Guatemala’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Gladys Marithza Ruiz de Vielman?

Saturday, November 12, 2016
Gladys Marithza Ruiz de Vielman

Gladys Marithza Ruiz de Vielman, a former Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs, presented her credentials as her country’s ambassador to the United States on June 27, 2016. It’s her second ambassadorial posting.


Ruiz de Vielman was born and raised in Guatemala but is very familiar with the United States. She graduated from Our Lady of Mercy (now Mercy) High School in Detroit, Michigan. She then returned to Guatemala for college, graduating with a law degree from Universidad Rafael Landivar in 1973.


She began her own law firm the following year. In addition, beginning in 1975, she returned to her alma mater as a law professor. In the late 1980s, Ruiz de Vielman began working on development projects, via the World Bank and other organizations, in Guatemala.


Ruiz de Vielman was named Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1994. She also worked as a negotiator in the talks to form the World Trade Organization (WTO). Much of her work on the team centered on banana quotas between Guatemala and the European Union. Ruiz de Vielman was minister only into 1995 but continued to serve as a special adviser to the ministry for years. In 1998, her teaching took her to Washington’s Georgetown University, where she gave seminars on WTO dispute resolution.


Ruiz de Vielman was named Guatemala’s ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2000. The same year, she began to serve two years on the board of directors of the WTO’s advisory center. Ruiz de Vielman also was her country’s representative to the International Coffee Organization, International Sugar Organization and International Maritime Organization during this period.


She returned to Guatemala in 2003 and made an unsuccessful bid for the vice-presidency of the country. Ruiz de Vielman continued her private law practice and worked on national issues. In 2004, she helped found the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG in Spanish) which worked to stop clandestine security groups in the country. In 2009, she became coordinator of the National Legal Group, which advises the Foreign Ministry regarding the claim by Guatemala in its border dispute against Belize before the International Court of Justice.


Ruiz de Vielman speaks Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Country’s First Female Envoy to U.S. Tackles Migration, Impunity (by Larry Luxner, Washington Diplomat)

Official Biography


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