Guatemala’s VP-elect: Corruption “Has Us in Fragments”

Karin Herrera Aguilar, vice president-elect of Guatemala, speaks with EFE during a September 1st interview in Guatemala City. Photo: Esteban Biba / EFE

Karin Herrera declares that the government will forcefully combat corruption, facilitate open access to information, and have every functionary sign a code of responsible ethics.

By EFE / La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – Guatemala’s Vice President elect, Karin Herrera Aguilar, plans a frontal attack against government corruption as soon as the new government of that Central American country is inaugurated in 2024. She also hopes her role will motivate other women to participate in local politics.

In an interview with EFE, Herrera explained that the Movimiento Semilla [Seed Movement] Party government – which Bernardo Arevalo will preside over beginning next January 14 – will energetically combat corruption, while facilitating open access to information and having every government functionary sign a code of ethical responsibility.

“Corruption has ground us down to fragments, because [the corrupt officials] have utilized the institutions to shore up their own interests, with no scruples at all,” the 55-year-old chemical biologist stated.

The vice president-elect is clear that the old corrupt practices, “can’t be wiped away with a magic wand,” and that they’ll encounter “resistance from figures who have hindered the country’s progress.”

Nonetheless, Herrera expressed optimism, and assured that “through dialogue” it’s possible to “sensitize those government functionaries who have been pressured by corrupt figures, so that they jump off those boats and work together with us for the country.”

According to the victorious candidate, the Movimiento Semilla government plans to improve open access to public information, establish a code of ethics “that any contracted employees will have to sign,” and two special commissions as ways to fight against the corruption.

Other priorities in their view

While it’s true the Bernardo Arevalo’s and Karin Herrera’s priority will be concentrated on the fight against corruption, the new vice president stressed that in the first 100 days of governance, they’ll seek to put forward “a safety plan for women, with the Secretariat against Sexual Violence and Human Trafficking, as well as generate plans for attending to the migrants deported from the United States.”

Karin Herrera Aguilar will be the second female vice president in Guatemala’s history; Roxana Baldetti, the first one (2012 – 2015), has been in prison since 2015 for several million-dollar cases of corruption.

“I hope that my participation motivates other women, and that they see in me that it’s not necessary to meet certain stereotypes when there’s a genuine intention to help others,” she highlighted.

The vice president-elect, who has been involved in university and science teaching for three decades at the University of San Carlos, the only state university in the country, says that her objective is: “to be a vice president whose influence is felt through service and who is open to dialogue.”

Waiting to assume power

The current judicial attack on the electoral process in Guatemala “has no legal logic,” explained Herrera during the interview.

The Movimeinto Semilla ticket triumphed in Guatemala’s August 20 run-off election, amid attempts of the Attorney General’s office to cancel their party and thus avoid their participation in the balloting, all supposedly for a case involving claims of falsified signatures in 2018.

The vice president-elect stressed that Movimiento Semilla’s coming to power “was about the will of the population” and “transcends one party.”

The transition process between incoming president Bernardo Arevalo and outgoing president Alejandro Giametti began this Monday, under the close watch of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro. Almagro was present in the Guatemalan capital, due to the uncertainty revolving around this process because of the Attorney General’s intent to suspend the legality of Movimiento Semilla.

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