Going beyond information...

Gutemala Visible (GV) is so far a very interesting project, but it is still some steps back from its real potental. The fact that GV calls for the participation of citizens, urging them to be better informed, to share information and to discuss political campaigns of this kind is a very practical way to work in one of the most common issues in Latin American politics: a well informed decision beyond deafening political campaigns.

The fact that GV has already a website in which people can find information about the candidates and participate is important, but is just the beginning. Having already a virtual point that has been used by people serves as a bridge and can build a stronger attachment. As it has happened in so many parts of the world, the apathy and misinformation of people permitted money and political influence a secure way to the election of public offices. Nevertheless, this is not a problem that could be solved in few years or with the work of just one group, but efforts like Guatemala Visible sure sure represent a very interesting beginning. This is why the project needs to explore, to expand and to promote not only discussion and mere information, but also encourage a critical opinion around what is being offered by the candidates. Guatemala Visible has also the potential of be a axe of dialogue and citizen education, and to advocate for the equality in the access to technology.

Few things in a country's life are more complex (and complicated) than the construction and implementation of laws. If there's already a virtual place that has started the conversation, why stopping there ? They already have attachment with multiple organizations and this could also facilitate organizing and publishing surveys, for example. What about videos with experts, professors, journalists, people with questions, or explanations with simple words about what it needs to be achieved and what it's being offered ? An idea close to this seems to be already on the table with universities' links on the site. There could also be be an online collaborative library with helpful documents and illustrative videos. Encouraging informed vote starts with critical thought, far from campaigns pointing who's “good” or “bad”. The perfect candidate doesn't exist. What is ideal in this case is a better comprehension of the problems happening at the moment and its causes, as well as seeing who has the proposals that respond as accurately as possible to those needs, far beyond the promises and the reassurance of a candidate that guarantees his or her honesty and will to work. Those are basic conditions, not advantages.

There's a need to see from close what the concrete approaches are and the consequences of the strategies might be in daily life. This is also linked to a better understanding of the most important needs of the country and the origins of these. A view to the past, a call to independent thought, a better understanding of civic participation should also be part of the objectives of this project. If the website uses its tools just to inform about the candidates and their intentions they risk to be part of political campaigns. One of the real values of this project is its immense possibility of divulgation and the encouraging of citizens to be part of a collective exercise of thought, and it should go for it.


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