Speeches and other documents by the Secretary General


December 4, 2023 - Washington, DC


Taking as reference the last report of November 15, 2023, the judicialization of politics in Guatemala continues to be an inexplicable constant that affects the long transition process that should unwaveringly lead President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and Vice President-elect Karina Herrera to take office on January 14, 2024.

The President-elect and his presidential running mate, Karin Herrera, continue to face an obstacle course of judicial decisions that threaten the broad mandate granted to them by the Guatemalan citizenry in this year's presidential elections.

The judicial decisions are at odds with President Alejandro Giammattei's public commitment to respect the transfer of power on January 14, 2024 to the elected presidential ticket.


The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) continues to bring cases from the past to affect the political transition. Such is the case of the alleged anomalies in the process of creation of President-elect Bernardo Arévalo's Seed Movement Party; and in the most recent case, the so-called a) "Case of the Taking of the USAC", when on November 16, 2023, the Public Prosecutor's Office announced the requests for the withdrawal of immunity against the elected presidential ticket. Prosecutor Saúl Sánchez, head of the Prosecutor's Office for Crimes against Cultural Heritage said that both were involved in an alleged illicit association that was behind the seizure of the University of San Carlos (USAC), a protest that began on April 27, 2022 and lasted until June 2023. November 16 was also the day that the Public Prosecutor's Office arrested activist and former candidate for Congress for the Movimiento Semilla party, Marcela Blanco; student Javier de León; sociologist Eduardo Velasquez; Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the USAC Rodolfo Chang; Professor of the Faculty of Engineering of the USAC Alfredo Beber; and union member and USAC worker Martin Jorge Macario. All were charged with depredation of cultural patrimony, usurpation, sedition and illicit association, this latter crime contained in the Law against Organized Crime. There were 27 arrest warrants and 31 raids. Subsequently, after three days of hearings, Judge Victor Cruz accepted only two of the four offenses charging the six detainees with depredation of cultural heritage and usurpation, giving the Public Prosecutor's Office six months to investigate and house arrest for the accused, subject to a financial bond. Using the same case file, the Public Prosecutor's Office opened pretrial proceedings against Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera, with the clear intention of preventing them from taking office.

a) Supreme Electoral Tribunal case (TSE)

It is worth remembering once again that on October 31, 2023, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) concluded the electoral process period, officially declaring that the results of the June 25 and August 20, 2023 elections were final and "unalterable". Two factors are significant in safeguarding the transition process in Guatemala: this conclusion of the electoral process on October 31 and the decision of the Constitutional Court of October 7, 2023, which stipulates that "in order to guarantee the effective and timely inauguration and exercise of the offices by the officials elected by universal suffrage in the present electoral year, the authorities within the scope of their functions shall perform all necessary and pertinent acts and refrain from any action or omission to the contrary, in order to guarantee the effective inauguration on January 14, 2024."

The plenary of magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) resolved on Tuesday, November 7, to process the withdrawal of immunity presented by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) against the magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), for alleged anomalies in the acquisition of the system for Transmission of Preliminary Electoral Results (TREP).

The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP), in a press release, indicated that the crime of abuse of authority may have been committed because “allegedly in their capacity as magistrates of the TSE they abused their position by having signed the administrative contract for the TREP computer program, both at the time of its awarding and at the time the contract was signed.”

On Wednesday, November 29, the investigative committee of the Congress of the Republic, with 3 votes in favor and 2 against, recommended that the plenary of the Congress remove the immunity of four Magistrates of the TSE because of the purchase of the TREP, which cost 148 million Quetzales. It is worth mentioning that the President of this committee, Deputy Julio Enrique Montano Méndez, publicly stated that, "the pre-trial proceeding against the magistrates of the TSE generated doubts, and explained that such legal actions could have the intention of preventing Bernardo Arévalo, President-elect, from taking office on January 14, 2024, as established in the Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala".

