Center-left former congressman Bernardo Arévalo has emerged victorious as the newly elected president of Guatemala, marking a significant shift in the country’s political landscape. Arévalo campaigned on a strong anti-corruption platform, defeating Sandra Torres, a former first lady who has been plagued by corruption allegations.
What sets Arévalo apart from his predecessors is his unique history with Jews and Israel. Despite the small Jewish population in Guatemala, his family has had a long-standing connection with the Jewish state. His father, Juan Jose Arévalo, served as Guatemala’s first democratically-elected leader and played a crucial role in recognizing Israel in 1948. Moreover, he even served as Guatemala’s ambassador to Israel, strengthening the ties between the two nations.
Building on his family’s legacy, Bernardo Arévalo studied at the prestigious Hebrew University of Jerusalem, forging deep friendships during his time in Israel. In fact, he has a good command of Hebrew and recently gained attention when a TikTok video of him conversing in the language went semi-viral.
Despite his affinity for Israel, Arévalo does not blindly support all the policies of the current Israeli government. He recently met with officials at the Palestinian embassy in Guatemala to discuss the importance of a two-state solution based on international law and peace negotiations. This move is indicative of his commitment to creating a lasting and just solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One question that remains unanswered is the future of Guatemala’s embassy. In 2018, former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales controversially moved the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States’ lead. It is unclear whether Arévalo will maintain this position or revert to the previous arrangement of having the embassy in Tel Aviv.
With his election, Bernardo Arévalo brings a fresh perspective to the presidency, not only advocating for anti-corruption measures but also highlighting the importance of international relations. As his tenure commences, all eyes will be on his actions regarding Israel and the region, as he seeks to navigate the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while ensuring Guatemala’s interests are upheld. Stay tuned for further updates on his stance and decisions regarding the embassy issue.
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