Republic of Guatemala
Brazil’s cordial relations with Guatemala span over a century, gaining momentum from the mid-2000s onward. Political and economic contacts have been strengthened in several areas, especially with Brazil’s participation in Guatemalan infrastructure and telecommunications projects, technical and humanitarian cooperation and agreements in the multilateral field.
The establishment of the bilateral Political Consultations Mechanism, with its first meeting in May 2018, in Guatemala City, represented the political will for a rapprochement between the two countries and should have a positive impact on several issues of the bilateral agenda. On that occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding between the diplomatic academies of the two countries was signed.
Guatemalan authorities have expressed appreciation for the technical cooperation received from Brazil pursuant to the Basic Scientific and Technical Agreement signed in 1976, and expressed their interest in expanding the projects. In April 2018, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) proposed that the Guatemalan side renegotiates the draft Cooperation Basic Agreement to update it according to the recent changes in the Brazilian legislation, such as the Law of Access to Information. The proposed draft agreement also aims to expedite the procedures for implementing new initiatives.
Guatemala remains in a territorial dispute with Belize, claiming an area of 12,272 km² (4,786 square miles) of the territory currently controlled by that neighboring country. In a referendum held in April 2018, the people of Guatemala decided to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice. Since 2003, the Organization of American States has conducted talks between Belize and Guatemala. In 2003, the organization opened an office in the “Adjacency Zone” – a strip extending to one kilometer on either side of the “Adjacency Line”, corresponding to temporary boundaries between the two countries. In the same year, the OAS established a Group of Friends with the purpose to provide political, operational and financial support to the process. Brazil is a member of the Group and has made donations to the OAS Peace Fund. Its latest donation, in 2009, totaled 25,000 US dollars.
Trade exchange between Brazil and Guatemala is below its record high, registered in 2005, when it reached 336.6 million US dollars. In 2017, bilateral trade totaled US$ 298 million, 27% higher than in 2016 (234.1 million US dollars). Brazilian exports amounted to US$ 266.6 million, accounting for 89% of the total trade flow. This result represents an increase compared to 2016, when exports reached 194.9 million USD. In 2017, Brazilian imports totaled only 31.4 million US dollars, an amount 19.8% higher than 2016 (US$ 39.2 million). Brazil noticeably has a favorable trade balance with Guatemala, with a surplus of US$ 235.2 million in 2017.
Chronology of Bilateral Relations
1906 – President Afonso Pena signs Decree creating the Legations of Brazil in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama
1953 – The Legation is elevated to Embassy status
2005 – Visit of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to Guatemala, the first one of a Brazilian mandatary
2008 – Visit of president Álvaro Colom to Brazil
2013 – The foreign minister of the Republic of Guatemala, Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, visits Brazil (Brasília, April 15)
2013 – Guatemala announces the adoption of the Japanese-Brazilian digital television standard (ISDB-T)
2014 – Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, to Brazil (Brasília, August 25)
2016 – Third meeting of the Working Group of Brazil-Guatemala Technical Cooperation
2018 – First meeting of the Political Consultations Mechanism
2020 – Visit of Minister Ernesto Araújo to Guatemala (City of Guatemala, February 19)