OAS Adopts Declaration on Guatemala

Ambassador Mora gathers with fellow ambassadors to discuss the OAS declaration on the situation in Guatemala. (September 1, 2023)

Remarks by
Ambassador Francisco O. Mora
September 1, 2023

Thank you very much Chair. The United States thanks the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the General Secretariat for updates on the situation in Guatemala.  We also thank Chile for requesting this meeting on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, and my own government.  

I join my colleagues in welcoming and thanking the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Mr. Mario Búcaro, for his presence and participation for today.  It is important and timely that we convene today as the Guatemalan people continue to fight for democracy in their country.   

We again urge the Government of Guatemala to uphold its commitments under the Inter-American Democratic Charter and work toward a smooth and orderly transition of power in January of next year. 

With that said, on behalf of the United States, we once again congratulate Bernardo Arévalo on his election as the next president of Guatemala, as confirmed by the vote results certified on August 28.   

We salute the people of Guatemala for making their voices heard, and we applaud the many officials and volunteers whose dedication made these elections possible, including the OAS Electoral Observation Mission and the OAS Secretary General.    

We also value the ongoing monitoring work of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, which continues to provide useful updates on the state of civil and political rights in Guatemala. 

Nonetheless, Mr. Chair, the United States remains deeply concerned with continued actions by those who seek to undermine Guatemala’s democracy.   

Such anti-democratic behavior, including efforts by the Public Ministry and other corrupt actors to suspend the President-elect’s political party and intimidate election authorities, undercuts the clear will of the Guatemalan people and is inconsistent with the Inter-American Democratic Charter.   

Chair, we stand with our partners in the region and with the Guatemalan people against these attacks on democracy, especially the use of prosecutorial powers against those who seek transparency and accountability.   

Chair, it goes without saying that the United States and Guatemala enjoy deep bonds between our peoples and shared interests in democracy, security, inclusive economic prosperity, and, of course, human rights.  Cooperation between the United States and Guatemala improves the lives of citizens in both of our countries and the lives of all citizens throughout the Americas.     

With this in mind, we must all stand together with the people of Guatemala as OAS member states and continue to ensure that our collective commitments to uphold democracy under the Charter are met.   

We cannot stand aside and watch quietly while democracy erodes in our region.  Rather, we must urge action and continued, meaningful progress towards fulfilling the commitments expressed in the Charter, not only in Guatemala but across the Americas.   

Some 20 years later, the situation in Guatemala serves as yet another reminder of how important the actions we all took on September 11, 2001 to defend and uphold democracy are as relevant today as ever.  The Charter remains our guide, and this instrument is one of the most important commitments OAS member states have made in our long history of the Inter-American system.  It allows us to hold each other accountable when democracy is under attack.   

As we look around the region, Chair, we must ask the question whether we are willing to do what it takes to ensure democracies continue to deliver for their people, continue to thrive, and prosper.   

For this very reason, we must remain engaged on the situation in Guatemala and continue to receive updates from the Secretary General and the Mission until President-elect Arévalo takes office in January 2024.  We cannot allow corrupt actors to silence the voices of the Guatemalan people and render irrelevant their right to democracy under the Democratic Charter. 

We are very proud to have co-sponsored the Declaration adopted today and believe it is a sign of our democratic commitment to the people of Guatemala and lays the groundwork to support an orderly transition of power.  It urges all institutions of the State of Guatemala, including the legislative, executive and the judiciary, to respect and guarantee the civil and political rights of the Guatemalan people, as stated in the Declaration — consistent with domestic law and its commitments under the Democratic Charter and welcomes the upcoming visit of the OAS Secretary General.  

In conclusion, Mr. Chair, colleagues, the United States looks forward to working with Guatemala’s next president to further strengthen the U.S.-Guatemalan relationship, to protect and defend democracy in the Americas, and to move all of our countries toward a better future. 

Thank you, Chair.