- Jimmy Morales was elected amidst a political crisis in Guatemala. What could change with regard to the U.S. relationship with Guatemala given the new leader?
The United States will always be a strong partner to the people of Guatemala. We are invested in your success. This has been an incredibly turbulent time for Guatemala, but I believe President Morales’ election represents the desire of the people of Guatemala for a better future for themselves and their families. So this is a moment of opportunity—a chance to continue strengthening the relationship between our two nations and to work together to deliver results for the Guatemalan people.
The United States wants to see a Guatemala where people feel safe in their homes and where anyone can advance as far as hard work and their dreams can carry them. The nations of Central America can be the next great example of the rapid rise of our hemisphere. And that’s not just good for people in the region—it’s in all our interests.
Of course, great challenges lie ahead—urgent challenges that require difficult decisions. But as I told President Morales in our meeting this week—as long as he remains committed to advancing the types of reforms he ran and won election on, the United States will continue to stand with Guatemala.
That’s why it was important to me to lead the U.S. delegation to President Morales’ inauguration and to bring with me members of our Congress. I wanted to demonstrate the personal commitment of our administration and the broad support that exists in the United States for the people of Guatemala and our shared future.
- You have made regular visits to Guatemala, how have you assessed Guatemala's biggest challenges? Do you see progress or regression?
This is my third visit to Guatemala in the past two years, and I’ve seen progress each time—from creating the Alliance for Progress to coming together to stem the flow of migrants to the United States. I’ve seen the people of the region step up and take responsibility for their own future. This third trip came about, in no small part, because the Guatemalan people made it clear that they will no longer tolerate corruption. They want greater transparency. They want their leaders to be held accountable.
So progress has been made, but that doesn’t diminish the scale of the problems Guatemala faces. Too many people are living in deep poverty—particularly in the Western Highland. Too many people are struggling to feed their families, and it’s only made worse by the ongoing drought. Too many people still don’t feel like the possibility for a better life here in Guatemala is real. And increasing numbers of migrants, including unaccompanied children and families, are embarking on the dangerous journey to the United States. More needs to be done—and as I said, the United States will continue to help Guatemala make progress on all these issues, including by supporting your Alliance for Prosperity plan.