GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Washington’s U.N. ambassador thanked Guatemala on Wednesday for its support in confronting Venezuela over concerns about democracy and human rights in the South American nation.
Speaking after meeting in Guatemala City with President Jimmy Morales, Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed gratitude for Morales’ “words and statements” about Venezuela.
“We have seen Venezuela go from what was a successful democratic country to now being ruled by an abusive dictator,” Haley said. “And we will continue to join with President Morales in fighting for the human rights and the abilities of the Venezuelan people to take back over their government.”
Officials loyal to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have scheduled an earlier than usual presidential election for April 22. The move is seen as disadvantageous for Maduro’s opponents, and most in the opposition are refusing to participate unless measures are taken to guarantee fairness and transparency.
Washington and several Latin American nations have criticized the election schedule, saying conditions for a fair vote are lacking.
Morales said that he and Haley spoke of their agreement on Venezuela and the need to strengthen democratic states, as well as anti-corruption efforts, measures to reduce migration and combatting gangs and drug trafficking.
Haley praised Guatemala’s progress on tackling corruption, gangs and drugs.
She met in the afternoon with Guatemala’s attorney general and the head of a U.N.-sponsored commission investigating corruption in the Central American nation, both of whom have been instrumental in pressing graft prosecutions.
Earlier, the ambassador also thanked Morales for supporting President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Guatemala was one of nine nations that sided with the United States in a U.N. vote condemning the decision. Morales’ government later announced it would also move its own diplomatic mission in Israel, though it has not given a timeline for a move.
Morales met in Washington in early February with Donald Trump, who at the time also expressed gratitude for his support on the embassy move.