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Deputy Mayor of Guatemala City Visits Taipei to Learn About Metro Construction and Expand Cooperation Between the Two Cities

March 21—Víctor Manuel Alejandro Martínez Ruiz, Deputy Mayor of Taipei’s sister city Guatemala City, visited the Taipei City Government with Alessandra María Gallio Abud de Davidson, second councilor; Eddy Leonel Morataya Ortiz, the director of the Urban Mobility Department; and Karlo Giovanni Aragón García, the Director of Urban Transportation Department. They were greeted by Deputy Mayor Shu-Chuan Lee, who acted on behalf of Mayor Wan-An Chiang. At the end of the visit, a statement of cooperation was signed to strengthen the relationship between the two sister cities. 

Taipei City and Guatemala City enjoy a close relationship, becoming sister cities in 1998 and later signing a memorandum of cooperation as smart cities in 2022. Deputy Mayor Lee was touched by Deputy Mayor Ruiz for traveling across the Pacific Ocean with his team to visit Taiwan, and he expressed his desire to strengthen the ties between the two cities through the signing of the statement of cooperation, which is expected to create more opportunities for exchanges and collaborations.

Before signing the statement, both parties engaged in a dialogue during which Director Ortiz expressed his appreciation for the mature metro system and transportation infrastructure in Taipei City. He stated that Guatemala City is building its first subway line and indicated his hopes of learning from the success story of Taipei’s metro system and the professionalism of its technical support system, which ensures a comfortable living environment with highly accessible transportation for residents. Second Councilor Davidson also expressed her admiration for the overall cleanliness of Taipei City and asked about its maintenance. Commissioner Shyh-Shiun Shyu of the Department of Environmental Protection was present and replied that Taipei City currently employs more than 6,000 cleaners who are all dedicated to maintaining the cleanliness of the city’s 12 administrative districts. Deputy Mayor Martínez also stressed that the commitment to building Guatemala City’s first subway line was a major factor in the current mayor successfully retaining his position and winning the support of the citizens of Guatemala City. The current city administration hopes to benefit from the counsel and assistance of Taipei City to improve the quality of life of its citizens. 

Deputy Mayor Lee summarized the history of Taipei’s metro system, which required more than 30 years of planning and building; to date, the metro system has been in operation for 27 years. New metro systems must overcome numerous obstacles. Careful consideration must be given to issues such as the acquisition of land, the planning of routes, whether to construct an elevated rail or subway line, the effects of construction on traffic, and the reaction of residents living near a metro line to noise problems. Furthermore, countermeasures must be developed to address these issues. On behalf of the Taipei City Government, he offered to arrange for the Guatemalan delegation to visit the Department of Rapid Transit Systems to observe the comprehensive planning process for themselves. Deputy Mayor Lee also expressed his hopes for the successful completion and launch of the Guatemala City subway line. 

During this exchange, Deputy Mayor Lee and Deputy Mayor Martínez signed a statement of cooperation on behalf of their respective cities. The statement declares the intention of the two sister cities to share their experiences in governance and to engage in exchanges and collaborations in areas relating to urban planning, water resource utilization, waste management, transportation, and smart cities. The goal is to promote sustainable urban development in the spirit of urban exchanges and mutual assistance while deepening the bond between the two cities. 

Deputy Mayor Martínez and his colleagues traveled to Taiwan at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to participate in the 2024 Taipei Smart City Summit & Expo × 2050 Net Zero City Expo. In addition to the opening event and various seminars, their itinerary also includes visits to several companies and Taipei City metro facilities. This visit is expected to help Guatemala establish connections with Taiwan’s government agencies and private enterprises and create more opportunities for cooperation between Taiwan and Guatemala.