Guatemala

 

The Mayan civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence 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 left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees.

 

Geography:
Location: Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize
Geographic coordinates: 15 30 N, 90 15 W
People:
Population: 14,099,032 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.1% (male 2,678,340/female 2,582,472)

15-64 years: 58% (male 3,889,573/female 4,130,698)

65 years and over: 3.9% (male 252,108/female 291,272) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala

conventional short form: Guatemala

local long form: Republica de Guatemala

local short form: Guatemala

Government type: constitutional democratic republic
Capital: name: Guatemala

geographic coordinates: 14 37 N, 90 31 W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Friday in September; note – there is no DST planned for 2007-2009

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.499 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 18.068 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 291 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 15

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 4 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: National Army of Guatemala (Ejercito Nacional de Guatemala, ENG), Guatemalan Navy (Marina Nacional, includes Marines), Guatemalan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca, FAG) (2009)
Military service age and obligation: all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are liable for military service; conscript service obligation varies from 12 to 24 months; women can serve as officers (2009)

Economy:

Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-tenth of GDP, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labour force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products, with sugar exports benefiting from increased global demand for ethanol.

 

The 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and Guatemala since then has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. On 1 July 2006, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) entered into force between the US and Guatemala and has since spurred increased investment in the export sector. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with about 56% of the population below the poverty line.

Transnational Issues:

Annual ministerial meetings under the OAS-initiated Agreement on the Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures continue to address Guatemalan land and maritime claims in Belize and the Caribbean Sea; the Line of Adjacency created under the 2002 Differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely inhabited rain forests of Belize’s border region; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the United States