Guatemala President Won’t Attend U.S. Summit of Americas After Political Tension

Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei gives a speech during Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's official visit to Guatemala, at the National Palace in Guatemala City, Guatemala May 5, 2022. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
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GUATEMALA CITY, May 17 (Reuters) – Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Tuesday he would not attend next month’s Summit of the Americas, a day after the United States criticized the Central American country for appointing its attorney general to serve another term.

“They’re not going to invite me to the summit anyway, but I sent (the message) that I will not go,” Giamattei said during an event hosted by the Mexican embassy south of Guatemala City.

The Guatemalan president did not give a reason, but his decision adds to a growing list of leaders from Latin America who have cast doubt on their attendance at the summit due to be hosted by the United States in Los Angeles.

Giammattei, who was speaking after Guatemala announced it had reappointed Maria Consuelo Porras as attorney general, said he had told the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala that as long as he was president, his country should be respected.

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it deemed Porras ineligible for entry into the country, citing her “involvement in significant corruption”. The Guatemalan attorney general’s office responded by describing itself as an autonomous institution that would not accept any interference. read more

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said last week he would not go if Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not invited. Soon afterwards, his Bolivian counterpart, Luis Arce, followed suit. read more

In April, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols said that Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were unlikely to be invited to the summit since it would focus on democratic governments in the Western Hemisphere. read more

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is also likely to skip the meeting, sources told Reuters, without specifying his motive. read more

Giammattei said Mexico’s Lopez Obrador backed Guatemala’s decision to have Porras stay in her job. Mexico’s foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City and Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City
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