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Press Release

Statement from the Mediation Mission of the General Secretariat of the OAS in Guatemala

  October 13, 2023

The Mediation Mission designated by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, held a broad and inclusive agenda of meetings during the course of 5 days this week, in line with the commitment made with the Government of the Republic of Guatemala. The purpose of this agenda was to receive reports from the main actors of the social situation, and thus be able to provide specific recommendations that allow the Government of Guatemala to adopt urgent political decisions that lead to the effective solution of the issues that are the subject of social protest that is currently ongoing in the country. These recommendations will be presented in a report that will be delivered to the President of the Republic, Dr. Alejandro Giammattei.

On Thursday, October 12, within the framework of the OAS Mediation Mission, a dialogue was set up between the government of President Giammattei and representatives of the ancestral indigenous authorities of the 48 Cantons of Totonicapán, chaired by Luis Pacheco. The Mission considers that this meeting reflects the willingness of both parties to open communication channels that allow them to identify common agreements for the benefit of democracy in Guatemala and address the demands that have mobilized the Guatemalan people.

The opening of this dialogue between ancestral authorities and representatives of the national government is a historic advance since it places the people and authorities of the legitimately represented indigenous communities at a table of direct dialogue with the Government authorities. This situation also arises in a context in which both parties have expressed their commitment to maintaining a peaceful dialogue, with respect for the fundamental freedoms of both those who exercise the right to demonstrate and society in general. This commitment has been notable for the Mission, in the way in which it has managed to avoid the escalation of violent confrontations during the days since the beginning of the demonstrations, in which the professionalism of the National Civil Police (PNC) has been fundamental.

The Mission trusts that the subsequent stage of this dialogue, which we urge to be handled between the parties with the urgency that the current sensitive situation in the country warrants, will be a renewed opportunity to reach agreements that protect the democratic institutions in Guatemala and openly recognize the diverse needs and demands of the Guatemalan people.

At the same time, the Mission rejects and condemns any act that threatens the integrity of the electoral process, its results and the transition process that will conclude on January 14, 2024, when President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and Vice President-elect Karin Herrera will take office.

The Mission joins the commitment declared by the General Secretariat of the OAS to continue supporting this dialogue process in its subsequent stages, as well as in the instances corresponding to the electoral process and government transition, according to the commitments acquired.

Reference: E-067/23