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Issue #1688      June 10, 2015

Statement, Guatemalan Party of Labour (PGT)

Dismantle criminal political structure

The political crisis arising from the actions of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Public Ministry (MP) to dismantle the criminal structure known as La Linea (The Line) and subsequently the network operating in the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS) reveals that the state has entered into and been held captive by these kinds of mafia organisations from the highest levels of political power. Both arose about four decades ago, as part of the counterinsurgency alliance of the oligarchy and the military leadership, with the strong support of the United States.

In this context, the military leadership and middle rank army officers created criminal structures of drug, arms and human trafficking, tax fraud and smuggling. The army became, gradually, a real factor of political and economic power through the accumulation of illicit capital. These are the foundations of the bourgeois, militarised counter-insurgency state, controlled by the oligarchy, the military leaders and their gangs of organised crime.

The political transition that began in 1985 reconfigured the state. The counter-insurgency-Mafia state was transformed into a neo-liberal, Mafia and repressive state, whose political control would dispute the oligarchy and the “modernising bourgeoisie” to the leading positions and counterinsurgency military Officer Corp and organised crime. The actions of former President Alvaro Arzu against the “Moreno Network” and Grupo Salvavidas (Lifeguard Group) in 1996 were an expression of that dispute, but were truncated as the main beneficiaries of this network were financiers of the National Advancement Party (PAN), through which Arzú became President of the Republic.

The function of this converted state is to ensure the development of neo-liberal capitalism and the expansion of transnational capital in the country. To do this, counterinsurgency structures (especially intelligence) aim to repress – in partnership with businesses, private security and intelligence apparatus – any manifestations of struggle against neo-liberal capitalism, the plunder and the trans-nationalisation of resources and assets held by the public.

The political crisis arising from the dismantling of some of these criminal networks is an expression of the deep structural crisis to be found within the neo-liberal-Mafia state, controlled by large corporate groups and organised crime. It is a manifestation of the struggle between power groups that control it. The crisis of neo-liberal capitalism in Guatemala is deepening and, as a result of its disastrous effects, popular mobilisation against this predatory model is increasing daily.

The key question is how to solve it. So far, they have clearly revealed two proposals: a “controlled exit” by the ruling class in alliance with the US, and an exit which allows at least the reorganisation and democratisation of the state and its institutions. However, on the horizon one begins to glimpse the demand for a radical refounding of the State, expressed by a cross-class, ethnic and social formation that consolidates its features in the current situation.

With the resignation of vice-president Roxana Baldetti and the subsequent appointment of Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre (a character with a dark past, from the right and the defunct National Liberation Movement (MLN) linked to death squads in the ‘60s -‘70s), the US Embassy and the Guatemalan Business Council sought to impose its “controlled exit”. In this solution to the crisis, CICIG has played a vital role since the revelation of “The Line”. This manoeuvre has the fundamental aim of ensuring the continuity of the neo-liberal project and hegemony and domination of the bourgeoisie, the leadership of the military and the US.

Another proposal suggests the consolidation of institutions, including political parties, in addition to the requirement to prosecute those linked to these criminal structures. It focuses on the need to reform the Electoral Law and Political Parties and the convening of a National Constituent Assembly, within the current parameters. Among these proposals there is a range of approaches to moving towards or away from the demand for radical re-foundation of the State.

From our perspective, neither of the first two ways out of the crisis offer the solution to the great problems of the country. On the one hand, the “controlled exit” only guarantees the continuation of the neo-liberal project of big business, the plunder of public assets and resources and communities; it ensures state control by the traditional economic power, the emerging one and the Mafias. Furthermore, the second proposal reduces the reform of the rules of the political game and the Constitution to institutional reorganisation.

The Guatemalan Party of Labour expresses its full support for the large mobilisations carried out by the urban middle class in the capital city and several departments and the major demonstrations that have also featured support from the peasant, Indigenous and popular movement; demanding clean lawsuits, seeking new institutions, reform of the state and prosecution of all those involved in the criminal structures formed by businessmen, politicians, civil servants, officers and demobilised former military officers, civil institutions throughout the state during the current government, the contemporary expression of the counterinsurgency policy of militarism.

At the same time, the PGT raises the need to deepen these demonstrations; turn them into a broad popular movement, in the city and countryside, of workers, communities and peoples, employees, students of all levels and middle class people. This situation opens up the possibility of promoting a thorough review and parallel elimination of corrupt practices that have contaminated the trade union, peasant and popular movement, and the electoral left itself.

It also proposes to make the crisis a turning point and fight for measures that direct the country towards a deep transformation of the state as well as the promotion of a development model that favours the population, which has hitherto been excluded. In that sense, our demands should be directed to:

1. The demilitarisation of the State, the total dismantling of all criminal structures within it, from national to municipal and local; judicial prosecution of their members (entrepreneurs, politicians, military and former military, civil servants and lawyers) and the dismantling of the structural mechanisms of corruption.

2. The end to the criminalisation of social struggles and repression against the people, social leaders, advocates and human rights defenders, community leaders in the struggle of resistance and defence of the territory.

3. Suspension of the general elections and adoption of a new Electoral Law and Political Parties to ensure: a) participation in conditions of equality of women and of Maya, Xinca and Garifuna peoples with candidacies defined according to their gender and their own norms, independent of political parties’ regulations; b) change of the current electoral districts to others that take into account the territoriality of the Maya, Garifuna and Xinca peoples to ensure their representation; c) the prohibition of private funding to political parties and the establishment of effective supervisory mechanisms; d) strengthening the enforcement capacity of the Electoral Commission, TSE in relation to crimes and offences in electoral matters.

4. Resignation of the Executive in full and the establishment of a transitional government, emanating from the consensus of all social and political forces.

5. The call for a National Constituent Popular Assembly to drive the process of reorganising the state to build one social, plural-national, democratic and participatory, anti-patriarchal one, respectful of nature and ensuring self-determination of the peoples who are integrated.

6. The repeal of all harmful legislation that enables theft of public goods and resources and communities, and that damages the interests of the working class, Indigenous people and mestizos. Also, suspension of the Congress of the Republic.

Finally, the PGT calls on workers in the countryside and in the city, peasants, workers, students, professionals, urban middle class and people in general, to redouble and intensify the struggle for their specific demands, and to join the political struggle against the crisis.

For Guatemala, the Revolution and Socialism
Guatemalan Party of Labour
Guatemala, May 2015

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