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Introduction Guatemala
Background: Guatemala was freed of Spanish
colonial rule in 1821. During the
second half of the 20th century, it
experienced a variety of military
and civilian governments as well as
a 36-year guerrilla war. In 1996,
the government signed a peace
agreement formally ending the
conflict, which had led to the death
of more than 100,000 people and had
created some 1 million refugees.

Geography Guatemala
Location: Middle America, bordering the
Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and
Belize and bordering the North
Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador
and Mexico
Geographic coordinates: 15 30 N, 90 15 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 108,890 sq km
water: 460 sq km
land: 108,430 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Tennessee
Land boundaries: total: 1,687 km
border countries: Belize 266 km, El
Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km,
Mexico 962 km
Coastline: 400 km
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to
the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: tropical; hot, humid in lowlands;
cooler in highlands
Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow coastal
plains and rolling limestone plateau
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco
4,211 m
Natural resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish,
chicle, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 12.54%
permanent crops: 5.03%
other: 82.43% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: numerous volcanoes in mountains,
with occasional violent earthquakes;
Caribbean coast extremely
susceptible to hurricanes and other
tropical storms
Environment - current issues: deforestation in the Peten
rainforest; soil erosion; water
Environment - international party to: Antarctic Treaty,
agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change,
Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol,
Desertification, Endangered Species,
Environmental Modification,
Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea,
Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban,
Ozone Layer Protection, Ship
Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-
Environmental Protocol
Geography - note: no natural harbors on west coast

People Guatemala
Population: 13,314,079 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.8% (male 2,841,486;
female 2,725,343)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 3,629,363;
female 3,630,273)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male
227,369; female 260,245) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.57% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 34.17 births/1,000 population (2002
Death rate: 6.67 deaths/1,000 population (2002
Net migration rate: -1.79 migrant(s)/1,000 population
(2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/
total population: 1.01 male(s)/
female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 44.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2002
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.85 years
female: 69.66 years (2002 est.)
male: 64.16 years
Total fertility rate: 4.51 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.38% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 73,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 3,600 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan
Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish or
assimilated Amerindian - in local
Spanish called Ladino),
approximately 55%, Amerindian or
predominantly Amerindian,
approximately 43%, whites and others
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant,
indigenous Mayan beliefs
Languages: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages
40% (more than 20 Amerindian
languages, including Quiche,
Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna,
and Xinca)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read
and write
total population: 63.6%
male: 68.7%
female: 58.5% (2000 est.)

Government Guatemala
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of
conventional short form: Guatemala
local short form: Guatemala
local long form: Republica de
Government type: constitutional democratic republic
Capital: Guatemala
Administrative divisions: 22 departments (departamentos,
singular - departamento); Alta
Verapaz, Baja Verapaz,
Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El
Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala,
Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa,
Jutiapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango,
Quiche, Retalhuleu, Sacatepequez,
San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solola,
Suchitepequez, Totonicapan, Zacapa
Independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 September
Constitution: 31 May 1985, effective 14 January
1986; note - suspended 25 May 1993
by former President SERRANO;
reinstated 5 June 1993 following
ouster of president; amended
November 1993
Legal system: civil law system; judicial review of
legislative acts; has not accepted
compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (active
duty members of the armed forces may
not vote)
Executive branch: chief of state: President Alfonso
Antonio PORTILLO Cabrera (since 14
January 2000); Vice President Juan
Francisco REYES Lopez (since 14
January 2000); note - the president
is both the chief of state and head
of government
head of government: President
Alfonso Antonio PORTILLO Cabrera
(since 14 January 2000); Vice
President Juan Francisco REYES Lopez
(since 14 January 2000); note - the
president is both the chief of state
and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers
appointed by the president
elections: president elected by
popular vote for a four-year term;
election last held 7 November 1999;
runoff held 26 December 1999 (next
to be held NA November 2003)
election results: Alfonso Antonio
PORTILLO Cabrera elected president;
percent of vote - Alfonso Antonio
PORTILLO Cabrera (FRG) 68%, Oscar
BERGER Perdomo (PAN) 32%
Legislative branch: unicameral Congress of the Republic
or Congreso de la Republica (113
seats; members are elected by
popular vote to serve four-year
elections: last held 7 November 1999
(next to be held NA November 2003)
note: for the 7 November 1999
election, the number of
congressional seats increased to 113
from 80
election results: percent of vote by
party - NA%; seats by party - FRG
63, PAN 37, ANN 9, DCG 2, UD/LOV 1,
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte
Suprema de Justicia (thirteen
members serve concurrent five-year
terms and elect a president of the
Court each year from among their
number; the president of the Supreme
Court of Justice also supervises
trial judges around the country, who
are named to five-year terms);
Constitutional Court or Corte de
Constitutcionalidad (five judges are
elected for concurrent five-year
terms by Congress, each serving one
year as president of the
Constitutional Court; one is elected
by Congress, one elected by the
Supreme Court of Justice, one
appointed by the President, one
elected by Superior Counsel of
Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala,
and one by Colegio de Abogados)
Political parties and leaders: Authentic Integral Development or
DIA [Jorge Luis ORTEGA]; Democratic
Union or UD [Jose Luis CHEA
Urruela]; Green Party or LOV [Jose
ASTURIAS Rudecke]; Guatemalan
Christian Democracy or DCG [Vinicio
CEREZO Arevalo]; Guatemalan National
Revolutionary Unity or URNG [Pablo
MONSANTO, also known as Jorge SOTO];
Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG
[Efrain RIOS Montt]; New Nation
Alliance or ANN [leader NA], which
includes the URNG; National
Advancement Party or PAN [Leonel
LOPEZ Rodas]; Progressive Liberator
Party or PLP [Acisclo VALLADARES
Political pressure groups and Agrarian Owners Group or UNAGRO;
leaders: Alliance Against Impunity or AAI;
Committee for Campesino Unity or
CUC; Coordinating Committee of
Agricultural, Commercial,
Industrial, and Financial
Associations or CACIF; Mutual
Support Group or GAM
International organization BCIE, CACM, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-24,
participation: G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU,
ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM,
ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA
(observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW
(signatory), PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD,
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ariel
chancery: 2220 R Street NW,
Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Chicago,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New
York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908
telephone: [1] (202) 745-4952
Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
embassy: 7-01 Avenida Reforma, Zone
10, Guatemala City
mailing address: APO AA 34024
telephone: [502] 331-1541/55
FAX: [502] 334-8477
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of light
blue (hoist side), white, and light
blue with the coat of arms centered
in the white band; the coat of arms
includes a green and red quetzal
(the national bird) and a scroll
bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15
DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original
date of independence from Spain) all
superimposed on a pair of crossed
rifles and a pair of crossed swords
and framed by a wreath

