Canada announces sanctions against individuals implicated in undermining democracy and rule of law in Guatemala

News release

February 20, 2024 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada is establishing a new sanctions regime under the Special Economic Measures Act to address the serious situation in Guatemala.

Today’s sanctions apply to four individuals for their engagement in activities that directly or indirectly promoted corruption and for committing gross human rights violations with impunity, including during the previous administration of President Alejandro Giammattei and beyond.

The sanctioned individuals have worked relentlessly to undermine democracy and prevent a peaceful transition of power. These sanctions will serve to deter obstructionist actions by corrupt public officials and to support the democratically elected Arévalo government.

Along with its international partners, Canada is imposing these sanctions to collectively contribute to efforts to fight corruption and gross human rights violations in Guatemala. Additionally, the imposition of sanctions reflects Canada’s commitment to promoting and protecting democracy, the rules-based international order and the rule of law.

Canada stands with the people of Guatemala and the international community in condemning entrenched corruption and impunity and is committed to working with the democratically elected Arévalo government on strengthening security, human rights, inclusive prosperity and the rule of law. 


“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to contributing to efforts to fight for democracy and human rights in Guatemala. We look forward to working alongside the democratically elected Arévalo government.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • Canada and Guatemala have a long-standing and positive relationship that has spanned more than 60 years.

  • Canada’s international assistance efforts in Guatemala average $22 million per year and address gender inequality, human rights violations, violence, food insecurity, natural disasters and the lack of economic opportunities, as well as corruption and impunity.

  • These sanctions are in line with those of the European Union and the United States, allies that have recently imposed measures targeting undemocratic Guatemalan individuals.

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