TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei accepted a mobility aids donation from Taiwan during a ceremony on Tuesday (July 5), calling Taiwan “the best ally we have” and inviting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to attend the inauguration of the Chimaltenango Regional Hospital.
Giammattei said the mobility aids Guatemala has received will benefit adults and children all over the country. He urged those who received the mobility aids to not forget that the Taiwanese thought about the Guatemalans from the other side of the world and made the donation.
He added, “If anyone understands people with disabilities, it is (me). If anyone understands what it is to not have a wheelchair to be unable to move, (me).” Giammattei, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said whenever he gets home after a long day of work, he eagerly removes his crutches and gets into his wheelchair.
Giammattei called Taiwan “the best and probably the only ally we have,” extending a formal invitation to President Tsai during his speech in the hopes that she will visit Guatemala and attend the Chimaltenango Regional Hospital, the construction of which is sponsored by Taiwan. He said it would be Guatemala’s honor to receive “a friendly president, an ally president, a woman who has always supported us.”
During his speech at the ceremony, Taiwan Ambassador to Guatemala Cheng Li-cheng (鄭力城) said this is the third consecutive year that the Taiwan government, working with the Puhsein Foundation and Cao Zhong-zhi Foundation, has donated mobility aids to Guatemala. This year’s donation consisted of 294 adult wheelchairs, 158 children’s wheelchairs, and 848 other aids.
In an interview with CNA, Cheng confirmed that Giammattei often refers to Taiwan as Guatemala’s best ally because Taiwan has done its best to provide the country with what it most direly needs. CNA cited an anonymous source as saying Guatemalan officials once jokingly reminded Giammattei that other ambassadors in the country might become jealous if he continues to be so outspoken about his love for Taiwan.
Giammattei greets a recipient of Taiwan's wheelchair as Cheng (second from right) watches. (Twitter, Alejandro Giammattei photo)