it means to vote than many people here do.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:02 AM