U.S. Relations With Guatemala

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Fact Sheet
February 16, 2018

More information about Guatemala is available on the Guatemala Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Guatemala in 1849 following its independence from Spain and the later dissolution of a federation of Central American states.

Beginning in 1960, forces carried out armed insurrection against the Guatemalan government. Peace accords ending the 36-year internal conflict were signed in 1996.

U.S. policy objectives in Guatemala include:

  • Addressing the underlying drivers of illegal migration;
  • Supporting the institutionalization of democracy;
  • Encouraging respect for human rights and the rule of law, and the efficient functioning of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was inaugurated in 2007;
  • Supporting broad-based economic growth and sustainable development and maintaining mutually beneficial trade and commercial relations, including ensuring that benefits of the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) reach all sectors of the Guatemalan populace;
  • Cooperating to combat money laundering, corruption, narcotics trafficking, alien-smuggling, trafficking in persons (TIP), and other transnational crime, including through programs funded under the Central America Regional Security Initiative;
  • Supporting Central American integration through support for resolution of border/territorial disputes.
  • Reinforcing the government’s own economic development and political reform initiative, the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity to be self-reliant in addressing the underlying drivers of illegal migration and illicit trafficking of goods and people; and
  • Improving the business climate

U.S. Assistance to Guatemala

The U.S. Strategy for Central America (Strategy) guides U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance in the region. The Strategy is a bipartisan, multi-year U.S. government plan covering all seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama). The Strategy aims to secure U.S. borders and protect American citizens by addressing the security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal immigration and transnational crime, while increasing opportunities for U.S. and other businesses. The Strategy focuses on three overarching lines of action: 1) promoting prosperity, 2) enhancing security, and 3) improving governance.

U.S. prosperity and security relies on prosperity and security in Guatemala. Guatemala continues to face formidable challenges: weak governance, endemic poverty, food insecurity, severe violence, citizen insecurity, and inequitable access to economic opportunities and social services. These challenges drive illegal migration and contribute to transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). U.S. efforts aim to protect American citizens by addressing the security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal migration and illicit trafficking of people and goods. In addition, the Mission seeks stronger democratic institutions, the rule of law, and economic development in Guatemala that will improve stability and enhance opportunities for U.S. firms.

The Strategy supports and complements the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity (A4P), a joint initiative adopted by the Northern Triangle Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In 2016-2017, the Northern Triangle governments committed $5.4 billion of their own funds to support A4P initiatives to develop opportunities for their people, improve public safety, enhance access to the legal system, and strengthen institutions.

U.S. efforts to support Guatemala’s Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity contributes to the government of Guatemala taking greater responsibility for directly addressing the underlying causes of insecurity, illegal migration, illicit trafficking of people and goods, a weak business climate, and the threat of transnational criminal organizations.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States is one of Guatemala's largest trading partners. The two countries are parties to CAFTA-DR, which aims to facilitate trade and investment and further regional integration by eliminating tariffs, opening markets, reducing barriers to services, and promoting transparency. CAFTA-DR contains a chapter on investment similar to a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. U.S. exports to Guatemala include oil, agricultural products, articles donated for relief and low-value shipments, and machinery. U.S. imports from Guatemala include agricultural products, apparel, gold, and silver.

Guatemala's Membership in International Organizations

Guatemala and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

Bilateral Representation

Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Guatemala maintains an embassy in the United States at 2220 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-745-4952).

More information about Guatemala is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Guatemala Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Guatemala Page
U.S. Embassy
USAID Guatemala Page
History of U.S. Relations With Guatemala
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Guatemala
Travel Information