Guatemala, Nov 18 (EFE) .- An effervescent wave of complaints on social networks in Guatemala, against the budget approved by the Guatemalan Congress for 2021, culminated this Wednesday with a call to demonstrate next Saturday by students, artists , activists and citizens.
The sit-in was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. local time on Saturday (8:00 p.m. GMT) after this Wednesday, at dawn, the Guatemalan Congress endorsed the state budget for 2021 amid accusations of opacity in the procedure.
Public figures such as rock singer Francisco Páez, DJ Francis Davila and chef Mirciny Moliviatis made a call to go out to the Plaza de la Constitución, in the heart of the Historic Center of Guatemala City, and demonstrate their rejection of the authorities.
In the same way, the Association of University Students (AEU) from the public university and also from the private Rafael Landívar University joined, upset by the approval of the new budget at the hands of the Government party, Vamos, of the local president, Alejandro Giammattei.
In the morning of this Wednesday, the students themselves and a group of citizens demonstrated in front of the main door of the Legislative Palace to criticize the 115 deputies who approved, hours before and at dawn, the 99.700 million quetzals (12.948 million dollars ) of the budget for 2021, which means 10 billion quetzals (1.3 billion dollars) more than in 2020.
The approval was criticized by the parliamentary opposition, who expressed their rejection of the “opacity” of the procedure, after hours and urgency, without room for discussions and analysis of spending. In addition, expenses for the fight against malnutrition were discounted, according to various sources.
Also, the vice president of the nation, Guillermo Castillo, who has held quarrels with President Giammattei, expressed his rejection of the budget legislation when pronouncing on his official Twitter account that the National Council for Food Safety (Conasan) “presented at the time the budget of each institution to combat malnutrition. I publicly asked the Congress of the Republic to expand it, not reduce it. Let us be consistent with this State objective. ”
The 200 million quetzals (almost 26,000 dollars) that should be assigned to Conasan were added at the last minute, in an amendment presented at dawn, to the Ministry of Social Development, designated by critics and financial experts as one of the state entities more inoperative.
In Guatemala, one out of every two children suffers from malnutrition according to official figures, and 59% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The opposition group Semilla also indicated through its communication channels that the new state budget reduces by 20 million quetzals (2.6 million dollars) the allocation to the Human Rights Ombudsman.
“We will not support the budget project for 2021 because it is the product of a pact that was sealed outside Congress,” added Semilla, who first came to Parliament in the 2019 elections at the hands of some civil figures in the anti-corruption fight undertaken. in the country in 2015.
Furthermore, according to a study released by the non-governmental organization of the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi), the “public spending” of the new budget “prioritizes the allocation to infrastructure, but neglects the population and their needs.”
The new approved budget will provide 63% of its funds for the operation of the Government, while another 20% will be for investment and 15% for the payment of debts.
(c) EFE Agency