|38th President of Guatemala|
14 January 2016
|Vice President||Jafeth Cabrera|
|Preceded by||Alejandro Maldonado (Acting)|
|Born||James Ernesto Morales Cabrera
18 March 1969
Guatemala City, Guatemala
|Political party||National Convergence Front|
|Spouse(s)||Hilda Patricia Morales|
|Alma mater||University of San Carlos of Guatemala|
Life and career of Morales
Morales was born in Guatemala City. He comes from a poor family and is an Evangelical Christian. He holds degrees in Business Administration from the national Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and in theology.
Morales rose to fame as a TV comedian, starring in the series Moralejas (“Morals”) alongside his brother Sammy. He formally changed his name from James Ernesto Morales Cabrera to Jimmy Morales by deed poll in 2011. In 2011, he ran as mayoral candidate in Mixco for the small right-wing Action for National Development party. In 2013, he joined the small National Convergence Front (FCN/Nation) and became its secretary-general.
2015 was the year that he was nominated as the FCN’s presidential candidate. He was initially considered an outsider but surprisingly finished first in the first round of the election, qualifying for the runoff. He runs on a platform of conservative values and against corruption. His slogan is “Neither corrupt nor a thief” (Ni corrupto, ni ladrón). He identifies as a nationalist,supports the death penalty and opposes abortion. Moreover, he denies that a genocide against the Ixil Maya took place. Morales’ success came after both former vice president Roxana Baldetti and outgoing president Otto Pérez Molina had to step down and were arrested on fraud and corruption charges (La Linea corruption case).,
Morales’ success was viewed as a sign of the distrust of many Guatemalans towards the traditional political elite that ruled the country for decades. Voter anger and military support helped the former comedian win the presidency against more experienced politicians who voters felt were tainted by a corrupt political system.
Morales is married and has four children.
Comments on Belize
When Morales was running for president, a Guatemalan journalist asked Morales which Guatemalan historical event he thinks is the most deplorable. Morales responded, “The most deplorable event – among all the things that have happened in Guatemala, there are certain things that are not spoken about and which I believe we should. Everything that goes contrary to national unity and territorial integrity are things that should hurt us. Something is happening right now, we are about to lose Belize. We have not lost it yet. We still have the possibility of going to the International Court of Justice where we can fight that territory or part of that territory. … I think that it is worth anything that is natural resources and of benefit to the nation.”
In response, Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow said, “Let’s wait and see. I don’t know that he will necessarily win. We will deal with what happens when it happens. Look, he’s made at least one statement that is troubling, but I am hoping that if he does win the Guatemalan foreign policy establishment, the Guatemalan political elite and certainly the international community will make absolutely clear to that gentleman that any notion of pursuing their claim in a way that is disruptive of the good relations between Belize and Guatemala, that is threatening to Belize simply will not be tolerated. So, I am sure that we will be able to deal with that situation if and when it occurs.”
Defense Minister Williams Mansilla confirmed on 22 April 2016 the deployment of 3,000 soldiers to the Guatemalan border with Belize after a shooting incident on Belize territory with army weapons had resulted in the death of a 13-year-old boy and the wounding of his 11-year-old brother as well as their 48-year-old father.