Challenging Guatemala’s Peaceful Transition
In a significant move, the United States has taken a firm stance against the ongoing efforts to disrupt the peaceful transition of power in Guatemala to President-elect Arévalo. These actions have raised concerns as they challenge democratic processes and the rule of law.
Troubling Incidents Unfold
The most recent incident involved the Guatemalan Public Ministry seizing electoral materials that were under the custody of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).
Additionally, the authorities called for the forced removal of peaceful protestors and pressed for the removal of the Minister of Governance, who had been protecting the right to peaceful protest. These actions also included an attempt to lift the immunity of a member of Congress who had publicly expressed concerns about these anti-democratic measures.
Ongoing Anti-Democratic Behavior
These actions do not stand alone. Prior to this, individuals made attempts to strip TSE officials of their immunity. They carried out raids on their offices and storage facilities where election results records were stored. This consistent anti-democratic behavior has fueled a growing concern about the health of Guatemala’s democratic institutions.
A Call for Respect to Democratic Principles
The actions in question are considered inconsistent with the principles outlined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Regional and international bodies, including the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, share this concern.
These organizations have joined forces in urging a transfer of power in Guatemala that respects the popular will and adheres to the rule of law.
The United States Stands for Democracy
The United States has made its position clear, standing in solidarity with those who aim to protect democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala. In line with Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the U.S. government is taking action by imposing visa restrictions on more than a dozen individuals, as well as their immediate family members.
We are aiming these restrictions at individuals, including officials from the Public Ministry and other public and private sector actors, actively involved in undermining democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala.
The People’s Voice Must Prevail
The United States underlines the importance of respecting the voices of the Guatemalan people. We should uphold the democratic will of the people and ensure the nation progresses with a firm commitment to democratic values and the rule of law.