After Lula´s victory in Brazil, Guatemala takes the mantle of leadership as the foremost pro-American country in Latin America.
Once Lula assumes power, the only countries not being governed by leftwing governments non-aligned with U.S. interests in South America would be Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador and Suriname. One has to take a broader look at the region of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as a whole, not just South America as a subset, to see avenues of hope for any semblance of U.S. influence in the region. As a proven, steadfast ally of the U.S., Guatemala is the last, best hope for the U.S. to promote true, consensus-based American interests in the region.
History repeats itself. This also happened during the Cold War. Guatemala played the role of the last line of defense against Soviet-backed communist encroachment in Central America, all the while being lambasted by Democrats during and, especially, after its war against Marxist guerrillas. Guatemala´s reward was American betrayal. The U.S. government has supported the war-crimes show trials against Guatemalan military leaders, precisely the men who fought in furtherance of stated U.S. interests at the time. To add insult to injury, the U.S. government has also taken up the cause of attacking the Guatemalan private sector, which is distinctly pro-American, as predatory elites whose influence must be abolished. With friends like America, who needs enemies?
Notwithstanding America´s ignominious betrayal, Guatemala today continues to make common cause with the U.S. government on the most important themes of current U.S. foreign policy. Guatemala´s unwavering support for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine are cases in point. After losing Brazil, the game has changed for the U.S. The U.S. has no rational choice but to reset its relations with Guatemala. The U.S. needs to recognize Guatemala´s importance to its own foreign policy interests in what little part of the region south of its border where it still retains some degree of influence.
A little context will help to put the situation into light. Lula´s victory in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election last Sunday should definitely worry the U.S. government, as the non-aligned countries represent 94% of South America´s GDP, and 65% of the GDP in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Even more worrisome is that Mexico, also under a leftwing non-aligned government, represents 65% of the GDP of LAC outside of South America. In other words, the countries of LAC that do not align with the U.S. represent about 90% of the economic power of LAC, once the smaller non-aligned countries of Central America and the Caribbean are taken into account.
China has displaced the U.S. as the main trading partner of South America, and is making a run after Central America. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is asleep at the wheel, funding drag queen shows in Ecuador, instead of focusing on supporting private initiative and economic development with a laser focus. From a strategic standpoint, this is both silly and dumb. This radical progressivism has already driven millions of Hispanic Americans away from the Democratic party in 2022. The same will happen in Latin America, where the populace generally finds these types of values and activities to be shockingly degenerate and frankly abhorrent.
Once Republicans take the House in November, they should exercise their political power to question USAID authorities and pressure them to eliminate all disbursements in Guatemala destined for political activism on issues that do not concord with the values of the majority of Guatemalans, or those of Americans for that matter. All such monies should be directed towards economic development, working with the private sector, and not NGO´s or astroturf “business groups” that produce no substantial employment and will not move the needle on illegal immigration.
Dr. Nicholas Virzi has a PhD in Political Science and Sociology from Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. He holds a Master’s in Economics from the University of California, San Francisco, and a double degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in International Economic Relations and Political Science. On that account, Dr. Virzi is an economist, political expert, and sociologist, with an integral vision of political economy.
Active in the private sector, Dr. Virzi has been the Director and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce (Amcham), as well as Chairman of its Investment Promotion Committee. He participates actively in the Academic Sector of the Private Council of Competitiveness. He is also editorial advisor of Revista Gerencia, of the AGG, Revista Perspectiva, and Revista Business Horizons.
Apart from being an Economic Consultant for different entities, organisms, and companies of regional and global prestige, Dr. Virzi is also a well-known Professor of Economics and Politics in different universities of the country, such as Universidad Rafael Landívar, Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Universidad del Istmo, among others.
Dr. Virzi is a speaker in the business, economic, and strategic areas for public and private entities, as well as research centers and universities in the country. He is co-author of several books and author of articles in national and international academic journals