Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Guatemalan President Bernardo Arévalo Before Their Meeting


PRESIDENT ARÉVALO:  (Via translation) Well, good morning. Mr. Secretary, it’s an honor to have you and your (inaudible) delegation here. We are pleased to have you here, especially in the context of the meeting that we are about to have. A meeting where we will be able to explore collaborative options to shared problems and shared challenges, but particularly as part of the bilateral relationships that we have been building and developing based on our belief in the common principles of respect for democratic values, for democratic institutions and our shared goals as governments, which are goals related to the well-being of the people.

It is a great pleasure to be with you and, in this way, to welcome a series of meetings that we have been holding over all these months. Certainly, since the 15th… the 14th of January, so welcome.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Mr. President, thank you so much for your incredibly warm welcome, and first and most important is to share greetings from President Biden, Vice President Harris, who remember well the very good meetings that you had in Washington with them.

I think it can be summarized in three words:  security, dignity, opportunity – working together to build that security, to do it so that people live lives of dignity and have genuine opportunity.  We’re partners in those efforts, and I think together Guatemala and the United States are really key partners in building a hemisphere that is genuinely secure, full of opportunity, in which all of its citizens are treated with dignity.  And we’re grateful to be working with you, and admire the leadership that you and your team are showing.

We just had the High-Level Economic Dialogue with our countries, and I think that Guatemala can be an economic motor for the region, but also starting with its own people and the opportunities to advance the country both with the work that the government’s doing but also the private sector.  We see those as being very significant, very real, and we want to be strong partners in that.

There is no prosperity – or at least it’s more difficult to get to prosperity – in the absence of security – and security in every realm, including in the economic realm.  And in that regard, we strongly support the efforts that you’re leading to combat corruption, because absent that, it’s very hard to attract the investment necessary to really move the country forward.  Absent that it’s hard to have the confidence and faith of the citizens in government and in the institutions.  And so that fight we know is so, so critical.

And finally, I would say that for both of us, for the United States and Guatemala, the challenge we have as democracies is to stick together, to stand together, and to demonstrate that we can deliver results.  And here again, the United States wants to be Guatemala’s partner in showing your people, as well as showing our people, that we can effectively deliver results.

There’s so much more that we’re doing together, and I want to thank you and thank the foreign minister for bringing so many of our colleagues together from around the hemisphere to work together on migration.  We’re living in a time of extraordinary challenge when it comes to migration; we have more people on the move around the world and in our own hemisphere than ever before.  And I think what came out of the Los Angeles Declaration is a shared of – a sense of shared responsibility when it comes to dealing with the challenges posed by migration.  And I’m grateful to Guatemala for hosting us today to carry that effort forward.

But at the same time, our countries are so closely linked together.  So many Guatemalans are key people in our own communities helping to drive them forward because of their hard work, their determination, their energy.  And of course, we want to make sure that that continues in an orderly, legal fashion even as we deal with some of the other challenges of migration.

So in all these ways, thank you.  Thank you for the partnership.  We’re grateful for it and grateful for your leadership.

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