Last November 30, at the stroke of midnight and after two attempts, the deputies of the Congress of the Republic reached the minimum 107 votes to remove the immunity of four magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). Minutes before the end of the ordinary period of that legislature, 108 deputies voted in favor of removing the immunity of TSE magistrates Irma Palencia, Mynor Franco, Ranulfo Rojas, and Gabriel Aguilera. Of those votes, 62% corresponded to deputies who had not been reelected for the next legislature. Subsequently, it was publicly known that these TSE Magistrates left the country and the current President of the TSE, Magistrate Blanca Alfaro, who was provisionally protected by the Constitutional Court from this impeachment and will continue in her position, assured that "the TSE will not be able to make decisions with the alternates, nor does it have the money to cover the payroll".

b) Case of the General Budget for Revenues and Expenditures 2024

Regarding the General Budget of Revenues and Expenditures 2024, approved by Congress last November 30, close to midnight, sectors and organizations are calling on President Giammattei to veto this budget. President-elect Bernardo Arévalo, warned that "it would complicate the execution of resources in 2024, in addition to generating pockets of corruption". Moreover, in a communiqué dated December 1, 2023, he addresses President Alejandro Giammattei, pointing out that "he should veto the budget, and show his interest in a fair and transparent transition process, for the benefit of the people of Guatemala". Similarly, the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF), issued a statement on December 2, urging to "correct errors in the approved budget". For their part, the Ancestral Authorities indicated that "In this urgent moment for the country's history, we issue the pressing request to President Alejandro Giammattei: to veto the budget for 2024".

c) Vice President Guillermo Castillo Case

At the end of July 2020, the Supreme Court of Justice admitted for processing the pre-trial proceeding brought against Vice President Guillermo Castillo, by attorney Nimrod Israel Estévez González. Coinciding with the pre-trial proceedings brought against the magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), on Tuesday, November 28 of this year, the investigative committee of the Congress of the Republic, which is hearing the pre-trial proceedings against the Vice President, Guillermo Castillo, began to hold hearings of the parties involved. However, the lawyer who had brought up the alleged anomalies in an appointment made in the National Secretariat for the Administration of Asset Forfeiture (Senabed), decided to withdraw the complaint. The investigative committee that analyzes the pre-trial proceeding against the Vice President of Guatemala, Guillermo Castillo, will resume its activities until January 9, 2024.


As of October 4, 2023, when the meetings to transfer sectorial information within the framework of the Government Transition 2023-2024 were restarted, they were held in due time and form, with the best attitude of cooperation between the parties. The stage for meetings scheduled with the 14 ministries, secretariats, and the Bank of Guatemala, concluded last Monday, November 27, and are the subject of the "Government Transition Report presided by the President of the Republic, Dr. Alejandro Giammattei, which will be delivered in a ceremony to be held on December 6, 2023, at 3:00 p.m., at the National Palace of Culture, in Guatemala City", an event to which I have been invited by the Government of Guatemala, through the Chancellor Mario Búcaro, to accompany this presentation.

It is worth mentioning that this process of transferring sectoral information, ordered by President Alejandro Giammattei and prepared at the technical level by the General Secretariat of Planning (SEGEPLAN), has been carried out in an orderly manner and with continuous public information on its progress, its methodology being a reference model for future transition processes. At the institutional level, the participation of all ministers, vice ministers, secretaries, undersecretaries, and those other decentralized and autonomous institutions that were also part of this process was noteworthy.

In the words of the Coordinator of the Presidential Commission, and Minister of Labor, Rafael Rodriguez, during the press conference on December 1, he emphasized that: "The results have been positive and that is what we consider and we believe and have received this from the other side, and we have also received the feedback from the Missions sent by Secretary Almagro and, of course, we are thankful to Ambassador Diego Paz who has participated in literally all the meetings that have been held in response to the request for observation". On this occasion I would also like to present my congratulations and thanks to Ambassador Diego Paz.

