The parties discussed several issues, including the fight against corruption and the issue of immigration.
US Vice President Kamala Harris said she had “serious talks” with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei about the need to fight corruption, as well as help curb illegal immigration from Central American countries to the United States.
At a press conference with Giammattei, Harris said the US task force will work with local prosecutors to bring corrupt individuals in the region to justice.
The Biden administration has identified corruption as the main cause of poverty and violence, prompting a record number of Central American residents to leave for the United States.
Ahead of Harris ‘ visit to Guatemala, her first official trip abroad, there has been controversy over anti-graft, with anti-corruption campaigners backed by Washington criticizing Giammattei.
“We had a serious, frank, and thorough conversation,” the US Vice President said at a press conference after a three-hour meeting with Giammattei.
“The President and I discussed the importance of fighting corruption and the importance of an independent judiciary,” Kamala Harris said.
Information about the creation of the anti-corruption task force has been received before. Kamala Harris provided more details, saying that the group will combine the capabilities of the Department of Justice, the State Department, and the US Treasury.
Giammattei defended his own experience in fighting corruption, noting that he was not accused of wrongdoing and that bribery was not just a problem for politicians. According to him, the fight against drug trafficking should be an integral part of the fight against corruption.
On immigration, Guatemala’s President has announced the creation of a new processing center for migrants returned from Mexico and the United States, which could increase capacity. He said that the focus of the two countries should be on ensuring prosperity.
According to him, most of the Guatemalan migrants leave because of poverty from several rural municipalities. Harris said that Guatemalans should not go on the dangerous journey to the north.
“Don’t come. The United States will continue to enforce its laws and secure its borders,” she said. – If you come to our border, you will be turned back.”
Harris will also meet with civil society leaders and entrepreneurs and then travel to Mexico. According to the White House, the priorities include economic development, climate, and food insecurity, as well as women’s issues. Vice President Harris confirmed that the United States will deliver half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Guatemala and allocate $ 26 million to fight the pandemic.