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Kaine, Durbin, Merkley, and Welch Statement on Guatemala

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations (SFRC) Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Peter Welch (D-VT), released the following statement regarding efforts to strip Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and several members of his party of their immunity:

“The Guatemalan Attorney General’s efforts to strip the immunity of President-elect Bernardo Arévalo and Vice President-elect Herrera are a blatant abuse of power and undermine the peaceful transition of power in Guatemala. The Attorney General’s arrests of civil society and members of the Semilla party yesterday are an unacceptable criminalization of free speech and an affront to the rule of law. They represent another tragic chapter in the Giammattei administration’s systematic persecution against anti-corruption advocates, journalists, and political opponents. We condemn these attacks against democracy in Guatemala. These attacks are not only destabilizing for Guatemala, but also the entire region. The Biden administration has rightly imposed visa restrictions on those attempting to undermine the peaceful political transition to President-elect Arévalo. We stand with President-elect Arévalo, the Organization of American States, and the Guatemalan people in demanding a peaceful transition of power, and again call on Guatemalan officials to respect the will of the people.”