The Committees for the Transfer of Sectorial Information in the framework of the Government Transition 2023-2024, have been conformed as follows: a) Presidential Committee for the Transition: Coordinator and Minister of Labor, Rafael Rodríguez; Secretary General of the Presidency, María Consuelo Ramírez; Private Secretary of the President of the Republic, Geovanna Estrada; Secretary of Planning and Programming of the Presidency, Keila Gramajo Vilchez; Secretary of Social Communication of the Presidency, Kevin López; b) Commission of the elected government for the Transition: on behalf of the President-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, comprising Dra. Karin Herrera, as coordinator, accompanied by José Carlos Sanabria, Jonatan Menkos, Juan Gerardo Guerrero, Cristian Espinoza, Abelardo Pinto, Ambassadors Carlos Ramiro Martínez, and Eduardo Hernandez, among others.

The meetings of the Government Transition 2023-2024 have been held normally. [1) On October 10, 2023, Ministry of Culture and Sports; 2) On October 11, 2023, Ministry of Energy and Mines; 3) On October 11, 2023, Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing; 4) On October 16, 2023, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare; 5) On October 16, 2023, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; 6) On October 18, 2023, Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance; 7) On October 18, 2023, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; 8) On October 23, 2023, Bank of Guatemala; 9) On October 23, 2023, Ministry of Public Finance; 10) On October 24, 2023, Ministry of Education; 11) On October 25, 2023, Ministry of Social Development; 12) On October 26, 2023, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food; 13) On October 30, 2023, at the Secretariat of Planning and Programming of the Presidency; 14) On October 30, 2023, Secretariat of Administrative and Security Affairs of the Presidency of the Republic; 15) On October 31, 2023, Ministry of Economy; 16) On November 6, 2023, General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic; 17) On November 6, 2023, Presidential Secretariat for Women; 18) On November 7, 2023, Secretariat of Social Welfare of the Presidency; 19) On November 8, 2023, Secretariat of Executive Coordination of the Presidency; 20) On November 8, 2023, Secretariat of Social Communication of the Presidency; 21) On November 13, 2023, Secretariat of Social Works of the President's Wife; 22) On November 21, 2023, Ministry of Defense; 23) On November 22, 2023, Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security of the Presidency of the Republic; 24) On November 24 and 27, 2023, Ministry of the Interior.]

