#RenunciaYA … A civic rebellion that started with a frustrated Facebook post is now threatening to oust Guatemala’s strongman president, retired special forces commander Otto Pérez Molina.
- “We didn’t want the protest to be led by any names or faces,” said Wer, who declined to have his photo taken for this article.
- “We don’t want to give the movement an ethnicity or gender. We are very diverse in Guatemala so we wanted to maintain that plurality in the protest. It’s also why we decided not to have a stage at the protest, because we didn’t want any one group to appropriate the platform and start making speeches. We just wanted everyone to assemble in the plaza peacefully, without a march, because a march is always led by someone.”
Though the original #RenunciaYA protest movement has atomized into more than a dozen groups in recent weeks, Wer says it’s all good.
- All the splinter protest movements appear to be calling for variations of the same thing: 1) the president’s resignation, 2) substantial changes to the constitution, and 3) the postponement of the Sept. 6 general elections until the electoral system can be put in place and better candidates found.
- The important thing, Wer says, is that Guatemala City is finally waking up and not leaving all the protesting to rural indigenous and campesino groups, who have always been organized and mobilized against the government.
- That sudden commonality of cause is helping to build a new empathy between middle class mestizo Guatemalans in the capital and the indigenous groups from the countryside. Protest leaders say that alone is an important advance in a country that has long been deeply racist and segregated.
- “On May 20 an indigenous group marched on the capital and people from Guatemala City actually got out of their cars to applaud them,” Wer says. “That never happened here before.”
“What everyone says now is that things will never be the same, and that gives me great hope,” the accidental activist says. “At least there is a new awareness that things can change, and are changing.”
Read the full story here: http://fusion.net/story/150179/how-9-strangers-used-facebook-to-launch-guatemalas-biggest-protest-movement-in-50-years/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialshare&utm_content=desktop+top