Senior US officials met Guatemalan President-elect Arevalo in Washington

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Senior officials of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan, met Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arevalo in Washington on Tuesday, following concerns that Guatemalan authorities have been trying to undermine the transfer of power to Arevalo.


The United States has expressed “grave concern” over what it regards as “continued efforts to undermine Guatemala’s peaceful transition of power” and has imposed visa restrictions on those who it sees as undermining democracy.

Arevalo, a 64-year-old anti-graft crusader, recorded a landslide win in August and is due to take office in January. He has repeatedly complained of a “coup d’état” and persecution by prosecutors against him and his party, Movimiento Semilla.


The American officials expressed the U.S. government’s support for Arevalo “following last week’s undemocratic efforts to undermine the will of the Guatemalan people, intimidate election authorities, and prevent the peaceful transition of power,” the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Sullivan conveyed the U.S. government’s commitment to continue to work with international partners to support the smooth transition of power in Guatemala, and to use all available tools to hold accountable those who undermine democracy in Guatemala.”


Guatemala’s Public Ministry raided the Supreme Electoral Tribunal on Friday for at least 20 hours to seize boxes holding tabulations from election voting. It has alleged party registration flaws that Semilla denies.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva has said the events raise concerns about the rule of law, while the Organization of American States has warned of constitutional violations.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Cynthia Osterman)

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