This action was updated on December 10 to reflect worsening attacks on Guatemalan democracy, after the Public Prosecutor’s office (MP) held a press conference threatening to annul election results, an act which the Organisation of American States (OAS) called “an attempted coup d’etat.”

In light of ongoing attacks on democracy and human rights defenders, we ask you to stand in solidarity with Guatemalan peoples by writing to the Canadian Embassy and Minister of Foreign Affairs and calling on them to:

  • Continue urging for respect of democratic norms, including the peaceful transfer of power to those elected and the right to protest.
  • Invoke the Inter-American democratic charter and sanction those actors who threaten democracy.

Canadian contacts:


Guatemala is living an electoral and democratic crisis. The current protests and national strike are related to the transition of power, set for January, to the newly elected President, Bernardo Arévalo. The election of Arévalo of the Semilla Party and the subsequent mobilization of the population to defend the vote of the people is the most important political event since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996.

However, forces of corruption, known as the “Covenant of the Corrupt”, are pulling out all the stops to halt this transition. The MP has consistently sought to overturn election results with spurious, poorly investigated charges, outside of their mandate. The country’s co-opted court systems have provided few checks on their actions, giving rulings that have allowed for unconstitutional actions to go forward and have explicitly criminalized protest. The Guatemalan Congress passed a highly questioned budget with no review and impeached Supreme Electoral Tribunal magistrates, forcing several of them to flee the country.

On December 10, the Canadian Ambassador, along with Ambassadors from Germany, France, the U.K. and Northern Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland, and the Charge d’Affaires from the U.S. published an editorial in the Guatemalan press decrying “the actions of Guatemalan actors who seek to silence the voice of the people.”

At an OAS special session on Guatemala, Canadian Ambassador, Stuart Savage said the following:

“The Guatemalan People made their voices heard on June 25th and August 20th of this year. Their choice must be respected. Canada welcomes the clear results of the election; we congratulate President Elect Arévalo. That being said, we are deeply disturbed by the recent events in the country, notably the public ministries continued unacceptable actions which include the recent raid on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal Offices and seizure of electoral materials. The Public Ministry’s actions undermine the electoral process and democratic institutions of Guatemala and show a blatant disregard for the will of the people. Canada condemns those actions and the actions of any other actor that aims to violate or diminish the democratic process of Guatemala. We call on all stakeholders to work together in good faith to ensure a peaceful transition of power on January 14, 2024…The actions taken by certain Guatemalan state actors to influence electoral process contradict the international standards to which Guatemala has committed itself. In particular, the obligation to guarantee free and fair electoral processes set out in Article 23 of Inter-American Democratic Charter. Canada welcomes President Giammattei calls for an orderly and transparent transition of power. We encourage him and all state actors and institutions to fulfill their legal and constitutional responsibilities to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and the safety of all those involved. We know from sad experience in this continent that democratic backsliding in one country can have very negative effects beyond its borders and in the region as a whole. Canada stands in solidarity with the people of Guatemala. Any attempt to undermine democracy is a threat not only to them, but to all of us. Canada will continue to follow this situation very closely.”

Requests to the Embassy and Minister of Foreign Affairs

We appreciate Canada’s clear condemnation of the Guatemalan government’s anti-democratic actions. We call for the Embassy and the Minister of Foreign Affaits to:

  • continue to issue public pronouncements against those state actors who threaten to undermine the electoral process and the will of the Guatemalan people.
  • invoke the Inter-American democratic charter and impose sanctions on those actors responsible for efforts to overturn democracy.

Impeding democracy must have consequences. The time to act is now.