Guatemala Public Announcement
Issued by US Department of State
Apr 07, 2003
This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens to the
possibility of civil disturbances and blockades throughout Guatemala. This
supersedes the Public Announcement of February 26, 2003, and expires on
December 1, 2003.
Roadblocks and other demonstrations by various groups and in multiple
locations frequently appear in Guatemala with little notice. In June 2002,
former members of Guatemalan civil defense patrol, many of them armed,
blocked all major roads in the Petén region, including the airport in
Flores, and forcibly detained some tourists. Promised payments to the patrol
groups have not materialized, and they are threatening new demonstrations
throughout Guatemala that may impede the ability to move freely and safely
within and into the country.
A successful teachers' strike in February 2003, which blockaded both
international airports and most major highways leading into Guatemala from
neighboring countries, may encourage other groups to use these methods.
Guatemala's presidential elections are scheduled for November 2003; protest
activities by a variety of groups can be anticipated throughout the months
approaching the election.
Most demonstrations in Guatemala have been peaceful, but increasing numbers
are turning violent. Travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are
taking place. The use of roadblocks and/or blocking of public facilities,
including the international airports, has increased, and demonstrators may
prevent tourists caught behind the blockades from leaving. U.S. citizens
visiting or residing in Guatemala should monitor local media reports and
consult hotel personnel and tour guides to see if there is protest activity
that justifies suspension of travel. U.S. citizens may also consult with the
Consular section of the U.S. Embassy for updated security information.
For further information on travel to Guatemala, please consult the
Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet, available on the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
http://travel.state.gov. The U.S. Embassy
is located in Guatemala at 7-01
Avenida la Reforma, Zone 10; telephone (011-502-331-1541; website at