Guatemala City, 16 January 2024 (TDI): The US has welcomed and congratulated the new President of Guatemala. On January 15, in a ceremony in the Banderas Hall, newly elected President Bernardo Arevalo and Vice President Karin Herrera participated in the swearing-in of the Government Cabinet of Guatemala for 2024-2028.
The USAID Administrator Samantha Powers visited President Bernardo Arevalo on his first day in office. She issued a written statement that said, “Great to meet the President to congratulate him and reiterate the US commitment to partnering with his Administration to deliver for the Guatemalan people.”
In response, President Arevalo released a written statement and said, “We met with the US delegation led by Samantha Power. We discussed how to promote and strengthen relations between our countries to seek the benefit of our people.”
President Arevalo and Vice President Herrera thanked the ancestral leaders who spent 106 days of resistance for their brave fight for democracy. Moreover, the President exclaimed that the administration is going to work for Guatemala and improve its quality of life.
In addition, the President claimed that he was proud to command the Guatemalan Army. It is an organization that is a reflection of the Guatemalan people, portraying its diversity and ethnic plurality.
Reportedly, the US, the EU, and multiple leaders in Latin America had staunch support behind President Arevalo who is a sociologist and a former diplomat.
US Support for Guatemala
According to reports, Washington backed the Guatemalan military during a long and brutal civil war in the 1980s. The dictator was later convicted of genocide for trying to exterminate the Mayan Indian people. In 1954, the CIA engineered a coup that toppled a popular and democratically elected president, Jacob Arbenz.
The US had imposed sanctions on Miguel Martinez who is one of the closest allies of the previously departing president, Alejandro Giammattei over bribery schemes.
Moreover, the US authorities imposed visa restrictions on nearly 300 Guatemalans in December 2023. This included 100 members of Congress blaming them for underscoring democracy and the rule of law.
The Head of Citizen Action Manfredo Marroquin said, “The Americans are like insurance: there in times of crisis.”
President Arevalo’s Inauguration Speech
The President in his first speech swore to rescue his country from corruption and immunity. Moreover, while standing firmly against authoritarian forces. He reiterated that we are facing new authoritarian threats such as corrupt cooperation of state institutions with criminal groups.
In addition, the President said, “These criminal groups exploit democratic appearance to betray principles of freedom, equity, and justice.”
The US Vice President Kamala Harris issued a written statement that said, “Congratulations and I look forward to welcoming President Arevalo to Washington in the coming months.” She further added, “The aim is to work together on addressing the root causes of migration and making progress on private sector investments in Guatemala.”
The USAID Administrator Samantha Power met with Labor Minister Miriam Roquel and stated that her role in the cabinet is incredibly important. She also said that she represents the indigenous people of Guatemala. Furthermore, she said, “The US has the Labor Minister’s back as she works to create new job opportunities for all Guatemalans.
The inauguration ceremony was expected to take place over the weekend. However, it was delayed after interruption by an orchestrated coup d’etat. The Guatemalan Congress announced that the coup plotters of a group known as Pacto de Corruptos had failed in their objective.
Reportedly, the Secretary General of the Organization of the American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, read a statement that called for the Congress of Guatemala to fulfill its mandate to hand over power as required by the constitution.