Kamala Harris lands in Guatemala for first trip as VP

World Monday 07/June/2021 17:04 PM
By: DW
Kamala Harris lands in Guatemala for first trip as VP

US Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Guatemala City on Sunday as part of her first foreign trip since she took office.

US President Joe Biden's administration is expected to announce new steps to fight smuggling and trafficking in Guatemala, a senior administration official said Sunday.

Guatemala's Foreign Affairs Pedro Brolo and US Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp welcomed Harris at about 6:30 p.m. local time.

Harris was initially meant to arrive in Guatemala earlier in the day, but her flight was forced to return to the US following technical issues, according to officials.

Besides bilateral discussions with the two countries' leaders, Harris is set to meet community leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Harris will later fly to Mexico for talks.

US aims to tackle migration, investment and corruption

The vice president is seeking to secure commitments from Guatemala and Mexico for further cooperation on border security and economic investment.

Harris also aims to tackle corruption, which has plagued the region for years.

During a meeting in May with Guatemalan justice leaders, Harris said corruption was a "significant deterrent" to economic investment there, adding that "injustice is a root cause of migration.''

Harris had laid out an approach focused on creating better living conditions in the region through humanitarian and economic aid.

She announced additional aid of $310 million (€255 million) to support refugees, and secured investment commitments from several companies to promote economic opportunity.