Heritage President Visits Guatemala to Strengthen Ties, Speak at National Prayer Breakfast


Heritage President Visits Guatemala to Strengthen Ties, Speak at National Prayer Breakfast

Aug 23, 2022

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala—Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts spoke Aug. 18 at the Guatemala National Prayer Breakfast and met with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss shared policy objectives and opportunities for collaboration.

The international trip was Roberts’ first as Heritage’s president and follows Giammattei’s visit to Washington in December 2021, which included a speech at Heritage.

“The defense of republican and democratic values and the protection of life in all its stages were a few of the issues of common interest that we discussed during our meeting with The Heritage Foundation, led by Dr. Kevin Roberts, who visited Guatemala for the first time,” President Alejandro Giammattei said following the two-hour meeting.

Roberts praised Giammattei for his leadership of Guatemala and promised that Heritage would continue to work closely with his administration on issues ranging from pro-life policies to economic management.

“The meeting with President Giammattei was an inspiration for those of us who are policymakers in the United States,” Roberts said, “because of his courage, his good cheer, his willingness to lead the wonderful people of Guatemala, not only for the betterment of themselves and their country, but also as an inspiration for America. The meeting couldn’t have been better.”

Roberts was accompanied on the trip by Heritage colleagues Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy; Max Primorac, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy; and Bryce Connolly, executive assistant to the president.

Guatemala and the United States share mutual economic and security goals despite recent actions by the Biden administration to sow divisions, such as excluding Guatemala from the State Department’s Summit for Democracy and failing to work collaboratively to curb illegal immigration.

“Guatemala is an important to the United States, particularly on issues to our own national security, sovereignty, and prosperity,” Roberts said. “Our two countries have enjoyed a productive diplomatic relationship for nearly two centuries. Today, we’re at a moment when the shared interests of our two nations could not be greater. From tackling poverty and economic growth to fighting drug cartels and deterring the flow of illegal immigration northbound, Guatemala faces important challenges.”

As Heritage senior fellow Mike Gonzalez and research assistant Mateo Haydar recently reported, Giammattei’s government has come under fire from the global elite for many of its stances on key issues, including support for Taiwan and Israel, and backing of pro-life policies.

At a time when the Chinese Communist Party is exerting its influence across the globe, Giammattei has steadfastly defended allies around the world, including Guatemala’s continued diplomatic recognition of Taiwan over the objections of the CCP.

“President Giammattei understands a transactional relationship with China is a dangerous one that ultimately erodes democratic principles and national sovereignty,” Roberts said. “Guatemala has wisely chosen to reject such a relationship.”

Heritage ranks Guatemala the 69th freest economy in the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom. Its score of 63.2 is above the regional and world averages. The United States in the country’s largest trading partner.

“With pleasure we welcomed members of Heritage for the first time, with their president, Dr. Kevin Roberts,” said Kevin Lopez Oliva, spokesperson for Giammattei. “We reaffirmed our commitment to shared traditional values and reaffirmed our commitment to continue promoting public policies of mutual interest. Thank you, friends.”