After counting the votes of Guatemalan’s first round of presidential elections, it came as a surprise to many that former comedian and television actor Jimmy Morales would top the polls. He received approximately a quarter of the support from those who participated in Sunday’s elections. Morales started late on the campaign trail and his slogan is, “neither corrupt, nor a thief”. The second round of voting is to take place October 25 where Morales will go against Sandra Torres Casanova, wife of former President Alvaro Colom. Morales is considered a candidate with conservative values on several domestic matters in Guatemala, but what has caught our attention is comments he made last month when he was interviewed by a Guatemalan reporter. He said that the most deplorable event in Guatemala’s history is losing Belize but that there is hope in keeping her if both countries decide to go to the International Court of Justice.
“Are you ready to be President of the Republic?”
“I have been preparing since 1999. In 2004 I took the decision that it’s what my heart desires. Between 2004 to 2008 I was dedicated to find out what is the reason to run for president. From 2008 to the present I have dedicated time to academically and politically prepare myself to serve. I believe I have the characteristics needed which is leadership. Leadership is what the nation needs in order to accomplish what the presidency really is. The presidency is the figure that calls a nation to unity and which should ensure territorial integrity and which should also ensure that the laws are abide. Precisely we are in those conditions and all the spirit to serve and ensure this happens.”
“Which Guatemalan historical event do you think is the most deplorable?”
“The most deplorable event – among all the things that have happened in Guatemala, there are certain things that are not spoken about and which I believe we should. Everything that goes contrary to national unity and territorial integrity are things that should hurt us. Something is happening right now, we are about to lose Belize. We have not lost it yet. We still have the possibility of going to the International Court of Justice where we can fight that territory or part of that territory.”
“Do you believe that it’s worth for Guatemala to recover Belize?”
“I think that it is worth anything that is natural resources and of benefit to the nation. Like I said it deplorable anything that is a loss for Guatemala.”
Some Guatemalan political analysts believe Morales is not the strongest candidate and he may very well lose to Torres Casanova. His comments regarding the Guatemalan territorial claim over Belize are of interest as if he manages to become president it may point to the direction his administration make take on the issue. After Sunday’s elections, Jimmy Morales received 23.85% of votes while Sandra Torres Casanova received 19.74%. The two will face each other on October 25. It is yet to be decided if for the second round of the presidential elections a referendum to take the Guatemalan claim over Belize before the ICJ will be put to the voters. In May this year, Belize agreed for Guatemala to proceed on its own to hold a referendum on the issue.