Guatemala and the Challenge of a Plurinational Constituent Assembly Process

Ollantay Itzamná protester in Guatemala. Internet

Urban and rural sectors of Guatemala, once again take to the streets to carry out a “national strike” demanding the resignation of the Attorney General and the President of the Republic for “acts of corruption”.

The accumulated social discontent was reactivated with the unjustified dismissal of an anti-corruption prosecutor who was “on the verge of proving” criminal responsibilities of several political actors in office in the country.

A Creole State that enriches the few and impoverishes even the nostalgic “middle class”.

The outrageous social and economic inequality that prevails in the country is not imperceptible to any tourist or visitor to the country. While there are a few families who possess and squander wealth as if they were gods in Mayan lands, the great social majorities die in exclusion and poverty, desperate to secure a livelihood.

The bicentennial Guatemalan Creole nation-state, which from its origin and in its history, was tremendously exclusionary and violent with the great majorities, never managed to constitute itself and/or expand throughout the national territory as a facilitator of well-being for its population.

On the contrary, the State was designed and operates as a legitimizing tool for the immoral enrichment of the elites, and as an apparatus of internal colonialism against the indigenous peoples and peasants of the country.

Why, then, are the popular sectors outraged at the removal of a prosecutor?

According to Hegel’s logic, relations of domination last in time to the extent that the “slave loves and defends the master”. Something similar happens with the popular sectors of Guatemala in relation to the nation state of which they are not, and never were, a part. “In order to exist socially and individually they need to affirm themselves as part of the Creole State which does them much harm”.

This feeling of false belonging to the Creole State, promoted and irradiated by agents of state institutions (mostly schooled mestizos), means that the “victims” always end up defending and clamoring for the restoration of the state apparatus that excludes and colonizes them.

Apparently, in a good percentage of the popular sectors, which now again take to the streets demanding the resignation of the Ruler and the Prosecutor on duty, as happened in 2015, to “prevent the State from falling or collapsing”, the neophobia (fear of change) and existential instinct of “a known referent is worth more than an unknown project to be built” prevails more.

This is one of the reasons why “victims or slaves”, even schooled, now, in street protests, refuse the possibility of debating and promoting a process of Popular and Plurinational Constituent Assembly for Guatemala.

These social protests, consciously or unconsciously, what they do is to strengthen/oxygenate the Creole State and avoid or postpone the possibility of enabling constituent processes to create the Plurinational State through a broad and plural consensus among all peoples and sectors of the country.

It is said to protest against corruption in the state apparatus, but it is known that the Creole State was created by corrupt elites to avoid paying taxes to the Spanish Crown, and to plunder the territories of the native peoples. Those corrupt elites, or their heirs, today, do not pay taxes to the State either.

In two centuries of Republic, it was demonstrated that the creole states in Abya Yala are consubstantial with corruption, and public corruption is rewarded with impunity. If we want to overcome public corruption, we must design a new political and legal system that prevents and punishes corruption.

This implies creating a new State with the decisive participation of all peoples and sectors, through a process of a Plurinational Popular Constituent Assembly.

There are constituent subjects and proposals, but they are undocumented.

Faced with the “mental and behavioral slavery” of the social sectors with higher levels of education that resist structural changes and promote the “restoration of the colonizing Creole State”, indigenous and peasant communities, organized in “resistance”, from different territories of the country propose and promote processes of structural changes through a Popular and Plurinational Constituent Assembly to create a Plurinational State and make possible Buen Vivir for all.

These proposals are even written and published (even accessible on the Internet) in Spanish. But, the “outraged citizens” and mobilized against public corruption are reluctant to read and promote them.

Since 2012, the communities in resistance, in rural areas, have not lost time or rhythm in debating and socializing the possible structural changes that the new Political Constitution should contain.

They carried out and are carrying out different collective street actions proposing and demanding the call for a Popular and Plurinational Constituent Assembly process, but they find almost no echo in the social sectors with a “higher degree of schooling”. Much less, in the indebted middle class that lives off the state civil service. Why? Racism. Fear of losing privileges, even cultural ones.

The truth is that, now, the social sectors are coming out “demanding the resignation of the President and of the Attorney General on duty” to restore the Creole State that was a failure and whose institutions are falling apart as a result of its putrefaction. The following week, the rural and urban indigenous sector came out demanding the installation of a transitional government to enable the convocation of a Popular and Plurinational Constituent Assembly process. A similar contrast of street protests to those of 2015. We will see, if Guatemala (victim of its racism and ignorance) continues to ignore this proposal that as a method currently guides the path of the peoples in the bicentennial neoliberal republics of Chile and Peru.

Guatemala, which path to take?

At a critical juncture, two Mayan defenders from Guatemala, Thelma Cabrera and Irma Alicia, discuss the 2021 collective protest actions underway, and the possible horizons of delayed structural changes in Guatemala.

Guatemala and the myth of Sisyphus

1821, let’s all unite, shouted the Creoles in order not to pay taxes to the Spanish Crown ….

Two centuries later, the colonized peoples and sectors of the country, are still chasing the “restoration of the colonial republican order”. Without daring to think of themselves as socio-political subjects capable of building a plurinational State, with a new Political Constitution.

Guatemala, as long as it continues as a “North American colony” will never be able to undertake its own destiny as a plurinational country.

Use the autotranslate feature