Guatemala: The Astonishing Election of Bernardo Arévalo Threatens a Corrupt Political Establishment

On August 20th a former academic, diplomat and now anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arevalo stunned the world with a landslide victory in Guatemala’s presidential election. Arevalo won with over 60% of the vote, besting a former first lady who represented Guatemala’s long dominant conservative — and corrupt — political establishment.

This was a truly unexpected result.

People who professionally observe Central American politics, including Ivan Briscoe, were taken by surprise.  Ivan Briscoe is Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group. As he explains, Arevalo is genuinely committed to democracy and rooting out corruption — and this is putting him at odds with the incumbent corrupt establishment. Despite the election results, the establishment is fighting back and taking measures to prevent Arevalo from wielding power in office and enacting meaningful change.

We kick off with a discussion of Arevelo’s fascinating biography before having a longer conversation about the significance of his landslide victory. Listen here. 



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