U.S. Embassy Response to Multiple Inquiries about COVID-19 Assistance to Guatemala

REF# 2020 – 15
May 21, 2020

The United States is proud of our support for – and our partnership with – the Government of Guatemala as we jointly fight the spread of COVID-19. U.S. Government programs support a vast array of efforts in Guatemala in order to improve the health, security, and prosperity of the Guatemalan people in this unprecedented situation:

  • In January 2020, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) joined Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aiming to catalyze private sector investment of up to $1 billion over three years in support of development in Guatemala.
    • Since the MOU was signed, DFC has worked diligently with the private sector to identify and advance projects to create deeply developmental impact in Guatemala.  DFC currently has nearly $500 million dollars in projects in its pipeline or under review, including loans to small and medium sized businesses, women-owned businesses, energy infrastructure, and affordable housing.
    • Additionally, DFC recently issued a call for proposals under a new Health and Prosperity Initiative to invest up to $2 billion in response to COVID-19 and to strengthen health resilience in developing countries, like Guatemala.
  • In April 2020, the U.S. Government committed $2.4 million to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Guatemala. The U.S. Government, through USAID, is working in close collaboration with the Government of Guatemala, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment. These funds are being used to address:
    • Case management to strengthen clinical care while minimizing the risk of onward transmission to others.
    • Infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities.
    • Public health screening at various national points of entry, such as airports and land-border crossings.
    • Communications and media campaigns to help educate people on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus.
    • Monitoring and rapid response to help identify and track cases at the national and community level.
    • In addition, USAID provided approximately $10,000 in supplies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in Patzún.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to helping countries requesting assistance with the activities of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Specifically, in the Latin American region, the CDC has a large regional office in Guatemala that has been providing technical assistance to Guatemala (and the region) in a series of activities, including contact tracing, epidemiological investigation, and strengthening of its laboratories. Additionally, in Guatemala the CDC has provided the following assistance to confront the COVID-19 crisis:
    • Provided laboratory supplies — as requested by the National Health Laboratory of Guatemala — valued at over $100,000. Additional U.S. government funds are currently being provided to procure extra lab supplies and equipment.
    • Provided training on clinical management of COVID-19 to approximately 3000 Guatemalan medical professionals.
    • Distributed N95 masks and medical supplies to Parque de la Industria and Ramiro de Leon Carpio, valued at approximately $18,000 — with efforts underway for additional procurement.
    • Provided hundreds of hours of technical assistance for various response activities, including visits to hospitals, assessment of PPE, developing training for healthcare workers, and working on mathematical models.
    • Approximately $1 million of additional CDC funding will arrive in the next weeks for additional public health activities.
  • The U.S. government-funded McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has provided over $198 million to Guatemala since 2003 to support education, child development, and food security. For FY2020, Guatemala is one of only 11 “priority countries” that are eligible to receive up to approximately $25 million in U.S. government funding to support these initiatives.
    • During the COVID-19 crisis, this program received permission to provide take-home rations, so that children in Guatemala would not go hungry due to school closings.
  • In calendar year 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala has issued over 1,800 H-2 visas to Guatemalan citizens, of whom over 550 have already traveled to the United States to pursue legal work opportunities – all in support of the improved prosperity of the Guatemalan people.U.S. long-term investment in Guatemala’s health and development includes more than $2.6 billion in total U.S. assistance, which includes $564 million in health, over the past 20 years. As Ambassador Arreaga said, “The United States is committed to the health and prosperity of the Guatemalan people. We are working in partnership with the government of Guatemala to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and look forward to continuing our joint efforts across a broad spectrum of programs and projects to improve the lives of all Guatemalans.”

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