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Guatemala: Bloggers Applaud and Participate in Peaceful Elections

Rains, violence, and chaos had been expected. Guatemalans were glad that the predictions were wrong. Democracy and a peaceful transition of power were the good news. The wonderful team of bloggers not only commented on elections, but also helped people with tips, details, images and updated information during the entire process, as well as encouraging voters to exercise their right, even late at night.

Around 11 pm, according to blogger Desde Guate [ES], who provided the official results, (preliminary, updating minute by minute in Resultados 2007) the former military officer Otto Pérez Molina was the leader in the capital, but Alvaro Colom has more total votes, since he was the leader in rural areas. There were also interesting results in the Congress, with representativity of several parties. The results are confirmed by blogger Elecciones Guatemala [ES], who provides a comparative chart. In November Colom and Pérez will face off in the second round for the Presidency.

Apart from isolated incidents in Santa Rosa due to dispersed tear gas, as reported by the blog Noeschisme [ES], and problems with electricity, Guatemalans lived a real civic festivity where everyone was invited.

Blog Guate360 [ES] described the whole process of voting with requirements, details, important data and graphics to help people, especially novices, on his post Llegó la hora de mancharse el dedo [ES].

Ese dedo manchado es la forma con que usted dibuja su espacio ciudadano, lo más parecido a un mapa nacional trazado por los guatemaltecos es esa mancha azul, muéstrela con orgullo, sí, ese será su pase directo al consciente ejercicio de ser ciudadano.

The colored finger is the way you paint your place as a citizen, the most likely national map made by Guatemalans is this blue map. Show it with pride, and yes, this will be your direct passport towards being an active citizen.

And then, Blogger Rudy Giron, on his post Elecciones en Antigua Guatemala, showed a proud picture of his finger, with ink thar proves that he voted, and provides a serie of pictures on his post Elecciones en Antigua transcurrieron en calma [ES].

However blogger La Guatemala mía [ES] differs from the concept of vote, on his post “Civismo, guatemaltequismo…” [ES]

Civico sería exigir que se cumpla lo que se ha ofrecido en campañas, pero el civismo dura sólo un día.

Civics will be to demand the things offered in the campaigns, but civics only lasts one day.

Every year, parallel to the grown-ups’ elections, children in the city can vote in their own elections. VIPAntigua [ES] who said on his post “the longest day of my life“:

Y por supuesto no podrían faltar las votaciones para niños que son un buen principio.

And of course, children voting could not be missed, which is a good starting point.

Lu, a journalism student and blogger, had been working in a television channel's call center receiving reports of abuse or irregularities This was her first time working and covering such an important event, she said in From the inside of elections [ES].

VAYAN! NO dejen que otros decidan por usted, aunque más que decisión por el futuro del país, es una forma de expresarse y que, aunque no quede el candidato de su elección, podamos estar satisfechos de haber expresado su preferencia política.

GO AND VOTE! DO NOT allow others to choose for you, even though it is more than a decision for the future of the country, it is a form of expression and, even when the candidate of your choice does not win, we can be satisfied that we expressed your political preference.

After the first results, we have the first analysis from bloggers at The Black Box [ES]

Comentaba sobre lo sabio que resulta el voto en Guatemala, y es que parece que la alternancia del poder ha sido la estrategia básica de los electores.

I commented about the wisdom of Guatemalan voters, it seems to me that alternating of power is the basic strategy of voters.

The result is satisfactory, and it is a message to the world that Guatemalans can conduct a democratic process in a peaceful way. Through collaboration and respect for others, in spite of the differences Guatemalans have elected a diverse parliament, while decreasing the violent incidents and irregularities. In addition, there was increased participation of citizens not only through voting but by providing information in blogs and other digital forms of media.

Author's Note: Thank you Guatemala, and thanks to the world for caring about our democratic process.

  • Madeline Rios

    It is a severe mischaracterization to call the Guatemalan 2007 elections peaceful or violence free. Though little violence took place on election day itself, approximately 50 candidates running for office were killed during the election season. Right-wing parties also took 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place on September 9, which is a frightening scenario for the upcoming second round.

  • http://antiguadailyphoto.com/ Rudy

    Renata, this is a great summary of the bloggers’s coverage of the Guatemalan Election. I’d like to add my step-by-step description of the voting process in La Antigua Guatemala in English, along with slide show presentation of the several voting centers in La Antigua Guatemala, including the children’s election.

    http://antiguadailyphoto.com/2007/09/09/guatemalans-voted-in-national-elections-on-september-9th/

  • http://nothingispermanent.blogspot.com/index.html Renata Avila

    It is not a severe mischaracterization of the day of the elections, Madeline, I indeed agree that violence during the campaign was extreme, and that´s why compared with the campaign the day of elections was surprising. We were all expecting PACS blocking the highway and violence with guns. I think that it does not depend on the political orientation of parties the danger of the second round. It is getting complicated because of the message of represive actions against gangs and other problems, of the candidates campaign. An interesting point was the number of void and null votes, with higher number of votes than many parties, that together with the absents are a majority.

    Thanks Rudy for the note.

  • Sheila

    I know this is off track, but is it safe for me to drive through Belize to Guatemala to go to Flores and Tikal? What about crossing over the border into Chiapas? Thanks!

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