The first act in foreign policy of the new president of Guatemala was the "definitive rupture" of relations with the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro.
President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei. / Photo: twitter.com/DrGiammattei
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
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Leer en español: Guatemala rompe relaciones con Venezuela
Alejandro Giammattei took office on January 14 and one of his first actions as president of Guatemala was to announce that his country would not continue to have relations with Venezuela. The president said he will definitely close the Venezuelan embassy in the country.
Relations between the two countries were already at a breaking point, as the government of the previous president, Jimmy Morales, had already expressed his full support for the interim president, Juan Guaidó, and recognized him as sovereign in Venezuela. However, relations had not come apart at all until the last appearance of Giammattei.
The news was given in a visit he received from Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), who has been a strong spokesman for the fight against the dictatorship in Venezuela and has repeatedly supported Guaido. During the visit, Alejandro Giammattei said that his foreign minister, Pedro Bolo, had orders to send the only person left at the embassy to return to Venezuela and thus proceed to the final closure.
Already in 2018, Jimmy Morales had asked the Venezuelan embassy in Guatemala to withdraw its trades, but the final closure had not been achieved. On this occasion, the government had requested the withdrawal of Ambassador Elena Salcedo for her "interference" in internal affairs of the country.
During Almagro's visit, other topics related to foreign relations were also discussed, where Giammattei also spoke about the participation of Guatemala in the Lima Group, a group created in 2017 by Latin American countries to democratically solve the situation in Venezuela .
Tensions between the two countries were already latent given Morales's previous decision to recognize Juan Guaidó, so it was hardly expected that the new president would make a decision of such magnitude.
Giammattei, a politician with a conservative and right-wing career, had referred to these relations both in his presidential campaign and after being elected. Likewise, during his campaign he had mentioned that there would be a change in Guatemala's relations with other countries, suggesting that there would be a shift in foreign policies, Venezuela being one of the countries with which there would be more changes.
In the months that followed the triumph of the current president, in October 2019, he once tried to enter Venezuela with his Italian passport, which the authorities prevented him from entering because he did not have the documents of his country.
A Venezuelan delegation attended the presidency of the current Guatemalan president in representation of the president in charge, Juan Guaidó.
The government of Nicolás Maduro immediately rejected Giammattei's decision. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the Guatemalan president "has launched at the feet of Donald Trump immediately" and mentioned that his government would become a "joke in bad taste." Despite the message against the president, he reiterated his respect for the Guatemalan people.
El ciudadano italiano que Preside la hermana República de Guatemala se ha lanzado a los pies de Donald Trump de inmediato. Con certeza su gobierno se convertirá en otro chiste de mal gusto que veremos pasar y secarse. Nuestro respeto y afecto al digno pueblo guatemalteco. https://t.co/2tPjEtE4SJ— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) January 16, 2020