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Guatemala 2014 Blog: President Pérez Molina's Remarks

President Otto Pérez Molina (Image: José Pablo Martínez)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina concluded AS/COA's 2014 Guatemala conference by giving an overview of the country's recent accomplishments, ranging from infrastructure development to reducing crime. He also outlined remaining challenges for the country.

First, he underscored the importance of regional integration in Central America, saying that it is necessary in order for Guatemala to compete on a global level. Pérez Molina explained that bilateral discussions with Central American leaders focus on this issue. He also noted efforts to improve the country's energy markets by building a gas pipeline to Mexico and a goal to lower energy costs.

On security, the president said the country made a "systemic change" over the past two and a half years, and aims to reduce the homicide rate to 30 murders per 100,000 this year. Guatemala is expanding its police force and boosting its security presence on its borders to fight transnational crime, he added.

Infrastructure investments are key, especially to further integrate Central American trade and strengthen ties to Mexico. Guatemala will create two more crossing points with Mexico, he said. Expanding connectivity and reducing the price of electricity are also priorities, he explained.

Guatemala's great challenge is to reduce poverty, he concluded, noting that Guatemalans deserve to live with dignity.

Watch the video of his remarks: