Latin American Weekly Report

26/11/2020 - Budget proves incendiary for Guatemala’s Giammattei

Unprecedented scenes of protesters setting Guatemala’s congress alight captured media attention over the weekend amid the biggest anti-government protests to face President Alejandro Giammattei since he took office in January. The protests were sparked by the congressional approval of a record budget for 2021 which not only failed to address key priorities for the country, currently reeling from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and hurricanes Eta and Iota, but also awarded generous increases to portfolios not known for spending transparency. Giammattei and congress, one of Guatemala’s least trusted institutions, have since announced plans to withdraw the budget. But this gesture has yet to dampen the unrest, with public indignation over the government’s poor handling of the pandemic and efforts to weaken the fight against corruption compounded by allegations of excessive force used by police on protesters.

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