Following Return from Central America, House and Senate Democrats Call for Free and Open Elections in Guatemala

Ahead of Sunday night deadline, lawmakers urge electoral tribunal to allow all qualified candidates to run in upcoming election

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), along with Representatives Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.), released the following statement urging Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the country’s highest authority on elections, to allow all qualified candidates to run in the upcoming presidential election set to be held in June 2019. Last month, the members traveled to five-day delegation trip to Central America on which they saw firsthand the difficult and dangerous conditions, including lack of rule of law, that force so many migrants to flee and seek safe haven at the U.S. Southern border.

“Just weeks ago, we traveled to the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to examine the root causes of migration to our Southern border, including lack of economic opportunity, endemic violence, corruption and lack of rule of law. While there, we spoke with many Guatemalans who are rightly concerned about corruption and who are eager to elect the candidate of their choosing in free and fair and open election coming up in June.

“This Sunday evening is the deadline for candidates to register with the Electoral Tribunal in Guatemala in order to be allowed to run. A fundamental aspect of any functioning democracy is the ability of any candidate who meets the necessary requirements to run and for the people to select the candidate of their choosing freely. Given the importance of this election in Guatemala, we call on the Electoral Tribunal to certify each and every candidate who has met the requirements without delay.  

“Investments made by the U.S., through our support of the Alliance for Prosperity, can help to address root causes of migration in these countries, but our efforts alone are not sufficient. Only the institutions in the Northern Triangle countries can fully restore the rule of law. A chance to do just that in Guatemala is coming up in two days, and the Electoral Tribunal should seize this opportunity.”