In yesterday’s newscast we told you that Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina resigned hours after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. The embattled president has been accused of masterminding a customs scheme defrauding millions of dollars. Molina’s Vice President had resigned in Mid May of this year in connection to the same Customs Scheme. On Tuesday of this week, Molina was stripped of immunity from prosecution and now faces charges. Current Vice President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre will serve out the rest of Perez Molina’s term, but he will soon have a successor. Presidential, congressional and municipal elections are scheduled for this coming Sunday, September 6, and the two front-runners in the presidential race are Perez-Molina’s defeated rival in 2011, Manuel Baldizon, and former First Lady Sandra Torres, who has Belizean background and ties to the Opposition People’s United Party, as sister to the wife of former representative Dr. Gregorio Garcia, Narda Garcia, and aunt of Corozal Bay candidate Gregorio ‘Papas’ Garcia. Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow told reporters yesterday that he has no favorites but says neither struck him as advocating any change in Belize’s relationship with Guatemala. He spoke of a past meeting with Baldizon.
Hon. Dean Barrow: In terms of a change that Is possible with his house or with his department. All I can say s that Baldison, who as I understand is the front runner came to Belize and met with me before he was the front runner. He had already declared, but at the time I didn’t get the impression that people thought too highly of his chances. We had a long chat, we had a long exchange at the Codidrive office and he certainly made it absolutely plain, that if he were to become President of Guatemala, we could expect a strengthening of cooperation between the two countries. We could expect a profile that would see his administration absolutely respecting again the separate reality of Belize. So without expression any preference for any of the candidates, I merely point this out because it does appear that Baldison is likely to become the next president of Guatemala.
According to Barrow, Torres’ Belizean background can help us, but it may also hurt.
Hon. Dean Barrow: I got to know her when her husband was president and she was fond of talking about rice and beans and her closeness with Belize. Her sister of course is married to Greg Garcia and the mother of the PUP candidate for the general election in Corozal bay. I would want to hope that if she does win, that again, her connection with Belize will mean that there won’t be any slippage in terms of Belize and Guatemala and in fact there might be more sympathy that somebody in her circumstances……….. I don’t know. The other side to that coin is that she might feel she has something to prove because there was the argument that she was born in Belize. I think from what I saw, she is a stronger woman than that, and I would hope and believe that rather she would recollect, not only her former ties to Belize but her current ties to Belize in terms of her sister and her brother in law and her nephew, and I don’t know if there are nieces.
If there is no clear winner, a run-off will be held in October.