In 2016, 2017 and 2019 I collaborated with Jennifer Burrell and Fernando Ramiro Calmo on a research project in Guatemala. This article is part of JLACA’s special anniversary issue on Generations, coedited by Jennifer Burrell and Ellen Moodie.
This article takes anticorruption activism as a starting point for analyzing how young activists unequally experience the inequalities produced by corruption, as well as the bureaucratic and financial weight of anticorruption and audit culture. Against the backdrop of Guatemala’s now‐defunct pioneering anticorruption commission, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), we utilize the concept of the anti/corruption continuum to analyze the contradictory positions of young people fighting against and depending on corruption for their economic survival. Gender, age, and class dynamics and young people’s economic precarity make clientelism difficult to avoid and often curtail participation in movements for change. While most discussions of the CICIG’s work focus on the national level, this is a unique view on how national‐level politics reverberated locally in a Mayan community.