CP/DEC. 80 (2446/23)
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN GUATEMALA
(Adopted by the Permanent Council at its special meeting, held on September 1, 2023)
THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,
RECALLING that Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter declares that “[t]he peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it;
EMPHASIZING how important it is for all Guatemalan political, social, and institutional actors to respect the rule of law in accordance with the Constitution, Guatemalan laws, the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and the related international treaties to which Guatemala is a state party;
WELCOMING the successful conclusion of the presidential run-off elections on August 20 and the exercise of the right to vote by all Guatemalans who went to the polls;
RECOGNIZING the contribution of the Executive Branch in making all its resources available to the electoral authorities for organizing the August 20, 2023 elections;
NOTING the Preliminary Report of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) for the runoff election, headed by former Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga and comprising 86 observers and specialists, which constitutes the twenty-second Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization deployed in Guatemala and whereby the Guatemalan people were congratulated for their civic commitment, which was reflected in an exemplary election day, as well as the effort and democratic commitment of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the competent electoral bodies;
NOTING, ALSO, that the second Preliminary Report of the EOM contains substantive findings and recommendations in all the specialties observed in both rounds and in which it recognizes, among others, the work of the Government of the Republic of Guatemala and of the security forces, which ensured smooth execution on Election Day and provided the Mission with full cooperation;
WELCOMING also Agreement 1659-2023 of the Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), dated August 28, 2023, containing the presidential run-off election results, declaring the validity of the presidential election and the ticket presented by the Movimiento Semilla political party as the winner, and declaring César Bernardo Arévalo de León and Karin Larissa Herrera Aguilar to be legally elected as President and Vice President, respectively, of the Republic of Guatemala;
CONCERNED, nonetheless, by the post-electoral actions of political actors and partisan forces, and by the continued litigation of the process and the practice of the Attorney General’s Office to intimidate elections authorities, as well as the action of the General Directorate of the Registry of Citizens which provisionally suspended the registration of the Movimiento Semilla party’s constitution, in an interpretation contrary to the principles of representative democracy;
CONCERNED ALSO by the persistent reports of acts of intimidation against members of Movimiento Semilla and their families, which led to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issuing precautionary measures;
RECOGNIZING the steps taken by the Government of Guatemala to protect the rights to life and personal safety of Cesar Bernardo Arévalo de León and Karin Herrera Aguilar;
MINDFUL that the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei Falla, has invited Secretary General Luis Almagro to return to Guatemala to attend the inauguration of President-elect Bernardo Arévalo; and
RECOGNIZING the express support given by the President-elect of Guatemala to the request by the Government of Guatemala for this Organization of American States to become engaged on the transition process in his country,
1. Its appeal to State of Guatemala institutions, including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, that they must respect and guarantee the civil and political rights of the Guatemalan people consistent with domestic law and their commitments under the Inter-American Democratic Charter regarding the separation of powers, and must abide by the obligation to protect civil and political rights established in Article 23 of the American Convention on Human Rights, so as to avoid interference in the presidential transition process.
2. That the separation of powers is essential for the exercise of democracy, and that the use of the legal system as a tool to intimidate and improperly suspend civil and political rights is not acceptable.
3. That all stakeholders in Guatemala, including all authorities, political parties, civil society, the military and security forces, and the general public, must act in accordance with the rule of law.
4. Its recognition of the commitment made by the Government of Guatemala, led by President Alejandro Giammattei Falla, to coordinate with the team that wins the election regarding the transition of government, culminating in the presidential inauguration to be held without delay on January 14, 2024, as well as the invitation for the OAS to observe the aforementioned process.
5. To request that the Secretary General, in response to the invitation extended by the Government of Guatemala for OAS observation of the transition process, present this Permanent Council with a proposal for a mission to enable execution of that undertaking.
6. Its acknowledgment of the invitation by the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei Falla, for the OAS Secretary General to return to Guatemala next week to witness the start of President-elect Arévalo’s presidential transition process.
7. It requests that, during his visit, the Secretary General resume high-level meetings with relevant stakeholders, particularly the Attorney General’s Office, underscoring the importance of the separation of powers, which is vital to the practice of democracy; and that the use of the legal system as a tool to intimidate and to improperly change election results is unacceptable.
8. It further requests the Secretary General to report to the Permanent Council on the outcomes of his visit as soon as possible.