Guatemala and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales: Friends in Freedom

When voters went to the polls and elected Donald Trump, they weren’t just picking an American leader — they were choosing an international one. As anyone who’s traveled outside the United States knows, most of the developed world pays more attention to American politics than some of our own citizens do. They understand: Where America goes, others follow.

Unlike Barack Obama, whose idea of diplomacy was international bullying, Donald Trump has taken a decidedly different tact: lead with courage, and empower others to do the same. So when the White House announced its decision to move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it wasn’t just the right decision — it was an influential one. While Arab nations blasted the U.S. for the move, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was emboldened to make his country the first to follow President Trump in recognizing Jerusalem. In 1948 when President Truman recognized the state of Israel, Guatemala followed suit becoming the second nation to acknowledge the rebirth of the ancient nation.

“For 70 years, we have maintained relations with Israel,” Morales said in late December, “which has always been our ally.” As some people remember, Guatemala was instrumental in persuading other Latin American nations to vote for Israeli sovereignty back in 1947. Many believe that if it weren’t for this Central American country, that resolution could have turned out quite differently. Now, seven decades later, Morales is building on that relationship, informing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and the world – his intent to move their own embassy to the undivided capital.

This week, I had the opportunity to congratulate the Guatemalan president in person, as part of a small delegation of evangelicals who were invited to the country to discuss our nations’ shared interest in defending Israel. The small group of evangelical leaders, organized by my friend Mario Bramnick, President of Latino Coalition for Israel, included (among others): former Congresswoman and FRC board member Michele Bachmann, Pastor Ramiro Peña, Senior Pastor, Christ the King Baptist Church, Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Church, and Lourdes Aguirre, LCI Director.

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We had the opportunity — not only to meet with President Morales — but present him FRC’s Defender of Faith, Family, and Freedom Citation at a special state dinner. We wanted to honor him for standing with Israel, but also for aggressively defending the unborn. As part of the trip, we also had extensive meetings with other members of his cabinet to discuss a number of issues and concerns that we share with his country.

I was very encouraged to learn more about President Morales’ parallel efforts to President Trump in seeking to protect and enhance the religious expression of Guatemala’s citizens. So it’s no wonder that — like the attacks on President Trump — the Left is also attacking President Morales as he sets an example for other world’s leaders in standing up for biblical values.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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