US announces visa veto for Guatemalan officials who undermine democracy

Washington, Oct 1 (EFE).- The US government announced on Sunday that it would impose visa restrictions on congressmen and other officials who “undermine” democracy in Guatemala, after the Attorney General’s Office raided the Guatemalan electoral authority that awarded the presidential election to Social Democrat Bernardo Arévalo.

“We are actively taking steps to impose visa restrictions on individuals who continue to undermine Guatemala’s democracy,” State Department spokesman Mathew Miller said in a statement, “including current and former members of Congress, judicial actors, and any others who engage in such behavior,”

The statement did not name specific individuals.

Those punished will be ineligible to enter the United States under a law that restricts visas for those “believed to be responsible for, complicit in, or undermining democracy.”

Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal denounced on Saturday that prosecutors searched its headquarters for more than 18 hours.

Arévalo reiterated on Saturday that a “coup d’état” against his inauguration, led by Attorney General Consuelo Porras, among others, is still underway.

The US government stressed on Sunday that it “stands with those who seek to defend democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala.”

“The United States is gravely concerned with continued efforts to undermine Guatemala’s peaceful transition of power to President-elect Arévalo,” the Department of State stressed.

In addition, the statement noted that the United States supports the ongoing work of the Organization of American States Special Mission to Guatemala to assist with the presidential transition.

The State Department criticized Guatemalan prosecutors for “seizing electoral materials” in the custody of the Electoral Tribunal after earlier attempts to strip election officials of their immunity and search their offices.

The Electoral Tribuanl has said that the prosecutors “seized” the electoral records of the elections of June 25 and Aug. 20 2023. EFE


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