United States’ Permanent Representative
Ambassador Frank Mora
Remarks before the Special Permanent Council Meeting
July 26, 2023
Thank you, Madam Chair, for convening this special session of the Permanent Council. It is unfortunate that we are here again today to discuss the on-going political situation in Guatemala.
While we continue to hold out hope that Guatemalan state institutions will do the right thing and respect the voices of the Guatemalan people, we remain concerned by recent developments indicating the contrary.
The Public Ministry has threatened the integrity of the election process:
- By attempting to revoke the legal status of the Semilla political party amidst the election process and also raiding the party’s offices;
- by raiding the offices of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal following its decision to certify the results of the first round of the elections in Guatemala; and
- by seeking criminal penalties against the Director of the TSE’s Citizen Registry for his refusal to execute an order to revoke the Semilla party’s legal status. These actions are unacceptable and constitute a direct threat to Guatemala’s democracy by attempting to undermine the will of the voters.
We welcome the presentations made today on the current state of affairs by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the chief of the OAS electoral observation mission to Guatemala, and the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.
We fully concur and join in all their call to the Guatemalan government to let the Guatemalan peoples’ voices be heard and stop any election inference. In doing so, we are mindful of our sacred commitment as a hemisphere to democracy, a commitment that is embodied in the Inter American Democratic Charter and one we all signed on to over 20 years ago.
As we were just informed, we are grateful that the government of Guatemala has invited Secretary General Almagro to visit Guatemala in the coming days. We congratulate and welcome this invitation, and hope that this visit can take place quickly, and look forward to hearing from the Secretary General upon his return.
Colleagues, Chair — Democracy will prevail in Guatemala if the political process is allowed to move forward unhindered. We know that the pursuit of a stronger, freer, more democratic future is shared by all the people of the Americas, including the Guatemalans.
As we all know, the OAS remains the most important multilateral organization in the Western Hemisphere and has a long, proud history of supporting democratic development for all the nations in the Americas. This reflects our collective stake in strengthening state institutions and addressing threats to democratic governance.
It is also why OAS member states must stand up in this body to preserve our region’s proud legacy of inclusive and democratic development. It is incumbent on us all to defend the rights of the Guatemalan persons when democracy is at risk.
Madam Chair, the region and the international community must stand together in solidarity with the Guatemalan people — in support of their individual right to free and fair elections. This is a core tenet of functional and accountable governance.
To this end, the United States is proud to be one of the co-sponsors of a resolution circulated yesterday to all OAS member states that calls on the government of Guatemala to uphold its commitments under the Democratic Charter.
This resolution makes clear that OAS member states will reject any and all attempts to undermine the democratic process by the current government of Guatemala.
We agree with the distinguished Ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda that this resolution be, for now, tabled, until such time of the Secretary General’s visit to Guatemala and his report back to this body.
In the end, Chair, Member states must remain engaged on the situation in Guatemala. The United States will continue to do our part and to stand up for democracy wherever it faces threats.
Thank you, Madam Chair.