Vice President Kamala Harris will welcome President Bernardo Arévalo of Guatemala to the White House on March 25, 2024 to recognize the enduring friendship and strategic partnership between Guatemala and the United States. During the visit, the leaders will take stock of the progress we have made to address the drivers of irregular migration, including creating good jobs, responsive governance, and opportunities for Guatemalans to invest in their own communities. In demonstrating U.S. support to the people of Guatemala, the Vice President is announcing the United States pledges to provide an additional $170 million for development, economic, health, and security assistance, subject to congressional notification. 

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing commitment under the Root Causes Strategy, the Vice President is also announcing the following:

  • Transforming Security and Justice Institutions: Through a $50 million “Guatemala Se Transforma” Initiative, the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) will partner with Guatemala to bolster the rule of law in security and justice institutions.  Working with Congress, INL intends to commit funds now and additional resources in the future to this new initiative.
  • Central American Service Corps:  Vice President Harris announced the creation of the Central American Service Corps (CASC) at the Summit of Americas in 2022. After a successful pilot in Guatemala, the CASC program will expand in May, during an event featuring Guatemalan First Lady Lucrecia Peinado. This expanded program, funded by USAID, and partnering with the Peace Corps, and the Inter-American Foundation, will reach 2,800 young people in the first year who are most at risk of migrating by engaging them with volunteer, training, and employment opportunities in Guatemala. CASC could reach up to 25,000 young people in Guatemala over the next five years. 
  • Technical Assistance for Regulatory Reforms:  The Commerce Law Development Program (CLDP) will support legal and regulatory reforms to facilitate new infrastructure and public-private partnerships. These reforms will also promote workers’ rights. CLDP will provide technical assistance to improve Guatemala’s proposed port authority law, which would counter extortion and the use of maritime ports and airports by organized criminal organizations.  
  • Building Trade and Customs Capacity for Secure Textiles and Apparel Trade:  The Office of the United States Trade Representative and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will launch a Trade Capacity Building program to advance secure trade in textiles and apparel between the United States and Guatemala by encouraging engagement, including with existing government-to-industry stakeholder partnerships such as CBP’s Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Program and the Superintendence of Tax Administration of Guatemala’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.
  • Investment Facilitation Team Visit:  A United States Investment Facilitation Team, composed of relevant U.S. government agencies, will visit Guatemala in the next six months to support clean energy and infrastructure development, facilitate private sector operations, and promote sustainable economic development. 
  • Scaling of Agricultural Technologies:  USAID will implement a new Feed the Future program that will strengthen the capacity of existing research and education entities and based on their priorities, opportunities, and commitments, mainly to scale agricultural technologies. It will support research, education, extension, and advice related to “Climate Smart” agriculture.
  • Guatemala Biodiversity Conservation:  USAID will implement this new program to promote the conservation of biodiversity and strengthen the Guatemalan System of Protected Areas focusing on the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, and areas of ecological importance along the Pacific Coast.
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment Legal Reform Fund Project:  This project in Guatemala will support key congressional, governmental, and civil society partners to advance legislation and policy that reduces barriers to women competing in the workforce, while enhancing protection of women’s access and rights in the workplace. 
  • Indigenous and Civil Society Engagement:  The Department of State intends to provide $1.5 million to support multi-stakeholder engagements among the Government of Guatemala, private sector actors, civil society, and people from marginalized communities, including indigenous leaders, to ensure public policies are inclusive and to promote greater accountability to public interests. 
  • Advancing Women, Peace, and Security Opportunities Globally:  In 2024, the Department of State will add Guatemala as a focus country for the Supporting Her Empowerment Women for Inclusive New Security (SHE WINS) project. The effort will focus on advancing indigenous women’s meaningful civic participation through targeted capacity building and support for community initiatives through Plataforma de Mujeres Indígenas. Launched in 2022, SHE WINS supports the U.S. Strategy and National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security Strategy by advancing the leadership of local women leaders and women-led civil society organizations to address peace and security challenges in areas of conflict and crisis.  

These new programs will build upon the success of the early stages of the Root Causes Strategy in Guatemala.  Some of these successes include:

  • Guatemala Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (GEDI):   Launched by Vice President Harris in 2021, GEDI is fostering a robust business ecosystem in Guatemala by supporting over 3,500 entrepreneurs (including over 1,600 women and 1,700 indigenous people) through investment readiness and technical services.  In its first two years, GEDI facilitated $30 million in new investments, of which $4 million is for clean energy investments. GEDI has also directly created 1,500 new jobs and generated $7.5 million in new sales for small and growing businesses. This strategic collaboration with the private sector is instrumental in amplifying business growth, and includes notable partners PriceSmart, MasterCard, Argidius Foundation, Pomona Impact, Cargill, and many others.
  • Young Women’s Empowerment Initiative (YWEI):  Launched by Vice President Harris, YWEI has enhanced women’s employment opportunities and conditions, reducing gender-based violence, and closing the gender gap across sectors. Since 2021, nearly 19,000 youth have increased their capacity through re-engaging in secondary education and strengthening their soft skills, over 9,000 young women completed workforce training programs, and 27,000 young women have gained jobs and experienced better employment conditions. Just over 1,500 women have received support services after experiencing gender-based crimes. More than 32,000 women have improved their agricultural management and 29,000 women have increased access to economic resources such as credit, assets, and income.  
  • Creating Jobs:  In fiscal year 2023, Guatemalan businesses created more than 26,000 jobs in areas of high out-migration through U.S. support, helping thousands to build wealth for themselves and their families close to home.
  • Enhancing the Agriculture Sector:  Through extensive support from the United States government, more than 35,000 Guatemalan farmers have utilized innovative technologies to increase production and income on more than 33,000 acres of farmland, creating greater income security and resilience to shocks, including environmental shocks.
  • Boosting Education:  USAID reached nearly 69,000 learners in high out-migration municipalities in Guatemala, with programs aiming to improve math and reading skills, keep youth in school, and boost completion rates. 
  • Countering Gender-Based Violence:  Nearly 1,200 survivors of gender-based violence have received access to protection services in Guatemala, allowing them to put an end to the violence, and begin the healing process, and retake control of their lives.
  • Supporting Labor Pathways:  More than 13,000 Guatemalans were issued employment-based visas through the H-2 visa program to work temporarily in the United States, providing them with increased economic opportunity while supporting the demands of the U.S. labor market.
  • Reuniting Families:  More than 5,000 invitations have been issued on behalf of eligible Guatemalans that would allow those with a pending family-based immigration visa to travel to the United States and reunite with their family in a safe, orderly, and lawful way.


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