In the case of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it should be noted that, within this framework, the two committees have coordinated the "Ceremony of Transfer of Presidential Command of Mr. César Bernardo Arévalo de León, who will be invested as Constitutional President of the Republic of Guatemala for the period 2024-2028", to be held on January 14, 2024, in Guatemala City. The respective invitations are being sent to their respective recipients by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The transition and mediation missions continued to visit Guatemala at the invitation of the Government of Guatemala, and the OAS General Secretariat continues with its Transition and Mediation Missions, which serve to strengthen and preserve the democratic system in Guatemala as indicated in the instruments of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and the OAS Charter. Within this framework and following up on the above mentioned events, especially the one related to the "USAC Takeover Case", from November 17 to 24, the last visit of these Missions took place, formed by: Isabel de Saint Malo, Liliana Ayalde, Luis Rosadilla, and Diego Paz, who attended several meetings with government authorities, members of civil society, the judiciary, the Public Ministry and other interested parties, through a broad and inclusive agenda, which included the Minister of Foreign Affairs himself. [The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mario Búcaro, and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Karla Samayoa; President-elect, Bernardo Arévalo; Vice President-elect, Karin Herrera and the President-elect's Transition Team; Editorial Director of Prensa Libre and Guatevision, Doménica Velásquez; President of La Hora Newspaper, Pedro Pablo Marroquín; Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the U.S. Embassy of the United States of America; and the Vice President-elect, Karin Herrera and the Transition Team of the President-elect, Pedro Pablo Marroquín, President of La Hora Newspaper. of the Embassy of the United States of America, Patrick Ventrell, Vice Consul Kristine D'Alessandro, Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs, Mr. Tovan McDaniel, Coordinating Committee of the United States of America, Mr. Tovan McDaniel. Tovan McDaniel; Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF): Vice President, Raúl Buscayrol, Second Vice President, Charles Bland, Executive Director, Diego Marroquín (Private Sector); Representative of "Guatemala Visible", Marielos Fuentes (Civil Society); Representatives of "Guatemala Adelante": Catalina Soberanis, Víctor Asturias, and José Luis Colmenares (Civil Society); Asociación de Investigación y Estudios Sociales (ASIES): President, Raquel Zelaya (Civil Society); Autoridades Indígenas Ancestrales de los Pueblos Maya, Xinka y Garífuna de Guatemala: Marvin Norales, Garifuna, Abigail Monroy, Chuarrancho, Domingo Quino and Romeo Sacuj, San Andrés Semetabaj, Miguel Pajarito, Sacapulas, Efrain Martínez and Francisco Toc, Chinautla, Feliciana Herrera, Cristina Solis and Juan de León, Ixil de Nebaj, Concepción Sontay, Ixil de Cotzal, Juan Lucas, San Andrés Sajcabaja, Gerónimo Vásquez and Narciso Cua, Technical Team; Public Ministry: Secretary General, Angel Pineda, Deputy Secretary General, Erick Schaeffer Secretary General against Corruption, Miguel Estuardo Ávila, Secretary of International Affairs and Cooperation, Eduardo Mejía, Head of the Information and Press Department, Juan Luis Pantaleón; Fundación para Desarrollo de Guatemala (FUNDESA): President Juan Carlos Paíz, Directors: Gaby Roca, Juan Carlos Zapata (Private Sector); President of the Constitutional Court, Magistrate Héctor Hugo Pérez Aguilera; President of the Judicial Organism (OJ) and Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), Magistrate Óscar Ruperto Cruz Oliva; Factor Méndez, representing Cardinal Álvaro Ramazzini, Bishop of Huehuetenango and Representative of Convergencia Nacional; Rector of Rafael Landívar University, Miquel Cortés Bofill, S. J., Vice Rector, Dr. Juventino Gálvez and the Director of Public Action, Gabriela Carrera].

From these meetings, the Mission was able to confirm once again the willingness that exists to support the Transition Process as the path leading to the inauguration of President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and Vice President-elect Karin Herrera, on January 14, 2024. The business chambers represented in CACIF issued a communiqué on November 17, in which they reiterated that the elected President-elect, Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera, should take office on January 14, 2024. Today, President Giammattei once again reiterated to me his wish that this is how it should be, that the President and Vice President, Bernardo Arévalo and Karin Herrera, take office on January 14, 2024.

For its part, the Public Prosecutor's Office in the corresponding meeting, expressed through its Secretary General, Ángel Pineda, that this institution "acts objectively and is based on guaranteeing a timely response to the victims of crime, complainants, and aggrieved parties". He also requested that "autonomy in the exercise of criminal prosecution should be guaranteed". Autonomy must be guaranteed but, of fundamental importance, -and this is from me- is the principle of better functioning of the democratic State.

The social protest led by ancestral authorities that began last October 2, in rejection of the actions of Attorney General Consuelo Porras, Prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, Prosecutor Cinthia Monterroso and Judge Fredy Orellana, actions that threaten the integrity of the 2023 electoral process, continues to this date, completing 64 uninterrupted days of on-site presence near the Public Ministry, demanding the resignation of the aforementioned authorities.

