Guatemala has experienced sustained democratic backsliding, including the manipulation of the 2023 electoral playing field. Yet, against the odds, Guatemalan citizens defied the ruling regime’s electoral authoritarian strategy, voting an anticorruption reformer into power. This article analyzes Guatemala’s (anti)democratic trajectory and explains how opposition actors resisted further backsliding during the 2023 electoral process. The authors argue that the Guatemalan regime reflects a “criminal oligarchy,” and examine how rule-of-law advances prompted elite backlash that eviscerated democratic institutions. The unexpected 2023 electoral outcome, however, illustrates the possibilities of exploiting fissures in the criminal-oligarchic coalition to arrest authoritarian consolidation.