Guatemala’s move of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Wednesday was the culmination of longstanding friendly ties between the two nations.
It’s also seen by many as an attempt to curry favor with the administration of US President Donald Trump, which two days earlier inaugurated its own embassy in disputed Jerusalem. Perhaps most important, it is considered an easy domestic victory for Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, whose government is beset by economic problems, gang violence and corruption allegations that continue to dog him and those close to him.
“I think it’s driven much more by domestic factors in Guatemala, the right-wing evangelical support for both Morales and their support for the state of Israel,” said Michael Allison, a political scientist specializing in Central America at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. “Morales and many in the Guatemalan political and economic elite were in favor of moving their embassy,” Allison said.
“They would not have done it without the US doing it first, but it is not as if they were doing something that went against what they wanted to do.”