US Restricts Visas for Hundreds of Lawmakers and Other Leaders in Guatemala

The United States has recently implemented visa restrictions on nearly 300 Guatemalan lawmakers, other leaders, and their families. This action is in response to accusations of these individuals undermining democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala. The targeted group includes 100 members of Guatemala’s Congress, along with private sector leaders and their families.

This move follows concerns about attempts to obstruct President-elect Bernardo Arevalo from assuming office. Arevalo, who won a run-off election in August with his Seed Movement party, has faced challenges from Guatemalan authorities, including the arrest of party members and efforts to investigate Arevalo by lifting his immunity.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller highlighted these actions as part of a series of anti-democratic measures in Guatemala. He emphasized the need to respect the voices of the Guatemalan people.

Complicating matters, Guatemalan prosecutors claimed last week that the run-off election results were void due to irregularities. However, this claim is contested by international groups like the Organization of American States and the European Union.

These organizations, having observed the election, confirmed its adherence to democratic standards and supported Arevalo, viewing the prosecutors’ claims as an attempt to prevent him from taking office.

In addition to the U.S. visa restrictions, the European Union, through its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, is considering sanctions against those involved in disputing the election results​​.

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