US steps up Guatemala sanctions threat over election dispute

US steps up Guatemala sanctions threat over election dispute
US steps up Guatemala sanctions threat over election dispute

By Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – The U.S. may apply sector-based sanctions in opposition to Guatemala if democratic processes there aren’t revered, a high U.S. official mentioned, stepping up warnings over a dispute centering on the nation’s latest presidential election.

The U.S. is amongst a variety of nations which have blamed the present Guatemalan authorities for attempting to dam the accession of president-elect Bernardo Arevalo, an issue that has sparked nationwide protests.

In a radio interview late Tuesday throughout a go to to Central America, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols mentioned Washington may launch focused sanctions and in addition work with the United Nations or the Group of American States to “assist the democratic course of.”

“You possibly can see what instruments we now have used see in different nations when there is a rupture within the democratic order,” Nichols informed Emisoras Unidas radio, with out saying which sectors he was referring to.

Arevalo, a center-left politician and son of a former president, in August gained a landslide victory operating on an anti-corruption platform. He is because of take workplace on Jan. 14.

Outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei has mentioned he has data suggesting overseas governments are financing widespread protests which have disrupted the nation.

Nichols dismissed the notion the U.S. was financially backing the protests as “ridiculous and insulting.”

Throughout his go to to Guatemala this week, Nichols mentioned Giammattei didn’t meet with him on the grounds it was “not handy”, and as an alternative despatched his overseas minister to carry talks with the U.S. official. Nichols additionally met with native enterprise, civil society and Indigenous leaders.

Protests started peacefully in Guatemala, with members staging dances and yoga lessons at highway blockades. However they later turned violent. One individual was killed in clashes with armed teams final week, and lots of blockades have since been lifted.

Calls for have centered across the resignation of Guatemala’s legal professional normal, whose workplace alleged Arevalo’s Semilla Social gathering faked signatures to register social gathering members and has intensified investigations. Semilla has denied the accusations.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Sarah Morland; Enhancing by Marguerita Choy)

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