Guatemala’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Julio Ligorría?
Jose Julio Alejandro Ligorria Carballido presented his credentials as Guatemala’s ambassador to the United States to President Barack Obama on September 5, 2013. It’s the first ambassadorial posting for the longtime political consultant.
Ligorría was born August 20, 1956. He went to secondary school at Liceo Javier in Guatemala City and went on to attend Universidad Rafael Landivar, also in Guatemala City.
In 1979, Ligorría became chief executive officer of the Guatemala Managers’ Association, a group that provides training and support for managers in that country’s public and private sector. Ligorría in 1982 was made executive vice president of the Chamber of Free Enterprise, whose activities included polling on upcoming elections in Guatemala. During that period he also helped promote the first civic forum of candidates for the presidency of Guatemala.
Ligorría struck out on his own in 1985 to become a consultant in crisis management and public affairs. He founded a company, Interimage LatinoAmerica in 1988 and has been advising politicians and lobbying on behalf of corporations throughout Latin America since then. He has advised candidates in several Guatemalan presidential campaigns and acted as a crisis consultant for the presidents of Peru and Ecuador.
Ligorría also had many corporations as clients. He represented Enron when that company was trying to take over the electric utility for the city of Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. Enron won the contract. Ligorría has also worked for Coca-Cola, Universal and JPMorgan.
In addition to his consultancies, Ligorría is partner in a company, MAN B&W, selling German industrial engines to companies throughout Latin America. His business interests also include owning a company, UGAL, Inc., involved in distance learning in higher education.
The job that might have prepared him best for the ambassadorial post is his 1993 work as consultant to the Guatemalan Foreign Minister in the preparation of the relaunching of the plan for peace negotiations submitted to the United Nations.
Ligorría also hosted a television show in Guatemala and has given seminars in political strategy at several universities, including George Washington University.
As ambassador, one of Ligorría’s top priorities is to make Guatemala’s case for immigration reform in the United States, addressing the needs of the many Guatemalans in the U.S. without documentation.
Ligorria’s wife, Elizabeth, died of breast cancer in 2008 and left behind a book, Mañana Viviré, that detailed her experiences with terminal cancer.
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