Guatemala’s Presidential Front Runner Jimmy Morales is a Former TV Comedian Known For Performing in Blackface

Lead Photo: AP Photo/Esteban Felix
AP Photo/Esteban Felix
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With Un presidente de a sombrero, Jimmy Morales may have prophesied his future. In his last movie, Morales ends up running for president and winning. Currently, the former comedian is one step closer to becoming Guatemala’s president. He received 24 percent of the vote on Sunday, but because he didn’t get the more than 50 percent of votes he needed, there will be a runoff in October. According to The Wall Street Journal, Morales has dreamt of being Guatemala’s president since 2004. “I started an emotional and spiritual journey,” he said. “It was an inner calling.” Although this has been a longtime goal for him, it hasn’t stopped him from insensitive sketches at the expense of minorities, and performing in blackface as Black Pitaya.

Not that blackface has ever been cool, but this footage is supposed to be from 2012 and not from the early 1900s. For Morales, blackface is not his only offense. Alba Cecilia Mérida, a human rights activist, said that electing Morales as president would be a “tragedy,” according to Efe. She called him a “racist comedian,” who makes fun of indigenous communities. She also said that he is “linked to the people of Otto Pérez Molina,” the former President who resigned in disgrace last week after news of La Línea scheme came to light.

The former president and other officials defrauded the government by sneaking goods into the country and underpaying fees and taxes. After Vice President Roxana Baldetti resigned, the people of Guatemala protested Pérez and his corrupt government. Eventually, there was a warrant out for Pérez’s arrest. He initially refused to resign, but quickly flipped, writing a letter to Congress saying it was time for him to “face justice and resolve my personal situation,” according to the New York Times.

Before the corruption scandal, Manuel Baldizon was expected to become the next president, according to The WSJ. Instead, Baldizon ended up fighting for second against former first lady Sandra Torres. The runoff election will take place on Oct. 25, but it may not be that easy for Morales, who has no political experience. In 2011, he ran for mayor for Mixco under the Acción de Desarrollo Nacional. He received more than 13,000 votes, but lost to Otto Pérez Leal of the Partido Patriota, who received more than 55,000 votes, Prensa Libre reports.

In August, a social media campaign directed at Morales told him that Guatemala is not just another joke.