Guatemala’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 16 million, making it the most populous country in Central America. The majority of Guatemalan citizens identify as Roman Catholic, with a sizeable minority of Protestants also present. The Guatemalan economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and remittances from abroad, with these two industries accounting for nearly one-third of the country’s GDP. Other exports include textiles and coffee. Guatemala has strong trade ties with its Central American neighbours, particularly Mexico and Honduras, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Guatemala is a unitary presidential republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Jimmy Morales was the President after winning reelection in 2014. In foreign relations, Guatemala is a member of both the United Nations and Organisation of American States (OAS) and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with its Central American neighbours have been mostly positive but tensions remain between Guatemala and Belize over maritime border disputes. See ehealthfacts for Guatemala in the year of 2005.
Guatemala. According to COUNTRYAAH, Guatemala City is the capital of Guatemala which is located in North America. President Otto Pérez Molina was openly accused by the UN-backed Commission on Impunity (CICIG) and the State Prosecutor’s Office for taking bribes from business in exchange for freedom from paying import duties. The scandal broke in April and September 3 he resigned, the day after Congress decided to deprive him of his immunity. An arrest warrant went out the same day. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided that he should be detained. His Vice President Alejandro Maldonado took office to fulfill Perez’s term of office. Three days later, elections were held for congress and mayor posts around the country.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Guatemala country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In the second round of the presidential election on October 25, former TV comedian Jimmy Morales of the Conservative Coalition National Convergence Party (FCN-Nación) won a landslide victory with just over 67% of the vote against 33% for Sandra Torres of the National Union of Hope (UNE). However, turnout was very low – 56% – which can be compared to the first round of voting when 71% of the voters voted. The first round of elections was also characterized by violence, which among other things led to the election having to be redone in eleven of the country’s 339 municipalities.
The FCN-Nación presented itself as an anti-establishment event and Morale’s victory happened against the backdrop of years of corruption charges against the incumbent politicians. He promised early on that he would fight endemic corruption in the country, but is also believed to have major problems in Congress, with his coalition only holding 13 of 158 seats after the September election. In the mayoral election, FCNNación did not win in a single municipality.
In October, a court rejected 89-year-old former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt’s request for amnesty for the human rights crimes he is accused of during his time as Guatemalan dictator in 1982-83. Human rights groups paid tribute to the court decision. Ríos Montt will face trial again in January 2016.
The first years of the 21st century. they did not confirm the signs of democratic development that had emerged in the previous five years, marked by the peace agreement (1996) with the guerrilla group Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) and by the transformation (1998) of the latter into a political party. Citizens’ participation in the vote remained low: less than 20 % of those eligible took part in the constitutional referendum of May 1999 which sanctioned the end of the civil war and about 40% in the November elections of the same year. The political confrontation also continued to take place between the same power groups which, with parties with different names, had always alternated with the government, while the security conditions of citizens continued to be threatened by widespread violence, fueled in many cases by a an extensive paramilitary apparatus developed in the years of the civil war to support the repression of the guerrillas. The army also remained a presence capable of influencing government decisions and protecting, from an often irresolute judicial system, a large number of perpetrators of human rights violations.
The new government of A. Portillo, leader of the Frente Republicano Guatemalteco (FRG), elected to the presidency of the Republic in December 1999, presented itself with an ambitious program of demilitarization of the government, of consultation with the social partners and of involvement of local administrations and civil society on six fundamental issues: security and rights, decentralization and rural development, the growth of democratic participation, education and human development, the fiscal compact and the role of government in economic development policies. This program immediately clashed with the opposition of traditional power groups well represented in the FRG, but was also conditioned by the substantially ambiguous attitude of the president himself, in a situation also marked by the resumption of violence against workers of humanitarian organizations and opponents. politicians. The conflict between the government and the National Congress,1982 and protagonist in those years of the most dramatic excesses of repression -, determined a substantial paralysis of legislative activity for the whole of 2001, while Portillo’s credibility was strongly questioned by the recurrent accusations of corruption.
The occupation of the land and the protests of over 30,000 farmers in October 2002, with the blocking of the major roads and border crossings, raised the issue of agrarian reform with great clamor. The presidential elections took place in November-December 2003, won in the ballot by O. Berger at the helm of a new right-wing coalition (Gran Alianza Nacional, GANA), which nevertheless did not obtain an absolute majority of seats in the contemporary legislative consultations. The first two years of Berger’s presidency were marked by contrasting elements: on the one hand, there were signs of a strengthening of the rule of law, and on the other, major social issues remained unresolved. Although the judiciary took a firmer stance – indictment (March 2004) of Rios Montt for conspiracy and murder and arrest warrant for corruption (July 2005) against Portillo, who fled abroad in February 2004- and the government committed itself more firmly to countering violence, the problem of the land and that of discrimination against indigenous peoples reappeared strongly. In June 2004, a general strike called by the Frente Maya Campesino took place with great success with the support of the trade unions against the government’s economic policy choices still strongly linked to the defense of the interests of the large owners.