Saturday, May 14, 2011

En breve/in brief

You go away for a little less than a week and when you get back, things are both different and the same. Politics continues to be a farce: the U.S. grants a visa to war criminal and presidential front runner Otto Perez Molina; a panel of judges declares that ex-President Portillo, who was charged with money-laundering, influence-peddling and who knows what-all else, is not guilty based on insufficient proof; meanwhile the Commission on Impunity says they are going to look into the matter.  Business as usual. A friend offered the opinion that perhaps the judges who ruled in Portillo's favor were frightened of ruling against him (there have been death threats and other intimidations of judges in the not-very-distant past) or that maybe they had received payoffs. There was one judge who did rule against Portillo but she was outvoted by the others.

Also, although the president and presidential candidate Sandra Torres (formerly Torres de Colom) have divorced, they are both apparently living in the presidential residence, although in separate apartments. I was also told (I haven't yet found this in the news) that the courts were looking into their divorce (although it was already officialized).

Residents of some communities in Alta Verapaz have complained that they have been pressured into affiliating themselves with UNE (the ruling party) in order to keep receiving benefits from one of the social programs, Mi Familia Progresa.

And finally (for now) from the world of politics, the daughter of former dictator Rios Montt has withdrawn her candidacy for president; she was to have been running on the FRG (one of the far-right parties, the one founded by her father).

Of course, most of this doesn't seem to affect daily life in the small town where I live. It's Saturday; the sun is shining; animals are making noises; very few people are out on the streets. National politics seems relatively far-removed, except for those who are active in one of the parties. 

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