The Guatemalan Model

A case study in defeating autocracy.

Last week in these pages, I published an excerpt from my new book RESISTING THE RIGHT, which describes how to stop the return of Donald Trump to the White House, and — in the worst case scenario — how to push back against a right wing autocracy should our efforts fail and MAGA Republicans succeed in regaining power.

The book surveys the various arenas in which that pro-democracy campaign can unfold, from protest and civil disobedience to economics, the press, religion, public health, the arts, and simple interpersonal interaction, among others. Notwithstanding the title, it also explains why “resistance” is the wrong word — and wrong mindset — for that effort.

I’ve recently learned of a case study in exactly that process, in Guatemala, whose people have, remarkably, evicted a vicious and entrenched right wing dictatorship by means of precisely those methods.

“Over the past six months,” writes the Montreal-based Venezuelan journalist Quico Toro, an “unlikely coalition of urban professionals and Indigenous people has pulled off something extraordinary,” ousting from power an oppressive kleptocratic regime that had kept the country under its boot for 27 years. “Guatemalans have made an audacious gambit to take their government back,” Toro reports, “And against all odds, they’re winning.”



Robert Edwards / The King's Necktie

Writer, filmmaker, and veteran — blogging at The King’s Necktie @TheKingsNecktie