On September 1, 2020, U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, Luis E. Arreaga, joined Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Director of La Ruta Victor Asturias, and representatives of the Guatemalan and United States governments, at the National Palace in Guatemala City, to formally announce the U.S. government’s support of the Guatemala-led La Ruta: Reunion entre los Pueblos Initiative.
La Ruta is a Guatemalan government-led dialogue between Indigenous Peoples and the Guatemalan central government to strengthen governance, security, and prosperity in areas with high levels of outward migration and illicit trafficking. The initiative aims to foster dialogue among the Guatemalan central government, Indigenous Peoples, and the private sector; reduce social conflict; and increase investments and economic opportunities in benefit of all Guatemalans.
The U.S. government remains committed to supporting Indigenous Peoples across Guatemala. During the ceremony, the U.S. government pledged to support the La Ruta initiative with up to 22.5 million dollars, implemented through ongoing programs supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Embassy’s Office for International Narcotics & Law Enforcement (INL), over the next three years. This support will:
- expand local governance and justice programs;
- strengthen citizen security;
- increase indigenous language capabilities among local police;
- reduce trafficking in persons, prevent crime, and increase access to justice;
- provide culturally-appropriate health support to strengthen COVID-19 response;
- expand indigenous representation by strengthening indigenous and youth advisory bodies;
- support the creation of agricultural innovation centers;
- implement safe water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and management systems; and
- promote sustainable natural resources management.
The U.S. Embassy commends President Alejandro Giammattei, Mr. Asturias, and the entire Guatemalan Government for their efforts to strengthen dialogue with Indigenous People’s communities, and looks forward to continuing to support the Government’s efforts to strengthen services and improve living conditions for Indigenous Peoples throughout Guatemala.