In Guatemala, strikes, protests, and blockades have been taking place for 17 days on the main roads to demand the resignation of Attorney General Consuelo Porras Argueta, who President-elect Bernardo Arévalo de León believes is leading an attempted coup to prevent her assumption of the presidency, scheduled for January.
Over the course of the days, groups of university students, professionals, social organizations, merchants, and neighborhood committees became active throughout the country to defend democracy and demand respect for the popular will.
By Friday evening, the picketers had multiplied, and the country was paralyzed. Porras rules out submitting her resignation, and the Public Ministry assures that it “continues working without inconvenience.”
November 13: IATA Urges Guatemalan Authorities to Ensure Safe Air Travel Amid Protests
Guatemala’s political and social climate is increasingly complex, with around a hundred roads obstructed and continuous protests for over ten days, impacting air travel. In response, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Guatemalan officials to take action to protect the safety of passengers, crew, and flight operations.
As outlined in their statement, the road blockades are preventing passengers and crew from accessing La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala’s primary airport. Additionally, these obstructions have disrupted the fuel supply chain, posing a threat to the ongoing operation of passenger and cargo flights, ultimately affecting the country’s global connectivity.
“We urge the authorities to adopt measures that allow the continuation of flight operations and thus ensure that the functioning of this important pillar of the Guatemalan economy is not disrupted“, concluded from IATA.
Is It Safe To Visit Guatemala Right Now?
Visiting tourist hotspots in Guatemala is safe but travelers are recommended to exercise a high degree of caution. Nevertheless, due to roadblocks, it’s very difficult to travel between destinations in Guatemala and it can have a very negative impact on the travel itinerary.
Lea Darányi, a traveler who had to recently cancel her trip and depart from Guatemala, has shared her insights and reasons for the trip cancellation: “I planned a great trip in Guatemala, visiting Mayan ruins in Tikal, Flores, exploring Lago Atitlan, Semuc Champey and hiking volcanos near Antigua. Out of this, the only thing I could do in my shortened 3-day trip was Antigua and the volcano hike, before I had to buy a new ticket and leave for Costa Rica because of the roadblocks that made travel impossible.”
“Guatemala is not unsafe, but I would not recommend it to tourists at the moment. All the roads are blocked country-wise, some even all night. Taxi drivers can only take you at 1 or 2 am and nothing is guaranteed. Even the normal 40-minute ride to the airport from Antigua was 1.5 hours and we left at 2 am. If one wants to enjoy Guatemala, this is not the time, we have to go back once the government and people come to an agreement and roads are free again.”
Due to the high rate of violent crime, roadblocks, strikes, and demonstrations occurring throughout the country, travelers to Guatemala should proceed with a high degree of caution when in the country.
Demonstrations and blockades
There have been more protests and blockades throughout the nation since October 5, 2023. This may make it more difficult for you to travel safely through Guatemala.
It is conceivable that these incidents will continue for several more days. For the latest information, please refer to:
The scheduled date for the presidential transition is January 14, 2024. Protests may occur before the transition, particularly in Guatemala City. There could be travel delays due to obstructions and road closures. There will likely be more police and military personnel.
Foreigners who participate in demonstrations run the risk of arrest and deportation or of being denied entry to Guatemala in the future.
Steer clear of locations where protests and sizable assemblies are occurring.
Adhere to the guidance of local officials.
Stay tuned to local media outlets for updates regarding ongoing demonstrations.
Guatemala is ranked at level 3: “Reconsider Travel”
Reconsider your travel plans to Guatemala due to crime. There is an increased risk in certain regions.
Do not travel to:
San Marcos Department (excluding the city of San Marcos) is affected by crime.
Huehuetenango Department (excluding the city of Huehuetenango) faces crime-related concerns.
Zone 18 and the city of Villa Nueva in Guatemala City are areas with a crime presence.
In Guatemala, violent crimes such as gang activity, drug trafficking, car thefts, armed robberies, and extortion are commonplace. The low arrest and conviction rates may be due to the fact that local police do not have the resources to effectively combat crime. Guatemala’s National Assistance Program for Tourists (PROATUR) provides travelers with around-the-clock advice and assistance in emergencies. PROATUR also provides greater security in areas popular with tourists. The call center is available 24/7 at 1500 or +502-2290-2800. It is staffed by Spanish and English speakers.