On Sunday, Guatemala announced its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem—making it the first country to follow America’s lead in doing so. Honduras, Togo, Paraguay, Romania, and Slovakia are reportedly considering doing the same. Rafael Ahren explains that the decision comes on the heels of a long history of Israeli-Guatemalan friendship:
Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Guatemala was [also] one of the first countries to recognize the nascent state of Israel [after it declared its independence in 1948]. . . .
In the 1970s, Israel was said to have assisted the military juntas ruling Guatemala a great deal in the area of counterinsurgency, providing them with advice and equipment. . . . Ties [have] also been strong in the fields of civilian technology and tourism, among others. . . . In December 2013, Otto Fernando Perez Molina became the first president of Guatemala to visit Israel. . . .
Fast forward to 2015, when [Guatemala’s President Jimmy] Morales—a former comedian who’d never held political office—won the country’s presidential elections with 67 percent of the votes. Morales, a devout evangelical Christian, has . . . called his country’s relationship with Israel “excellent.”
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