Few countries have such an uneven
distribution of income as Guatemala. Although it is
considered a middle-income country, a large proportion
of the population lives in deep poverty due to the
oblique distribution of resources. Half of all children
under five are chronically malnourished, the largest
proportion in all of Latin America and the sixth highest
figure in the world.
Particularly miserable are the conditions in the
countryside where the indigenous peoples dominate. Among
them, around three out of four children suffer from five
years of chronic malnutrition. They often manage on a
nutritious diet consisting mostly of tortillas
(corn bread). Many are hampered in their development,
are short of their age and suffer permanent damage from
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Guatemala, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Poor nutrition and hygiene also cause illness.
Diarrhea is a common cause of death, as are
complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Infant mortality is high.
The proportion of poor people in the population
decreased over a number of years in the 2000s, but the
trend then reversed. Nearly 60 percent of the population
is estimated to live in poverty today. Almost one in
four people live in extreme poverty - a higher
proportion than 1989.
Health care is poor and access to care is much worse
in rural areas than in cities. The UN Population Fund
estimates that only about a third of married women use
modern contraceptives. Only half of the women who give
birth receive help from trained health care
professionals, in the countryside most give birth at
home. The state's health care budget is one of the
slimmest in all of Latin America. Since 1947, there is a
compulsory social security system, but in practice it
will rarely be the most needy because most work in the
informal sector and do not have access to the systems.
The woman's position is weak in politics, in the
labor market and also in homes where abuse is common. An
increasing number of women report abuse, but the dark
figures are considered to be large. Sexual harassment is
common in workplaces and is not prohibited by law. The
proportion of teenage pregnancies in Guatemala is among
the highest in Latin America, and they are often the
result of rape. Abortion is not allowed unless the
mother's life is at stake.
Although the government has allocated a number of
resources, including special police stations and courts,
to deal with the violence against women, it is
widespread and rarely leads to prosecution. In Latin
America, the term femicide is used to murder
women just because they are women. These murders are
characterized by brutality and hatred of women, and are
very common in Guatemala.
It is not illegal to be gay, but same-sex marriage or
partnership is not allowed. LGBTQ people are
discriminated against in various ways, including when it
comes to access to health care and education. Hate
crimes, such as murder due to the victim's sexual
orientation, are not uncommon. Especially vulnerable are
female transgender people.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
22 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
93.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
65.1 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
5.7 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
$ 241 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
13 percent (2018)
Cicig focus on foam fast in politics
In the pure declaration of war against the political establishment, Cicig
chief Iván Velásquez says that the UN Commission will now concentrate its work
on investigating the involvement of organized crime in politics and on the
funding of political parties. The link between politicians and shady business
interests has long been identified as a problem in Guatemala.
The Minister of Finance resigns
Finance Minister Pavel Centeno leaves his post following harsh criticism from
business representatives against the tax reform that he largely behind (see
February 2012). It is hoped that Centeno's resignation will
help to alleviate congressional work that worsened during the year. Pérez
Molina's party PP has only 57 of the 158 mandates and is dependent on support
from other parties to pass legislative proposals. The business lobby Cacif has
tried to get different parts of the tax reform declared unconstitutional, but
only succeeded in a few cases.
Drug king Eduardo Villatoro Cano, one of Guatemala's most wanted men, is
arrested in Mexico and handed over to the Guatemalan police. Cano and his gang
are charged with a robbery that claimed the lives of eight police officers in
June 2013. A ninth police officer was abducted.
Cicig gets new boss
President Pérez Molina announces that the UN has appointed Colombian lawyer
Iván Velásquez as new head of Cicig. The President makes clear that Velásquez's
main task is to ensure that the UN-supported Commission can hand over the
investigative work to the Guatemalan judiciary when Cicig's term expires in
September 2015. The Costa Rican Dall'Anese is reported to leave the post of
Cicig because of contradictions with the country's economic and political elite
- not unlike its predecessor (see June 2010).
Genocide verdict is torn down
The Constitutional Court raises the ten-day-old genocide verdict against
former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. The district court decides that the trial
must go back to the point it found on April 19, the day a dispute arose between
two judges over who would hear the case. The decision is the result of an appeal
from Ríos Montt's defense lawyers.
Ex-dictator convicted of genocide
A tribunal with three judges sentenced Efraín Ríos Montt to 80 years in
prison for genocide and crimes against humanity. The judgment specifically
concerns 1,771 persons belonging to the Mayan people ixil, as well as the
displacement of 29,000 people and several cases of sexual coercion and torture,
during the years 1982-1983. During the trial, many people testified about brutal
abuse. According to the judgment, ixil was regarded as the state's enemies and a
lower standing people. Many relatives of the victims and leaders of indigenous
people rejoice when the judgment is proclaimed. It is the first time a former
head of state has been convicted of genocide in his own country. Former military
intelligence chief Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, charged with Ríos Montt, on the
other hand, is acquitted.
Ex-President is extradited to the United States
24th of May
Former President Alfonso Portillo is extradited to the United States where he
is charged with money laundering. Just before that, an appellate court in
Guatemala has upheld the acquittal, which means that he is no longer a criminal
offender in his home country (see May 2011).
Violence in connection with mining protests
The government faces a state of emergency in San Rafael Las Flores and three
other cities in the southeast following clashes between police and people
protesting plans to open a silver mine. A police officer and a demonstrator have
been shot dead and several protesters have been injured. The protesters have
also kidnapped 23 police officers. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
expresses concern about the violence surrounding the mines.
Historical trial against the dictator
The trial begins against the now 86-year-old former dictator Efraín Ríos
Montt, who has been in house arrest for a year (see January 2012). According to
UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the trial is historic: it is the
first time a former head of state has been tried in a national court in his own
country for crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity.
Reduced murder rate
In a speech to the nation, President Pérez Molina says that a "historic
reduction" of the violence occurred during his first year in power. In 2012,
almost 5,200 murders were recorded, a decrease of 10 percent. The number of
kidnappings decreased by 33 percent and many criminal gangs were dissolved
according to the president.