It should be noted that in Guatemala there is a plurality of indigenous peoples and each of these peoples have different forms of organization and authority. Thus, these Ancestral Indigenous Authorities have taken the following actions, among others: [1) On August 4, 2023 the Indigenous Authorities, including the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán held a meeting with me in which they manifested the "risk of a constitutional rupture"; 2) On August 26 they delivered a memorial on behalf of the original peoples, "demanding the Government of Guatemala to take the necessary measures to ensure the Transition Process, heeding the suggestion by the OAS"; 3) The Board of Directors of Communal Mayors of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán, the Indigenous Municipality of Sololá, the Indigenous Municipality of Santa Lucía Utatlán, Sololá and the Parliament of the Xinka People of Guatemala, joined as interested third parties in the amparo 2119-2023, on August 18, 2023, which was resolved in favor of the population, allowing the continuation of the electoral process and the second round. 4) Within the framework of the mandate of the Mediation Mission, on Thursday, October 12, a dialogue roundtable was set up between the government of President Dr. Alejandro Giammattei and representatives of the President's Office, Dr. Alejandro Giammattei. Alejandro Giammattei and representatives of the Ancestral Indigenous Authorities, including the Council of Communal Mayors of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán presided by Luis Pacheco, the Indigenous Municipality of Sololá, the Indigenous Municipality of Santa Lucía Utatlán, Sololá, and the Parliament of the Xinka People of Guatemala. As a result of this meeting, the President of the Republic formally requested other government agencies to consider holding meetings with the Indigenous Authorities].

As I stated in my previous report, we continue to express special recognition to the ancestral Indigenous Communities and their peaceful protest. We admire the maturity with which 48 cantons of Totonicapán and other indigenous communities have managed the peaceful protests after the elections; the work done in this regard has been commendable. The courageous efforts of these indigenous groups and their community advocates in defense of democracy are extraordinary and they deserve our respect for leading this struggle for democratic order and democratic institutions in peace and order.

When we arrive at the inauguration of President-elect Bernardo Arevalo, the citizens of Guatemala will want more democracy. All Guatemalans have the right to an integrated and inclusive political fabric. We support efforts to develop capacity-building measures to accommodate the full participation and representation of indigenous communities in all branches of the governmental structure and in all sectors of Guatemalan society.


As I have been emphasizing, the framework for political action can only be the Constitution of the Republic. The strength of the actions and decisions of the Constitutional Court will always be very important to the benefit of the country and democracy in actions where legal rationale and the principles of the rule of law must give constant guarantee to President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and Vice President Karin Herrera, who will take office on January 14, 2024, without any obstacle to prevent it, as seen in this report and has been expressed by the Constitutional Court.

It is necessary that the Public Prosecutor's Office assesses the adjustments needed to its internal order for it to regain the trust of the public after the credibility crisis it faces as a result of its actions in the current political situation. To this end, it is essential that the exercise of its jurisdictional powers be carried out in strict accordance with the law, ensuring the existence of conditions that guarantee due process and promote public trust in its institutions, within the framework of the protection of democracy. Ongoing and inclusive dialogue between the incoming and outgoing governments should continue to be a priority, to address the causes and consequences of the current political situation, recognizing that the motivations that have led to the expressions of various social actors through demonstrations and protests, have their genesis in the actions of the Public Ministry that directly attacked the electoral process and the political transition.

For President-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, and Vice President-elect, Karin Herrera, the message at this time is to continue to reassure the public of their commitment to address the substantive issues to be developed in their government agenda as of January 14, 2024. In this regard, I reiterate the importance of the initiative led by President-elect Bernardo Arévalo since October 31, with the launching of the "Action for Democracy" alliance, which is part of an agreement among Ancestral Indigenous Authorities, businessmen, and the elected Government, to protect democracy. The President-elect expressed that together they will prioritize consensus spaces to mark the work of his government. The objectives include guaranteeing respect for the electoral results made official by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the inauguration of the elected authorities on January 14, 2024. The members of this space that is still being developed value dialogue as an essential tool for reaching agreements and achieve common objectives. In this regard, I expressed my opinion on November 1, stating that this initiative contributes to the present and future governance of Guatemala.

The OAS Missions will continue to follow the political transition in Guatemala in situ until President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and Vice President-elect Karin Herrera take office on January 14, 2024. We will continue with our work.

Thank you.