The U.S. news media don’t often cover news about Guatemala, the small Central American nation on Mexico’s southern border. As a result, many Americans were surprised to learn that Guatemala recently announced it would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Why is Guatemala aligning itself with Israel at a time when most United Nations member states have voted to oppose the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and regularly support resolutions hostile to the Jewish state?
Contrary to widespread speculation, Guatemala’s support for moving both the U.S. Embassy in Israel and its own embassy there to Jerusalem is not motivated by a desire to curry favor with the Trump administration. Instead, Guatemala is motivated by its own longstanding ties to Israel and it commitment – shared with Israel – to the principles of liberty and economic development.
The claim that Latin American countries bow to President Trump is patronizing. In the case of Guatemala, it inaccurately portrays President Jimmy Morales as an unprincipled beggar.
Some Latin American governments seek economic growth; others do not. The first step is the rule of law, to reverse centralization and abuse of power in favor of individual rights as the basis of society.