OAS names mediators for Guatemala conflict that threatens transfer of power

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) -The Organization of American States (OAS) on Saturday named the representatives that will lead its mission to mediate between Guatemalan officials and street protesters seeking an orderly transfer to power to President-elect Bernardo Arevalo, according to a statement published on social media site X.

OAS head Luis Almagro previously said late on Friday that he accepted the invitation from Guatemala’s government that asked to achieve “consensus among different sectors” of the country.

Former Minister of Defense of Uruguay Luis Rosadilla, and the OAS Secretary of Access to Rights and Equity Maricarmen Plata will lead the mission.

“The aforementioned mission will seek to meet with the main actors of the social and political situation that occupies the country and will present specific recommendations,” said the document published Saturday.

These suggestions would have the purpose of allowing the Guatemalan Government “to adopt urgent political decisions that lead to the effective solution of the issues that are the subject of the social protest that is currently developing,” it added.

Tens of thousands took to Guatemala’s streets this week, demanding the resignation of powerful senior prosecutors accused of working to undermine Arevalo’s ability to take office.

Rosadilla and Plata will travel to Guatemala City “at the earliest possible date,” and they will be joined by the representative of the OAS office in Guatemala, Diego Paz, the organization specified.

Arevalo was elected in a landslide in August, but since then Attorney General Consuelo Porras has intensified efforts to disqualify Arevalo’s anti-graft Movimiento Semilla party and ordered raids on the electoral authority’s offices, seizing ballots.

Porras’ office alleges the party’s registration was tainted by illegalities six years ago, but her investigation was only launched after Arevalo’s unexpectedly strong second-place finish in June’s first-round vote.

The attorney general has been accused of corruption by the U.S. government.

During the weekend, the protests had spread to more than 60 locations across Central America’s most-populous country, led by indigenous groups, students, teachers and medical workers.

As part of the steps taken for the transition process, the Guatemalan government said on Saturday that it set up offices for the teams of the elected authorities to “get to know the different institutions and facilitate the communication process between the teams.”

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City; Writing by David Alire Garcia and Anna-Catherine Brigida; editing by William Mallard)