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Nov 14

Guatemala One Year After Elections: Challenges and Opportunities

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

On November 4, 2007, Guatemala elected Álvaro Colom and Dr. Rafael Espada as President and Vice President respectively.  A year after, Guatemala's still young democracy is confronting numerous challenges ranging from poverty and social exclusion to criminal gangs and drug-related violence.  The current global economic crisis certainly generates new uncertainties for policy makers in Guatemala City.

The Colom/Espada government seeks to offer hope to all Guatemalans by establishing a solid record of reducing poverty and inequality, improving communications across cultural and ethnic lines, reforming government efficiency and transparency while battling corruption and impunity.  As a CAFTA trade partner and significant source of labor for the U.S. job market, Guatemala relies on a strong bilateral relationship with the U.S.   Fostering a competitive Guatemalan economy capable of operating in a global economy resides at the core of Guatemala's strategy for the future.   

In his presentation, Vice President Espada will offer his views on work done and to be done in the Colom/Espada Administration and answer questions regarding Guatemala's political, economic, and foreign policy.     

Vice President Espada studied medicine at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala and completed a residency in thoracic surgery at Baylor University Medical School.  He became a heart surgeon at Houston's Methodist Hospital, along with legendary surgical pioneer Dr. Michael DeBakey.  In 1994, Dr. Espada realized a long-standing dream by opening a Cardiovascular Surgical Unit in Guatemala to provide state of the art care to individuals of limited means.  As Vice President, Dr. Espada is responsible for a broad range of issues, concentrating on social and environmental issues and government reform and transparency.

More About the Speakers

Excellency Dr. Rafael Espada
Vice President of the Republic of Guatemala

Hosted By

Ray Walser, Ph.D. Ray Walser, Ph.D.

Senior Policy Analyst Read More