(This was during our previous president's reign, Alfonso Portillo, during 2003)


Black Thursday

Hello friend, Ok this is the gist of it: Our current government put the country in the shitter. No discussion there, everyone that voted for our current president knew it was a big mistake 4 months after he won the elections 3 and a half years ago. His party is called FRG, and the brain behind all of this is a General called Rios Montt. This guy is wanted by Interpol for crimes against human rights because he took power in a coup way back in the late 70s. He killed thousands and thousands of people but eventually another military group took power from him. Well he is crazy, this RiosMontt guy, and he believes he is a messiah that will bring good things to Guatemala when he is president. He is currently president of the congress.

Anyway, the big drama started because there was a law passed after the coup in the 70s made specifically for this guy. It says that anyone who comes to power by way of a coup (which is unconstitutional) cannot run for president ever again. So now that his party is in power, he bought 4 judges on our "supreme court" (called corte de constitucionalidad) and asked them if he could become president, claiming that law didn't apply to him (even though it was MADE for him), he even predicted he would win 4-3. And the next day he won....4-3. The country was pissed off, our constitution had been raped and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was pissed off except people that work for this FRG party.

This isn't like in the states where one side says something and there is always the other side arguing the opposite. NO ONE stands up for what is going on because they remember what this guy did way back when and this party has fucked up the country ever since it came to power 3 and a half years ago. So even if he was allowed to run, no way he wins.....if elections were clean. But this guy doesn't care how, he wants to win, he is a religious nut and that makes him even scarier. So anyway, shit hit the fan last week when 3 gutsy ass lawyers appealed the decision that RiosMontt won 4-3, asking the Elections Tribunal to not let him run. Amazingly the government doesn't have everyone bought, because it worked! The whole country was thrilled, amazingly enough we had done it, the bad guys were going to lose. The general was pissed off and claimed the constitution had been violated.

So a day or two after that he warned that if people who supported his party got "violent" because of this "injustice", it wouldn't be his fault. That’s basically a threat to change the decision and let him run or else. Well nothing came of it until yesterday, when this FRG party brought in thousands of people from outside the city, farmers and poor people that know nothing of what is going on. They were told they would get food and some money in exchange for getting on these buses. They were told NOT to talk to any reporters and to follow orders from people who work for the party, you can recognize them because they have their faces covered.

In Guatemala you can't be in public with your face covered, it's against the law. It exists so that people who demonstrate violently can be identified and arrested. Well this was a coordinated assault on the city. It started at a central obelisk and they surrounded a building where a political show is taped that criticizes the gov. They poured gasoline on one reporter and chanted "see a reporter, burn a reporter".

Hector Ramirez was buried today, he was a reporter that was killed yesterday after getting hit by these people with sticks, he suffered a heart attack and died. Tires were burned and streets were blocked. Then the big group split up, some went to the supreme court, others to surround different newspaper buildings, the press is a major target by the general. This went on for about 12 hours, and everyone was wondering where the cops were. They had orders to not do anything, and no one really expected them to show up because the government is doing this, and so why would they send the cops to stop their own violence? So one building was kept hostage for the 12 hours and women were in nervous shock. The president came on TV saying that police and military were now being deployed (this is like 8 hours after shit was out of control) but even that was a lie, nothing happened and no cops were to be seen. Some cops were seen, and they were making sure the buses that were blocking major streets (we're talking commonwealth avenue major) weren't towed or moved.

One group of these protesters went to a very rich area of town where the ex president lives and held him hostage in his home for some time. No cops. The place where the newspaper guy died yesterday is 5 minutes away from my house, it's where we go hang out on the weekends and stuff. Can't go there this weekend. The whole country is pissed off, but there is really nothing that can be done but wait. Today though, more people were bused in, and they demand the general to be given permission to run. Some of these poor people that are being manipulated actually spoke to a reporter, and they have no clue why they are here or what is going on. They think its a vacation. Its sad that Guatemalans are being pitted against Guatemalans when one side has no clue as to what they ae doing.

The general was on tv saying he isn't responsible, its not him that is behind it. It isn't him that organized and told people what buildings are what, where the rich areas are, remember most people haven't even been to the city before. But this crazy guy won't stop until he is president. The elections are in November, and on august 9th everything freezes, if he isn't allowed to run by then, he can no longer run, its over. That’s why its so urgent for him right now. Yesterday was like a Sunday, the streets were completely abandoned, everything closed, black smoke billowing from certain parts of the city. Its really surreal. Today finally some crowd control police showed up, turns out the chief of police quit, he had to, because he had orders to not do anything, making his job impossible. So he had to quit. Anyway, we don't know how this will end, or when, because the government in power is behind it, and they are the ones that can stop it. Citizens are all saying that we shouldn't fight back because that will cause a fucking civil war...again. The city is real tense right now and there are some helicopters flying around, I think they are newspaper people but I don't know. Yesterday has now been labeled "black Thursday". I'll keep you all posted. If you don't want to receive this anymore, just let me know. Carlos


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