Guatemala to be declared 'Ibero-American Pro-Life Capital'

President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala speaks during on online event organized by The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6, 2021. | Courtesy of Secretaría de Comunicación Social de la Presidencia de Guatemala

The Family Matters Association of Guatemala (AFI) welcomed the recent announcement by President Alejandro Giammattei that the country will be declared the “Ibero-American Pro-Life Capital” on March 9, 2022.

“This has been the result of years of work, both by civil society and by organizations that actively work to support life, family and freedom, as well as by officials in different administrations who have used their positions to courageously defend these values,” the organization said in a statement Dec. 15. “In addition, it is the reflection of the values of Guatemalan society. Being pro-life is in our DNA as Guatemalans!”

Giammattei made the announcement Dec. 6, during his participation in an online event organized by the Heritage Foundation which is based in Washington, D.C.

At the beginning of his speech, the president said that Guatemala is "a country of faith" such that in governing it "each government institution has a clear direction and coordination in respecting life from conception and the protection of the family as the central axis of society.”

He then announced: “Our Government has promoted the Public Policy for the Protection of Life and the Family as an Institution. Let me even share with you that Guatemala will be declared the Ibero-American Pro-Life Capital on March 9.”

The new public policy legislation was passed July 23 and is now the governing policy of the Ministry of Education.

In his speech, Giammattei stressed that "there is a great inter-institutional effort to strengthen the family and prevent early pregnancy."

In a joint statement, Ligia Briz, executive director of the AFI, and its legal and political director, José Estuardo Córdova, said that “the State of Guatemala has been characterized by defending life from the conception and the family as an institution” for several years and under different governments.

Among the outstanding examples, AFI highlighted the declarations made by the government “before the OAS and the UN in support of life” and the most recent signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women's Health and Strengthening the Family at an event held at the National Palace of Culture in the country's capital.

AFI also pointed to the "ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice that was made final in 2018, which prohibits the distribution of material that promotes abortion in any way."

The ruling is a landmark decision “for the defense of the unborn, making it clear that they are the subject of rights from the moment of conception," the AFI said.

In the Congress, the AFI statement continued, “pro-life training events have been organized, called by the Governing Board of Congress; the Parliamentary Front for Life was created; and the majority in the Congress has stopped the efforts of leftist politicians to advance the abortion agenda.”

The pro-life organization also highlighted that in Guatemala, Planned Parenthood was prevented from registering as an organization in the country, and that in 2017 the 'Women on Waves' ship was expelled from the country, which was intending to perform abortions by picking up women from the Guatemalan coasts and taking them to international waters.”

“None of this would be possible without the support and incessant work of the more than 45 associations that are affiliated with the AFI, which every day work for life from conception and in all its stages, as well as for the well-being of families, women, children, youths, adolescents and the elderly. This year alone, all the associations together impacted more than 3.5 million people!” the AFI said.

Finally, the organization noted that "Guatemalan society has spoken countless times in support of life and family, as in the mass marches of 2013, 2018 and recently the caravan in 2021."

"We will continue working tirelessly so that Guatemala continues to be the pro-life capital of Latin America!" the AFI statement concluded.

Other government efforts to help children 

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In his speech, President Giammattei said another "great effort of his Government" revolves around "preventing malnutrition in children, improving social programs and food security and promoting the Great Crusade for Nutrition that will allow a public-private effort to respond to this scourge.”

“Children represent the most precious treasure of a country, since they represent the future. Guatemala has taken special interest in them, especially the forced labor to which they can be subjected,” he said.

The Guatemalan government has already implemented the "National Strategy for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and Protection of Adolescent Workers." The strategy’s action plan covers the years 2021 to 2025 in conjunction with the General Government Policy, which seeks the implementation of strategic actions, strengthening inter-institutional coordination and intersectoral alliances, on the national level, and by establishing commitment with local and municipal governments.

In addition, the government of Guatemala each year has carried out awareness campaigns about the importance of ending child labor, which is why each year the World Day Against Child Labor is observed.

“It is important to mention that the different efforts of the State of Guatemala to eradicate child labor has allowed it to be recognized by the Department of Labor of the United States of America, for four years, as one of the countries with significant progress in the fight against child labor,” Giammattei noted in his speech. 

This story was originally published in Spanish by ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister news agency. It has been translated by CNA.

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