Economy Guatemala
Economy - overview: The agricultural sector accounts for
about one-fourth of GDP, two-thirds
of exports, and half of the labor
force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas
are the main products. Former
President ARZU (1996-2000) worked to
implement a program of economic
liberalization and political
modernization. The 1996 signing of
the peace accords, which ended 36
years of civil war, removed a major
obstacle to foreign investment. In
1998, Hurricane Mitch caused
relatively little damage to
Guatemala compared to its neighbors.
Ongoing challenges include
increasing government revenues,
negotiating further assistance from
international donors, and increasing
the efficiency and openness of both
government and private financial
operations. Despite low
international prices for Guatemala's
main commodities, the economy grew
by 3% in 2000 and 2.3% in 2001.
Guatemala, along with Honduras and
El Salvador, recently concluded a
free trade agreement with Mexico and
has moved to protect international
property rights. However, the
PORTILLO administration has
undertaken a review of
privatizations under the previous
administration, thereby creating
some uncertainty among investors.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $48.3
billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,700
(2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 23%
industry: 20%
services: 57% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: 60% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.6%
percentage share: highest 10%: 46% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini 55.8 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.6% (2001)
Labor force: 4.2 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 50%, industry 15%,
services 35% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.5% (1999 est.)
Budget: revenues: $2.1 billion
expenditures: $2.5 billion,
including capital expenditures of
$NA (2000 est.)
Industries: sugar, textiles and clothing,
furniture, chemicals, petroleum,
metals, rubber, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 4.1% (1999)
Electricity - production: 5.929 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 50.35%
hydro: 44.54%
other: 5.11% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption: 4.797 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 840 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 123 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee,
beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep,
pigs, chickens
Exports: $2.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: coffee, sugar, bananas, fruits and
vegetables, cardamom, meat, apparel,
petroleum, electricity
Exports - partners: US 57%, El Salvador 8.7%, Costa Rica
3.7%, Nicaragua 2.8%, Germany 2.6%
Imports: $4.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Imports - commodities: fuels, machinery and transport
equipment, construction materials,
grain, fertilizers, electricity
Imports - partners: US 35.2%, Mexico 12.6%, South Korea
7.9%, El Salvador 6.4%, Venezuela
3.9% (2000)
Debt - external: $4.5 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $212 million (1995)
Currency: quetzal (GTQ), US dollar (USD),
others allowed
Currency code: GTQ; USD
Exchange rates: quetzales per US dollar - 8.0165
(January 2002), 7.8586 (2001),
7.7632 (2000), 7.3856 (1999), 6.3947
(1998), 6.0653 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications Guatemala
Telephones - main lines in use: 665,061 (June 2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 663,296 (September 2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: fairly modern
network centered in the city of
domestic: NA
international: connected to Central
American Microwave System; satellite
earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic
Radio broadcast stations: AM 130, FM 487, shortwave 15 (2000)
Radios: 835,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 26 (plus 27 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 1.323 million (1997)
Internet country code: .gt
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2000)
Internet users: 65,000 (2000)

Transportation Guatemala
Railways: total: 884 km
narrow gauge: 884 km 0.914-m gauge
note: much of the railway is
inoperable (2001 est.)
Highways: total: 13,856 km
paved: 4,370 km (including 140 km of
unpaved: 9,486 km (1998)
Waterways: 990 km
note: 260 km navigable year round;
additional 730 km navigable during
highwater season
Pipelines: crude oil 275 km
Ports and harbors: Champerico, Puerto Barrios, Puerto
Quetzal, San Jose, Santo Tomas de
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 475 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 464
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 123
under 914 m: 331 (2001)

Military Guatemala
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 3,186,894 (2002
Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 2,080,504 (2002
service: est.)
Military manpower - reaching military males: 140,358 (2002 est.)
age annually:
Military expenditures - dollar $120 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of 0.6% (FY99)

Transnational Issues Guatemala
Disputes - international: the "Line of Adjacency", established
as an agreed limit in 2000 to check
squatters settling in Belize,
remains in place while OAS assists
states to resolve Guatemalan
territorial claims in Belize and
Guatemalan maritime access to the
Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transit country for cocaine and
heroin; minor producer of illicit
opium poppy and cannabis for mostly
domestic consumption; proximity to
Mexico makes Guatemala a major
staging area for drugs (cocaine and
heroin shipments); money laundering
is a serious problem; corruption is
a major problem
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