Alejandro Giammattei

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Alejandro Giammattei
Formal portrait, 2021
51st President of Guatemala
Assumed office
14 January 2020
Vice PresidentGuillermo Castillo
Preceded byJimmy Morales
Personal details
Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla

(1956-03-09) 9 March 1956 (age 67)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Political partyVamos
SpouseRosana Cáceres (divorced)[1][2]
Children3, including Marcela
CabinetCabinet of Alejandro Giammattei

Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla (Spanish pronunciation: [aleˈxandɾo ʝamaˈtej];[a] born 9 March 1956) is a Guatemalan politician who has been serving as the 51st and current president of Guatemala since 2020.

He is a former director of the Guatemalan penitentiary system and participated in Guatemala's presidential elections in 2007, 2011, and 2015.

He won in the 2019 election,[3][4][5] and assumed office on 14 January 2020.[6][7]

Political career[edit]

Giammattei was the general coordinator of the electoral processes in 1985, 1988, and 1990. He gained recognition at both national and international level.

He has been a consultant to several companies since 2000.[8] After losing the mayoral elections, he was appointed director of the Guatemalan Penitentiary System in 2006. He ceased to be director of the Penitentiary System in 2008.[9] He had several conflicts and accusations about the Pavorreal case, leading to his incarceration for a short time.[10]

Giammattei has had three appearances in the general elections for President of Guatemala. The first was in 2007, with the then Official Party Great National Alliance GANA with strong participation. The second was in 2011 with the Social Action Center Party but it was dissolved due to not reaching the minimum percentage of votes required by the TSE. In the elections of 2015, he joined the presidency with the FUERZA party.[11]


Giammattei takes the oath of office, administered by president of the congress, Allan Rodríguez, January 14, 2020

Giammattei became the presidential candidate for the Vamos party in the 2019 presidential elections. He placed second in the first round behind Sandra Torres on 16 June 2019, with 13.95% of the vote, but won the second round against the latter on 11 August 2019, with 57.96% of the vote.[12]

On 14 January 2020, Giammattei assumed office as president of the Republic of Guatemala, succeeding Jimmy Morales.[13]

Political crisis in 2020[edit]

Guatemala experienced a political crisis in November 2020, following the adoption of a controversial budget. Most of the funds are earmarked for privately managed infrastructure and neglect the fight against poverty and child malnutrition, which affects nearly half of all children under five, while generating an increase in public debt. Congress was burnt down following the repression of a demonstration by the police, while the Vice President, Guillermo Castillo Reyes, called on Alejandro Giammattei to resign for "the good of the country ". This crisis came at a time when the government was also facing criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals quickly became saturated and the Ministry of Health was accused of withholding information about the pandemic.[14]

Repressive measures[edit]

At the end of July 2022, the police arrested journalist José Rubén Zamora, founder of the daily El Periódico, and searched the newspaper's headquarters, which had accused President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General Consuelo Porras of corruption. In the countryside, indigenous communities defending their territories and peasant movements are repressed. Selective assassinations of social leaders (peasants, environmentalists, trade unionists) continue year after year, with no reaction from the justice system. A new law on NGOs allows the president to ban any association he suspects of "disturbing public order" and provides mechanisms to financially stifle them.[15]

The International Federation for Human Rights, the World Organisation Against Torture and other NGOs warn in 2022 about the "strengthening of authoritarian rule" in Guatemala and declare that the country "experiencing an alarming phenomenon of capture and control of public institutions by economic and political elites".[16]

Legislation against abortion and homosexuality[edit]

In 2022, the Guatemalan congress passed a bill that would increase prison sentences for abortion, banning sex education in schools and declared homosexuals "minority groups incompatible with Christian morality".[17] While originally supportive, Giammattei would later reverse his position on the bill on 11 March 2022, announcing that he would veto the bill unless Congress pulled it back, citing that it violated two international conventions that Guatemala was a signatory to as well as the Guatemalan constitution.[18] On 15 March, Congress indefinitely suspended consideration of the bill.[19]

2022 Huehuetenango attack[edit]

On July 30, 2022, while Gianmattei was visiting some places in the Huehuetenango Department, one of them not far from the Mexican border, there was an incident between security forces and armed people in a vehicle. While initial reports presumed the incident was an assassination attempt,[20] later reports indicated that Giammattei was never at risk, neither targeted by the attack, nor even close to it.[21]

