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Guatemala: Past and Present
November 15, 2023

On October 3, 2023, a group representing the Presbytery of Western North Carolina Partnership with Guatemala left Western North Carolina with plans for visiting our partners in southwest Guatemala. Upon arrival in Guatemala City, we soon realized that travel would not be possible, due to the political upheaval following a recent presidential election. While this was a great disappointment, we are grateful for the opportunity to have been in Guatemala in this historic moment.


Due to this change in plans, we felt it necessary to bring to you this video presentation, “Guatemala: Past and Present,” which is a recorded narration by Doug Michael, co-chair of the PWNC Guatemala Partnership Leadership Team. Pictures are from visits to the National Palace, the Casa de Memoria in Guatemala City, and news and online reports. The presentation was compiled by Carole Ball and Dwight Christenbury of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Guatemala Updates

Latest news, articles, and info about our partnership
Guatemala's president says U.S. should invest more to deter migration


Washington — Nearly three years ago, Vice President Kamala Harris stood alongside the then-president of Guatemala in his palace and delivered a message to would-be migrants: "Do not come" to the United States.

Her pleas didn't work. Since June 2021, when Harris made those remarks, U.S. officials have tallied 709,305 encounters with migrants from Guatemala along the southern border, according to government data. More than 2 million migrants of all nationalities are expected to be apprehended along the border by the end of this fiscal year in September, which would be the third straight year of sustained foot traffic across the span.

Guatemala's new President Bernardo Arevalo takes office


Guatemala City — Guatemala's new President Bernardo Arevalo promised early on Monday to fight corruption and stand firm against global authoritarianism, in his first speech after being sworn in.

"We will not allow our institutions to be bent by corruption and impunity," he said at the inauguration ceremony — held in Guatemala City more than nine hours late after a last-ditch effort to prevent the anti-corruption crusader from taking office.

Coup or No Coup? What’s Really Going on In Guatemala?


What we face now in Guatemala is another kind of coup d’état, a “soft coup” where a sitting leader conspires behind the scenes, with the final objective of not ceding power to the rightful winner of an election, instead passing the office illegally to another person or entity, thus breaking the constitutional order and reversing the will of the people. The conspirator weaponizes prosecutors and judges to violate electoral constitutional law and retroactively derail an election.

Instead of using blunt force or violence, a “soft coup” is carried out under the veil of legality, manipulating the levers of jurisprudence, or overstepping them entirely to entrap the democratic process. To discredit or call into question an election that has already been certified and declared clean by an electoral authority and international official observers, is part of a soft coup.

Guatemalans have taken to the streets. All they want: For their president-elect to take office


GUATEMALA CITY — Before Guatemala’s presidential election, candidate Bernardo Arévalo didn’t think he had much of a chance. “Don’t worry,” he told his wife. “It’ll be over and we’ll have time for ourselves again.”

Arévalo, whose center-left party had coaxed him into running, had never had strong political aspirations and was polling badly. A former diplomat and peacemaking expert, he was already talking with prospective employers about postelection jobs.

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