Two elections on Sunday

There were elections being held in Central America on Sunday.   In Guatemala and El Salvador, past charges against candidates linked to corruption or human rights abuses did not seem to matter.

In Guatemala, voters cast their ballots in the first round of presidential elections on Sunday.   The two candidates garnering the most votes and who will compete in the second round are former first lady of Guatemala Sandra Torres and former prison chief Alejandro Giammattei.   Neither candidate has a spotless record.  Torres has been under investigation in the past for campaign finance impropriety.   Giammattei was arrested and charged with crimes relating to killings of prison inmates by security forces while he was in charge of the prison system. 

Also on Sunday, party members of the FMLN in El Salvador participated in internal elections for new party leadership.   The old party leadership stepped aside following the left wing party's humiliating defeats in 2018 and 2019 elections.  Leading in the preliminary vote totals for secretary general of the FMLN is Oscar Ortiz, the country's vice president from 2014-2019. 

Ortiz has been linked in the past to organized crime figures, although never formally charged with anything.  In addition, he was the public face of the hard-line policing practices in the country during the Sanchez Ceren administration and was a leading proponent of "exceptional measures" in El Salvador's prisons to combat crime.  The exceptional measures and the tactics of security forces were criticized by many human rights groups. 

It takes more than elections alone to guarantee the absence of corruption or respect for human rights.