US Revokes Visa of Guatemalan Congress Leader

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The president of the Guatemalan Congress from the ruling VAMOS party, Shirley Rivera, has confirmed that the United States has rescinded her visa. This move comes as a similar measure to those taken against two former ministers of President Alejandro Giammattei the previous week. Rivera was notified of the revocation by email on October 5, with the U.S. citing her ineligibility under their criteria, the specifics of which were not provided by Rivera.

On the same day, the U.S. State Department announced visa restrictions against a group of Guatemalan officials and citizens, accusing them of contributing to the erosion of democracy in Guatemala. The sanctions affected former Minister of the Interior Gendri Reyes, former Minister of Energy and Mines Alberto Pimentel, and Vice Minister of Sustainable Development Óscar Rafael Pérez Ramírez.

These visa withdrawals occur amid escalating tensions and protests in Guatemala, where there have been assaults on the electoral court and legal attempts to suspend the party of president-elect Bernardo Arévalo, who belongs to the social-democratic opposition. Arévalo, 65, has labeled the legal maneuvers by Attorney General Consuelo Porras, prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, and judge Fredy Orellana as part of an “ongoing coup d’état.” These moves, he claims, are intended to block his accession to office in January, driven by elite fears of his commitment to combat corruption.

The mentioned Guatemalan officials have been labeled as “corrupt” by Washington and have been barred from entering the U.S. since 2021.