Washington, DC, January 11… Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador, Sir Ronald Sanders, has been appointed as one of the five Ambassadors representing the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) at the inauguration of Bernardo Arevalo as the President of Guatemala on January 14, 2024. President Arevalo’s election took place on August 20, 2023, following a run-off contest with Sandra Torres.
Throughout the election process, challenges have arisen as the Public Ministry, led by the Attorney General and a Public Prosecutor, attempted to disqualify Arevalo and his Semilla Party, alleging fraudulent registration. Ambassador Sanders, who served as the Chairman of the OAS Permanent Council until December 31, 2023, played a crucial role in monitoring events in Guatemala. Last month, he visited Guatemala alongside OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro for high-level discussions with the country’s outgoing President, Alejandro Giammattei, representatives of the Constitution Court, and Vice-President-elect Karin Herrera.
Ambassador Sanders, along with Ambassadors from Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States, will engage in meetings with a cross-section of Guatemalan authorities, including political parties, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations, ahead of the inauguration of President Arevalo.
“This is a difficult time for Guatemala,” stated Ambassador Sanders. “The controversy initiated by the Public Ministry against Arevalo and his party is serving to destabilize the new government before it starts. The OAS upholds the will of the electorate as freely expressed at the ballot box. This is a basic tenet of the Organization, and it explains why we are taking such a keen interest in being present to observe the installation of the new executive.”
Despite the upcoming inauguration, Ambassador Sanders expressed concern that the claims and actions of the Public Ministry might persist after the new government is installed, potentially leading to instability and tension in the country. “All of this,” he said, “is why the OAS remains vigilant in Guatemala.”
The OAS reaffirms its commitment to supporting democratic processes and ensuring the integrity of elections in member countries. Ambassador Sanders and the other members of the OAS Permanent Council team will closely monitor the situation in Guatemala, emphasizing the importance of upholding democratic principles and preserving the stability of the nation.