It will not be easy for newly elected Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to sever the ‘Safe Third Country’ agreement signed by Guatemala with the United States last month but according to sources he’s been under extraordinary pressure from the opposition, as well as his own doubts about whether his nation can handle such a deal.
He has been outspoken against the deal. This isn’t a good sign for the immigration agreement or President Trump’s administration, which is attempting to curtail the unmitigated flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.
Giammattei went into Sunday’s vote in Guatemala with 58 percent of votes -the majority support of the Guatemalan people – as compared to leftist Sandra Torres with only 42 percent of the vote. However, despite the win for conservatives the issue of Guatemala’s ‘Safe Country Third’ agreement with President Trump’s administration is in jeopardy, say sources both in the United States and Guatemala.
State Department officials did not immediately respond for comment.
Giammattei will take office on Jan. 14, 2020, and is “going to run a nation that has inherited a problematic political system but there is a chance the agreement will survive,” said one Guatemalan official familiar with the situation. Guatemala’s political elite understand full well what pulling out of the deal could mean, since its nation sends roughly 40 percent of its exports to the United States.
Giammattei, a 63-year-old doctor, is now reviewing the agreement said, “I hope that during this transition the doors will open to get more information so we can see what, from a diplomatic point of view, we can do to remove from this deal the things that are not right for us, or how we can come to an agreement with the United States.”
On Twitter, the newly elected president thanked the people of Guatemala for the win.
La confianza que depositaron en mí será el motor para seguir nuestro camino por una Guatemala diferente. Hoy me convierto en el primer servidor público de la nación y junto a todo el país vamos a trabajar por hacer el gobierno que ustedes se merecen. pic.twitter.com/drAOIFlsj5
— Alejandro Giammattei (@DrGiammattei) August 12, 2019
‘Safe Third Country’ In Jeopardy
Current Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’s administration signed the agreement with the Trump administration on July, 6. The agreement requires persons from El Salvador and Honduras requesting asylum to first apply in Guatemala if they use the country as a transit route to the U.S.
GiAmmattei Is ‘going to run a nation that has inherited a problematic political system but there is a chance the agreement will survive’
Democrats Travel To Guatemala Two Days Before Election
Several Guatemalan government officials said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Guatemala, along with her entourage of congressional officials, was inappropriate several days before the Guatemalan election.
“Pelosi rightly called Russia’s action during the 2016 election interference but then comes to Guatemala to attempt to disrupt the agreement with the Trump administration and our nation’s elections – didn’t she interfere? What was her purpose to visit just days before our nation’s elections,” said a senior Guatemalan official.
Chris Farrell, with Judicial Watch, said during an interview that Pelosi’s visit was an attempt to harm the ‘safe third’ agreement with Guatemala and noted “there’s a domestic Guatemala political issue complicated by the arrival of the delegation, none of who I believe have the interest of the Trump administration and the new agreement in their hearts.”
While Pelosi was in Guatemala she criticized the treatment of illegal immigrants in the United States. She also attempted to slam the ‘Safe Country Third’ agreement.
She was asked by reporters if Guatemala would be able to handle the agreement. Pelosi said it would be a “very difficult challenge.”
Pelosi, who also traveled to El Salvador and Honduras again criticized the U.S. saying,“it’s really shameful what has happened on the border.” She met with representatives from the judiciary, as well as special interest and civil rights groups in Guatemala.
Pelosi’s delegation met with many people who are working against the conservative government and are opposed to the agreement with the United States, added the Guatemalan official.