Brazil’s President Lula da Silva has warned the United Nations of a possible coup attempt in Guatemala, where the winner of the August presidential election faces legal challenges and intimidation from the outgoing government.
Lula da Silva, who spoke at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, expressed his concern that the democratic will of the Guatemalan people could be undermined by a coup that would prevent the inauguration of President-elect Bernardo Arevalo, who ran on an anti-corruption platform.
“In Guatemala, there is a risk of a coup, which would impede the inauguration of the winner of democratic elections,” Lula da Silva said.
Arevalo and his party, the Seed Movement, have been targeted by prosecutors under Attorney General María Consuelo Porras, who allege irregularities in the party’s registration ahead of the vote.
Last week, prosecutors raided electoral facilities and opened sealed ballots from the election, in which Arevalo won by a landslide. The raid was condemned by international observers and civil society groups as an attack on the rule of law and electoral integrity.
The U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, Francisco Mora, also voiced his alarm over the situation in Guatemala and urged the authorities to respect the election results and end their “intimidation efforts” against election officials and members of Arevalo’s party. Mora called the raid “an assault on the rule of law”