Though president Alvaro Colom is the first left-leaning Guatemalan president to be elected in some 50 years, he has not as of yet signed on to the movement towards the institutionalization of participatory democracy in Latin America like his leftist counterparts in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. The recently elected Colum has a huge job ahead of him. It will take more than the 100 days of his initial plan to eradicate poverty and insecurity, but this is a good start. While the article below mentions the distribution of funds to cooperatives, he will have to do more than symbolically listen to the people by travelling to the poorest regions in promise of sending money. Allowing the people to participate directly in the process rather that through their municipal officials, and to manage the funds collectively will reduce the risk of corruption within the bureaucratic ranks of the government and thereby instill more confidence in the government, and lend it more credibility. As far as "security" is concerned, he will have to learn from the plights of Salvadorans who currently suffer under the excesses of a brutal police force. Responding to the people without violence will lead to more stability and better governance in the long run. - Editor
With the launching of a rural development project and special operations, the new Guatemalan government started a 100-day plan against poverty and insecurity gripping the country.
The program will cost 1.2 billion quetzals (about $158 million) and is a response to the people's most urgent needs and to improve quality of life, President Alvaro Colom stated.
Three days after assuming power, Colom traveled to Ixcan, one of the poorest and most affected zones by the 36-year internal armed conflict, where he announced the delivery of funds to cooperatives for several projects.
The government also predicts the creation of a rural development council, the extension of services like education and health to distant zones, and the concession of resources so poor mothers can send their sons to school.
As for security, over 500 police agents started operations in high crime areas of this capital to eliminate drug and weapon shipments and people trade.
National Police Civil spokesman Faustino Sanchez said that vigilance and detentions are consequences of accusations against citizens dedicated to extortions and assaults to urban buses.
In his inauguration speech Monday, President Colom announced a raging war against the Mafias and organized crime, and promised starting a process of change to a social-democratic government that fights poverty, oriented to those with less opportunities.