Suspicions of corruption[edit]

In July 2021, Alejandro Giammattei's Attorney General, María Consuelo Porras, dismissed the head of the Special Prosecutor's Office against impunity, Juan Francisco Sandoval, since he intended to investigate corruption cases linked to the president. He left the country shortly afterwards to 'protect [his] life and integrity.' This controversial decision was followed by demonstrations calling on the president to resign. The Attorney General subsequently stepped up her crackdown on judges, lawyers and prosecutors linked to the fight against corruption; several former investigators of the Special Prosecutor's Office against Impunity (FECI) and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) were arrested in 2022 and others forced into exile or else continually harassed.[22][23]

A link to these juridical persecutions appeared in February 2022, when the Salvadoran investigative website El Faro revealed that Alejandro Giammattei was accused of 'financing his [2019] campaign with bribes from a construction company'. The Guatemalan president is said to have negotiated with José Luis Benito, a minister in Jimmy Morales' government, 'a contribution of $2.6 million to his electoral campaign (...) In exchange for this money Giammattei promised the minister (...) to keep him in office for a year so that he could continue to implement a multi-million dollar bribery scheme in road construction and maintenance contracts'.[24]

End of presidency[edit]

A sharp increase in violent crime and a punishingly high cost of living have made Alejandro Giammattei deeply unpopular.[25] In January 2022, halfway through his term, Giammattei had a 27% approval rating according to a CID Gallup poll, one of the lowest among the continent's presidents.[26] In 2023, only 2.9% of respondents rate the Giammattei administration as good.[27] Emigration to the United States increased sharply under his presidency.[25]

Political views[edit]

Giammattei has vowed to bring back the death penalty and pledged to "crush violent gangs, fight poverty to stop migration and end 'disgusting' corruption."[28] He is against same-sex marriage and abortion, and supports using the military for civilian security.[29]

During his visit to Israel in December 2019, he pledged to have Lebanese Hezbollah declared a "terrorist organization", declaring that "the friends of Israel are the friends of Guatemala, and the enemies of Israel are our enemies."[30] A month earlier he had also pledged to align Guatemala's policy of Israeli settlements to that of the United States.[31]

In 2019, he called the Venezuelan government a "dictatorship" and said he wanted to maintain the same diplomatic line as his predecessor Jimmy Morales towards Venezuela, a country with which Guatemala has severed diplomatic relations.[32]

During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, he became the first Latin American leader to visit Ukraine since 24 February as well as in the last 12 years. Visiting towns such as Bucha,[33] he called on the world community to "not observe passively."[34]

Personal life[edit]

Giammattei married Rosana Cáceres on 11 February 1989, and they have three children, including Marcela.[8] Giammattei and Cáceres were separated by the time Giammattei launched his presidential campaign in 2019.[35][36] As result of the divorce, his daughter Marcela serves as First Lady of Guatemala.[1][2] He cites Mahatma Gandhi as his most admired world figure.[37] Giammattei has multiple sclerosis and uses crutches in order to walk.[38]

Giammattei's paternal grandfather was Italian, and Giammattei obtained Italian citizenship through jure sanguinis, in addition to his Guatemalan citizenship by birthright.[39]



  1. ^ In isolation, Giammattei is pronounced [ɟʝamaˈtej].


