First openly gay congressman in Guatemala says indigenous people are being erased from coronavirus prevention campaign

Aldo Dávila Guatemala congressman

Guatemala’s first openly gay and HIV-positive congressman has warned indigenous people are being erased from the country’s coronavirus prevention campaign.

Aldo Dávila accused Guatemala’s health department of putting indigenous communities at risk by its use of language.

“There has been no campaign [of coronavirus prevention] in indigenous languages,” he said in a livestream.

He also pointed out that the entire campaign took place online, leaving those without internet access unable to get information.

“How are we reaching people without smartphones?” he asked.

Dávila, 41, is a politician and activist who was elected to Congress in Guatemala in the country’s June 2019 general election.

He has become known for fighting for marginalised communities, and at the time of his election last year he said: “I’m happy, with a lot of mixed feelings. The worry is I’m putting myself in a snake pit. But at the same time I’m no slouch, and I’m ready and able to fight when it needs to be done.”

LGBT+ groups congratulate Guatemalan congressman Aldo Dávila.

The Victory Institute, an organisation dedicated to elevated LGBT+ leaders, congratulated Dávila on his speech

“Congressman Dávila’s strength highlights the importance of LGBTQ representation in elected office,” a statement said.

“The more LGBTQ leaders that get elected, the more activists in legislative bodies can stand up for LGBTQ populations both in Congress and across each nation.”

Homosexuality has been legal in Guatemala since 1871 but LGBT+ people are not protected by discrimination laws. There is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Guatemala.

Having strong LGBT+ representation in politics became even more important in the wake of last year’s presidential election, which saw Alejandro Giammattei become leader of the country. 

Giammattei is staunchly against LGBT+ rights and same-sex marriage.

When asked in 2015 about same-sex marriage, he replied: “There is so much to solve in Guatemala that entering into that is counterproductive, that it is approved elsewhere does not mean that it is done here,” Prensa Libre reported.