Guatemala–United States relations

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Guatemala – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Guatemala and USA


United States

Guatemala – United States relations are bilateral relations between Guatemala and the United States. There is a U.S. Embassy in Guatemala located in Guatemala City. According to the US State Department, relations between the United States and Guatemala traditionally have been close, although at times strained by human-rights and civil/military issues.[1]

According to a global opinion poll, 82% of Guatemalans viewed the U.S. positively in 2002.[2] According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 41% of Guatemalans approve of U.S. leadership, with 16% disapproving and 43% uncertain.[3] In 2017, 67% of Guatemalans had either a "good" or "very good" perception of the United States, down from 80% in 2015.[4]

Country comparison[edit]

Guatemala Republic of Guatemala United States United States of America
Coat of Arms Coat of arms of Guatemala.svg Great Seal of the United States (obverse).svg
Flag Guatemala United States
Population 16,176,133 328,216,000
Area 108,889 km2 (42,042 sq mi) 9,820,630 km2 (3,791,770 sq mi)
Population Density 129/km2 (330/sq mi) 35/km2 (91/sq mi)
Capital Guatemala City Washington, D.C.
Largest City Guatemala City – 2,110,100 (4,500,000 Metro) New York City – 8,600,710 (19,006,798 Metro)
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic Federal presidential constitutional republic
First Leader Rafael Carrera George Washington
Current Leaders Jimmy Morales
Jafeth Cabrera
Donald Trump
Michael Pence
Official languages Spanish English (de facto, none at federal level)
GDP (nominal) US$68.389 billion ($4,101 per capita) US$16.245 trillion ($51,704 per capita)


U.S. policy objectives in Guatemala[edit]

The U.S. State Department lists policy objectives in Guatemala that include:

  • Supporting the institutionalization of democracy and implementation of the peace accords;
  • Encouraging respect for human rights and the rule of law, and implementation of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG);
  • Supporting broad-based economic growth and sustainable development and maintaining mutually beneficial trade and commercial relations, including ensuring that benefits of CAFTA-DR reach all sectors of the Guatemalan populace;
  • Cooperating to combat money laundering, corruption, narcotics trafficking, alien-smuggling, and other transnational crime; and
  • Supporting Central American integration through support for resolution of border/territorial disputes.[1]

On July 15, 2019, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales cancelled a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump after the Guatemala Supreme Court issued an injunction against a proposed deal concerning the Trump Administration's policy objective of limiting the number of Guatemalan migrants entering the United States of America.[5][6][7] Morales had been expected to sign the deal, which also sought to use Guatemala as a place where crossing Central American migrants had to apply for asylum before entering the U.S.,[5] under pressure from the U.S. government.[8][6]

U.S. support for Guatemala peace accords[edit]

The US State Department says that the United States, as a member of "the Friends of Guatemala," along with Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Norway, and Venezuela, played an important role in the UN-moderated peace accords, providing public and behind-the-scenes support. The U.S. strongly supports the six substantive and three procedural accords, which, along with the signing of the December 29, 1996 final accord, form the blueprint for profound political, economic, and social change. To that end, the U.S. Government has committed over $500 million to support peace implementation since 1997.[1]

U.S. Concerns[edit]

The US State Department notes that violent criminal activity continues to be a problem in Guatemala, including murder, rape, disappearances, and armed assaults against persons of all nationalities. In recent years the number of violent crimes reported by U.S. citizens has steadily increased, though the number of Americans traveling to Guatemala has also increased.[1] Under the administration of US President Donald Trump, the US government has also expressed about granting asylum to migrants from Guatemala and other Central American countries and has made efforts to use Guatemala to curb the number of US migrants from Central America.[8][5]

US aid to Guatemala[edit]

The US State Department says most U.S. assistance to Guatemala is provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) offices for Guatemala. USAID/Guatemala's current program builds on the gains of the peace process that followed the signing of the peace accords in December 1996, as well as on the achievements of its 1997–2004 peace program. The current program works to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives by focusing on Guatemala's potential as Central America's largest economy and trading partner of the United States, but also recognizes the country's lagging social indicators and high rate of poverty. The three areas of focus for USAID/Guatemala's program are modeled after the Millennium Challenge Account areas—ruling justly, economic freedom, and investing in people.[1]

US Embassy Staff[edit]

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials include:[1]

  • Ambassador--Luis E. Arreaga
  • Deputy Chief of Mission—David Hodge
  • Political and Economic Counselor—Drew Blakeney
  • Management Officer—Leo Hession
  • Defense Attache—Col. Humberto Rodriguez
  • Military Assistance Group—Col. Linda Gould
  • Consul General—John Lowell
  • Regional Security Officer—John Eustace
  • Public Affairs Officer—David J. Young
  • Drug Enforcement Administration—Michael O'Brien
  • Agricultural Attache—Robert Hoff
  • Commercial Attache—Patricia Wagner
  • USAID/G-CAP Director—Wayne Nilsestuen

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Background Note: Guatemala". US State Department. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  2. ^ Opinion of the United States Pew Research Center
  3. ^ U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets).

Further reading[edit]

  • Streeter, Stephen M. "Interpreting the 1954 US Intervention in Guatemala: Realist, Revisionist, and Postrevisionist Perspectives." History Teacher 34.1 (2000): 61-74. online

External links[edit]

Media related to Relations of Guatemala and the United States at Wikimedia Commons