  1. ^ a b "Hija de Giammattei acompañará a su padre en la toma de posesión". Soy502 (in Spanish). 10 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Hija de Giammattei tomará las funciones de Primera Dama". El Puerto Informa (in Spanish). 10 January 2020. Archived from the original on 16 May 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Elecciones Guatemala 2011". 3 March 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Biografía « Alejandro Giammattei | Presidente 2012 – 2016". 30 January 2012. Archived from the original on 30 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Guatemala conservative wins presidential election: electoral tribunal". Reuters. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  6. ^ Malkin, Elisabeth (11 August 2019). "Alejandro Giammattei, a Conservative, Wins Guatemala's Presidency". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Conservative elected Guatemalan president". BBC News. 12 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Alejandro Giammattei". 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012.
  9. ^ Desdin, Manuel. "Álvaro Colom gana la presidencia".
  10. ^ "Guatemala arresta a ex director de cárceles por ejecución reos". Reuters. 14 August 2010.
  11. ^ "Pavónlo lleva10 meses a prisión" (PDF). 25 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  12. ^ Abbott, Jeff. "Alejandro Giammattei wins Guatemala's presidential race". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  13. ^ "Alejandro Giammattei, Guatemala's President-Elect, To Take Office". NPR. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  14. ^ "Guatemalan VP urges president to resign with him". 21 November 2020.
  15. ^ Daniel, Gatti. "La ira en las entrañas del odio". Brecha.
  16. ^ "Guatemala: A country resisting, a State torturing". International Federation for Human Rights. 8 April 2022.
  17. ^ Salinas Maldonado, Carlos (10 March 2022). "Guatemala endurece su legislación contra el aborto y declara a la comunidad LGBTI "incongruente con la moral cristiana"". El País (in Spanish).
  18. ^ Pérez D., Sonia (11 March 2022). "Guatemala president threatens veto of abortion legislation". Associated Press.
  19. ^ Stone, Charleigh (28 March 2022). "Anti-Abortion, Anti-Homosexual Legislation Blocked in Guatemala – The Diplomatic Envoy". The Diplomatic Envoy. Seton Hall University. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  20. ^ "Ejército informa de un supuesto enfrentamiento con grupo armado en Huehuetenango". elPeriodico (in Spanish). elPeriodico de Guatemala. 30 July 2022. Archived from the original on 31 July 2022. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Guatemala: Un herido en incidente con guardia presidencial" (in Spanish). Associated Press. 31 July 2022. Según las versiones oficiales no parece que Giammattei haya estado alguna vez en peligro, fuera el objetivo del ataque o estuviera cerca de él.
  22. ^ "Guatemala draws fire for new anti-corruption prosecutor". Associated Press. 3 August 2021.
  23. ^ "Le Guatemala accentue la répression contre les magistrats anticorruption". Le Monde (in French). 18 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Testigo acusa a Giammattei de financiar su campaña con sobornos de constructoras". February 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2023.
  25. ^ a b "Guatemala Picks a New President: What You Need to Know". The New York Times. 25 June 2023.
  26. ^ "Giammattei cumple mitad de su mandato en Guatemala marcado por impopularidad". SWI (in Spanish). 14 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Encuesta Libre 2023: Ciudadanía reprueba gestión de Alejandro Giammattei" (in Spanish). 5 May 2023.
  28. ^ "Corruption tainted Guatemala set to elect new president". France 24. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Alejandro Giammattei: La educación es el mejor anticonceptivo – Prensa Libre" (in Spanish). 9 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  30. ^ "Guatemala declarará a Hezbollah organización terrorista". 8 December 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Guatemala's Giammattei: Time to recognize Jewish people's right to Israel". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  32. ^, La (12 June 2023). "Le président élu du Guatemala refoulé à son entrée au Venezuela".
  33. ^ "Zelensky meets with Guatemalan president in Kyiv".
  34. ^ "Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a meeting with the President of Guatemala who visited our country for the first time in the history of bilateral relations". Official website of the President of Ukraine. 21 April 2023. Retrieved 22 April 2023.
  35. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  36. ^ "Giammattei, el médico derechista que gobernará Guatemala" [Giammattei, the right-wing doctor to govern Guatemala]. El Periódico (in Spanish). Agence France-Presse. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  37. ^ "Guatemalans elect Alejandro Giammattei in a lacklustre presidential vote". The Economist. 12 August 2019.
  38. ^ Pérez D., Sonia (12 August 2019). "Conservative Alejandro Giammattei Wins Guatemala Elections". Time. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 12 August 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  39. ^ "Giammattei dice que no está obligado a renunciar a sus nacionalidades guatemalteca e italiana" [Giammattei says that he is not obliged to renounce his Guatemalan and Italian nationalities]. Emisoras Unidas [es] (in Spanish). 13 October 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  40. ^ "President Tsai welcomes President Alejandro Giammattei of Republic of Guatemala to Taiwan". 20 April 2023. Retrieved 8 May 2023.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New political party Vamos nominee for President of Guatemala
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by President of Guatemala