President-elect says Guatemala can't do migrant deal with U.S.

Newly elected president of Guatemala wants to change US migrant deal

Newly elected president of Guatemala wants to change US migrant deal

Guatemala's president-elect Alejandro Giammattei said in an interview with AFP he would not seek confrontation with President Donald Trump over Central America's migration crisis but would demand respect from his USA counterpart.

One of Morales's last acts as president was to authorize an agreement with the United States administration of Donald Trump designating Guatemala as a "safe third country", which would permit Washington to turn away asylum seekers who didn't seek refuge when passing through Guatemala.

The idea is to ease the number of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. -Mexico border.

As Giammattei has not stated any desire to seek a new agreement regarding the CICIG, the uncertainty regarding Guatemala's continuing battle with corruption remains.

The agreement signed in July by the outgoing administration of President Jimmy Morales would require migrants from other countries who cross into Guatemala to apply for asylum here rather than in the U.S.

"I congratulate Alejandro Giammattei on his election as president of Guatemala".

Morales announced in late 2017 that he had recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and meant to relocate his country's embassy to Jerusalem, making Guatemala the first nation to follow the lead of the US.

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The signal sent by the USA now is not "there is a new system for the huddled masses", but "The United States is not open for you at all". The agreement designated Guatemala as a "safe third country", despite thousands of Guatemalans migrating to the USA border this year.

As part of his plan to keep would-be migrants at home, Giammattei proposes massive investment to promote rural development and agribusiness, and improve infrastructure on both sides of the border with Mexico, by creating an "investment bank" under the aegis of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Three million Guatemalans live and work in the United States, which is also the country's main trading partner. Adding to his challenges, Fitch Ratings said the divided political landscape will make it harder for the president to reverse declining tax collection that the agency cited in April when it revised Guatemala's sovereign outlook to negative.

Morales terminated the CICIG's mandate from next month, and Giammattei's failure to reverse that decision has stirred concerns about his commitment to fight corruption.

Weak governance and economic development are ongoing risks to the country's rating, Fitch said. Adriana Beltran, director of citizen security at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a think tank, said the CICIG might just have a future "if Guatemalans take to the streets and there is enough pressure from within".

On another matter, the incoming leader distanced himself from Morales' unpopular decision to not renew the mandate of the United Nations -sponsored anti-corruption commission that has played a key role in sending high-ranking politicians, including ex-presidents, to jail.

Jessica Viviral, a 23-year-old university student who voted for the first time on Sunday, expressed uncertainty about what comes next with Giammattei at the country's helm. "Anti-corruption is not a priority for this (US) administration".

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