OAS finds allegations of electoral fraud in Guatemala ‘unfounded’

Washington, Oct 10 (EFE).- The Organization of American States said Tuesday that reports of alleged irregularities in Guatemala’s elections are baseless and welcomed the resumption of the transition process.

The OAS mission that traveled to Guatemala between September 27 and 29 “analyzed the findings on which the allegations of supposed irregularities in the first and second rounds are based” and “verified that they are unfounded,” said OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro in an extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Council of the organization.

Almagro said that the president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, “has done his best to ensure that the process is peaceful and gets to where it needs to go,” adding that the administration of outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei is also “fully committed” to the process.

Ar{evalo, who will be Guatemala’s first progressive ruler in 70 years, won the Aug. 20 presidential election and is scheduled to take office on Jan. 14, 2024, but the Attorney General’s Office has sought to suspend his party, the Seed Movement.

“Our doors remain open for dialogue,” said Almagro, who offered “technical assistance and other institutional tools” of the OAS to facilitate the Guatemalan presidential transition.

In his opinion, “obstacles continue to exist, especially on the part of the Attorney General’s Office,” whose actions he described as “inappropriate, improper and unjustified” and involving “intimidation tactics.”

“All the Attorney General’s Office efforts are focused on one party. This is objectionable, unacceptable, and in no way permissible,” said the OAS Secretary General, emphasizing that “the same capacity to act against organized crime” has not been seen.

At the request of the Guatemalan government, the OAS announced last Saturday that it would send a delegation, including former Uruguayan Defense Minister Luis Rosadilla, to mediate in the crisis.

In a virtual intervention, Arévalo pointed out that it is necessary to “properly determine” among whom such mediation could occur “if it is expected to lead to serious agreements.” He also clarified that “there will be no mediation without the direct participation of the Indigenous Peoples.”

The president-elect also asked the OAS to issue “a declaration or resolution” in which “the government of the republic is urged, in clear and forceful terms, to comply with its institutional responsibilities, with its commitments to democracy, and to instruct the Attorney General’s Office to stop the harassment and criminal persecution.”

Arévalo concluded his presentation by asking the OAS to “continue to accompany” the situation, stating that “the defense of democracy in Guatemala and on the continent requires a strong declaration.”

The meeting occurred as protests and roadblocks continued in Guatemala for the ninth consecutive day, despite Giammattei’s warning that those who provoked them would be prosecuted.

The protests were called and initiated by the indigenous organization 48 Cantones of the Department of Totonicapán (in the west) to demand the resignation of Attorney General Consuelo Porras, whom they accuse of trying to alter the election results. EFE



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