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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 57/03 - Geography of Guatemala
Fecha:Jueves, 15 de Mayo, 2003  16:24:30 (-0300)
Autor:humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 57/03

Geography of Guatemala 

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.  

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  

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

400 km  

Maritime claims:   
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation 
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM 
territorial sea: 12 NM  

tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands  

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 pollution  

Environment - international agreements:   
party to: Antarctic Treaty, 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  


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 est.)  

Death rate:   
6.67 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)  

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)/female 

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)  

Infant mortality rate:   
44.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)  

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/AIDS:   
73,000 (1999 est.)  
HIV/AIDS - deaths:   
3,600 (1999 est.)  

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 2%  

Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs  

Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian
languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)  

definition: age 15 and over can read and write 
total population: 63.6% 
male: 68.7% 
female: 58.5% (2000 est.)  


Country name:   
conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala 
conventional short form: Guatemala 
local short form: Guatemala 
local long form: Republica de Guatemala  

Government type:   
constitutional democratic republic  


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  

15 September 1821 (from Spain)  

National holiday:   
Independence Day, 15 September (1821)  

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  

18 years of age; universal (active duty members of the armed forces may not vote
and are restricted to their barracks on election day)  

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
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 terms) 
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; for the November 2003 election, the number of
congressional seats will increase by 12-15 seats from the current 113 
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FRG 63, PAN
37, ANN 9, DCG 2, UD/LOV 1, PLP 1; note - as of January 2003, the seat count is
FRG 63, PAN 19, ANN 3, Unionista 10, URNG 5, UNE 6, independent 3, other 4  

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 [Eduardo SUGER]; Democratic Union or UD
[Rodolfo PAIZ Andrade]; Green Party or LOV [Rodolfo ROSALES Garcis-Salaz];
Guatemalan Christian Democracy or DCG [Vinicio CEREZO Arevalo]; Guatemalan
National Revolutionary Unity or URNG [Secretary General Alba ESTELA Maldonado];
Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG [Efrain RIOS Montt]; Movement for Guatemalan
Unity or MGU [Jacobo ARBENZ Villanueva]; Movement for Principals and Values or
MPV [Francisco BIANCHI]; National Advancement Party or PAN [Secretary General
Leonel LOPEZ Rodas]; National Unity for Hope or UNE [Alvarado COLOM Caballeros];
New Nation Alliance or ANN, formed by an alliance of DIA, URNG, and several
splinter groups most of whom subsequently defected [led by three co-equal
partners - Nineth Varenca MONTENEGRO Cottom, Rodolfo BAUER Paiz, and Jorge
Antonio BALSELLS TUT]; Patriot Party or PP [retired General Otto PEREZ Molina];
Progressive Liberator Party or PLP [Acisclo VALLADARES Moli
 na]; Reform Movement or MR [Secretary General Alfredo SKINNER-KLEE]; Unionista
Party [leader NA]  

Political pressure groups and leaders:   
Agrarian Owners Group or UNAGRO; 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 participation:   
(correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory),

Diplomatic representation in the US:   
chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio Fernando ARENALES Forno 
chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San
FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908 
telephone: [1] (202) 745-4952  

Diplomatic representation from the US:   
chief of mission: Ambassador John Randle HAMILTON 
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 - 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

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 percentage share:   
lowest 10%: 2% 
highest 10%: 46% (1998) (1998)  

Distribution of family income - Gini index:   
56 (1998)  

Inflation rate (consumer prices):   
7.6% (2001) (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.)  

revenues: $2.1 billion 
expenditures: $2.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)  

sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber,

Industrial production growth rate:   
4.1% (1999) (1999)  

Electricity - production:   
5.929 billion kWh (2000)  

Electricity - production by source:   
fossil fuel: 50% 
hydro: 45% 
other: 5% (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

$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% (2000) 

$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%

Debt - external:   
$4.5 billion (2001 est.)  

Economic aid - recipient:   
$212 million (1995) (1995)  

quetzal (GTQ), US dollar (USD), others allowed  

Currency code:   

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  


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 Guatemala 
domestic: NA 
international: connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth
station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)  

Radio broadcast stations:   
AM 130, FM 487, shortwave 15 (2000)  

835,000 (1997)  

Television broadcast stations:   
26 (plus 27 repeaters) (1997)  

1.323 million (1997)  

Internet country code:   

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):   
5 (2000)  

Internet users:   
200,000 (2002)  


total: 884 km 
narrow gauge: 884 km 0.914-m gauge (single-track) 
note: much of the railway is inoperable (2001 est.)  

total: 13,856 km 
paved: 4,370 km (including 140 km of expressways) 
unpaved: 9,486 km (1998)  

990 km 
note: 260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during highwater

crude oil 275 km  

Ports and harbors:   
Champerico, Puerto Barrios, Puerto Quetzal, San Jose, Santo Tomas de Castilla  

Merchant marine:   
none (2002 est.)  

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 (2002)  

Airports - with unpaved runways:   
total: 455 464 
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 9 
914 to 1,523 m: 9 123 
under 914 m: 115 331 (2002)  


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

Transnational Issues    

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:   
major 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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