South Texas congressman awarded Guatemala’s highest honor


U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, receives the Order of the Quetzal. The award was presented by then-Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales Cabrera. (Courtesy Photo)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A South Texas congressman has been awarded Guatemala’s highest honor for his diplomatic work between the two countries.

Earlier this month, former Guatemala President Jimmy Morales presented U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez with the Order of the Quetzal, which recognized Gonzalez for his support of educational and employment opportunities for both countries, increasing economic investments and national security matters, his office said.

“Our country’s relationship with Guatemala and Central America is more than strategic interest. It is based on mutual respect that both our nations have developed throughout the years. Continued cooperation is without a doubt the key to achieve the goals our countries have each set to accomplish,” Gonzalez, a Democrat from McAllen, said in a statement issued Thursday. “I am proud and humbled to receive this distinction.”

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, left, is seen on Jan. 27, 2020, in Guatemala with Alvaro Arzú Escobar, president of the Guatemalan Congress. (Courtesy Photo)

In receiving the award in Guatemala on Jan. 6, Gonzalez was praised for being a good ambassador between the two nations and strongly advocating for better relations between the countries. He has facilitated bipartisan U.S. congressional delegations to Guatemala to increase American leaders’ understanding of the need to support Guatemala. He also has worked to increase economic investments with the Central American nation, his office told Border Report.

The Order of the Quetzal acknowledges foreign officials and organizations that have contributed to Guatemala. The award has been presented to artists, academics, politicians, and groups like the National Geographic Society.

Morales’ presidential term ended Jan. 14, 2020, when Alejandro Giammattei assumed office.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at

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