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GUATEMALA
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Map of Guatemala
 

 
Geography

 

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
land: 108,430 sq km
water: 460 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 (Peten)

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m

Natural resources: petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 24%
forests and woodland: 54%
other: 5% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,250 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast subject to hurricanes and other tropical storms

Environment—current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol

Geography—note: no natural harbors on west coast

 
People

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Population: 12,007,580 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 2,629,861; female 2,522,112)
15-64 years: 54% (male 3,213,744; female 3,216,415)
65 years and over: 3% (male 199,738; female 225,710) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.71% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 36.02 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.96 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 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: 0.88 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 47.68 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.04 years
male: 63.4 years
female: 68.81 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.81 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish—in local Spanish called Ladino) 56%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 44%

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, traditional Mayan

Languages: Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 55.6%
male: 62.5%
female: 48.6% (1995 est.)

 
Government

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

Data code: GT

Government type: republic

National 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 (1821)

Constitution: 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986
note: suspended 25 May 1993 by President SERRANO; reinstated 5 June 1993 following ouster of president

Legal system: civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Alvaro Enrique ARZU Irigoyen (since 14 January 1996); Vice President Luis Alberto FLORES Asturias (since 14 January 1996); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Alvaro Enrique ARZU Irigoyen (since 14 January 1996); Vice President Luis Alberto FLORES Asturias (since 14 January 1996); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 12 November 1995; runoff held 7 January 1996 (next to be held NA November 1999)
election results: Alvaro Enrique ARZU Irigoyen elected president; percent of vote—Alvaro Enrique ARZU Irigoyen (PAN) 51.2%, Jorge PORTILLO Cabrera (FRG) 48.8%

Legislative branch: unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (80 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 12 November 1995 to select 80 new congressmen (next to be held in November 1999)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PAN 43, FRG 21, FDNG 6, DCG 4, UCN 3, UD 2, MLN 1
note: on 11 November 1993 the congress approved a procedure that reduced its number from 116 seats to 80; the procedure provided for a special election in mid-1994 to elect an interim congress of 80 members to serve until replaced in the November 1995 general election; the plan was approved in a general referendum in January 1994 and the special election was held on 14 August 1994

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia); additionally the Court of Constitutionality is presided over by the President of the Supreme Court, judges are elected for a five-year term by Congress

Political parties and leaders: National Centrist Union or UCN [Juan AYERDI Aguilar]; Christian Democratic Party or DCG [Alfonso CABRERA Hidalgo]; National Advancement Party or PAN [Raphael BARRIOS Flores]; National Liberation Movement or MLN [Mario SANDOVAL Alarcon]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Sergio FLORES Cruz]; Revolutionary Party or PR [Carlos CHAVARRIA Perez]; Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG [Efrain RIOS Montt]; Democratic Union or UD [Jose CHEA Urruela]; New Guatemalan Democratic Front or FDNG [Rafael ARRIAGA Martinez]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations or CACIF; Mutual Support Group or GAM; Agrarian Owners Group or UNAGRO; Committee for Campesino Unity or CUC; Alliance Against Impunity or AAI
note: former guerrillas known as Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union or URNG signed peace treaty with government on 29 December 1996; URNG guerrillas formally disbanded 29-30 March 1997 and are in the process of forming a political party of the same name

International organization participation: BCIE, CACM, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pedro Miguel LAMPORT Kelsall
chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-4952 through 4954
FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald J. PLANTY (18 July 1996)
embassy: 7-01 Avenida de la Reforma, Zone 10, Guatemala City
mailing address: APO AA 34024
telephone: [502] (2) 31-15-41
FAX: [502] (2) 31-88-85

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

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Economy—overview: The agricultural sector accounts for one-fourth of GDP and two-thirds of exports and employs more than half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products. Manufacturing and construction account for one-fifth of GDP. Since assuming office in January 1996, President ARZU has worked to implement a program of economic liberalization and political modernization. The signing of the Peace Accords in December 1996, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment. In 1997, Guatemala met its economic targets when GDP growth accelerated to 4.1% and inflation fell to 9%. The government also increased tax revenues—historically the lowest in Latin America—to 9% of GDP and created a new tax administration. It also successfully placed $150 million in dollar-denominated notes in the international markets. Debt service costs should decline in 1998. Remaining challenges for the administration in 1998 include completing a deal with the IMF and stabilizing monetary policy. Throughout 1997, the Central Bank maintained a tight money supply, helping to control inflation, but it also caused high interest rates and led to operating losses for the bank. Early in 1998, it relaxed its monetary policy in an effort to correct these problems, but increased pressure on the quetzal has prompted the bank to intervene to prop up its value.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$45.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4.1% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 24%
industry: 21%
services: 55% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 9% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 3.32 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 58%, services 14%, manufacturing 14%, commerce 7%, construction 4%, transport 2.6%, utilities 0.3%, mining 0.1% (1995)

Unemployment rate: 5.2% (1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA

Industries: sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 1.9% (1996)

Electricity—capacity: 766,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 3.1 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 282 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens

Exports:
total value: $2.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: coffee, sugar, bananas, cardamom, petroleum
partners: US 37%, El Salvador 13%, Honduras 7%, Costa Rica 5%, Germany 5%

Imports:
total value: $3.3 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
commodities: fuel and petroleum products, machinery, grain, fertilizers, motor vehicles
partners: US 44%, Mexico 10%, Venezuela 4.6%, Japan, Germany

Debt—external: $3.38 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $274 million (1994)

Currency: 1 quetzal (Q) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: free market quetzales (Q) per US$1—6.2580 (January 1998), 6.0653 (1997), 6.0495 (1996), 5.8103 (1995), 5.7512 (1994), 5.6354 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

 
Communications

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Telephones: 210,000 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: 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 91, FM 0, shortwave 15

Radios: 400,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 25

Televisions: 475,000 (1993 est.)

 
Transportation

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Railways:
total: 884 km (102 km privately owned)
narrow gauge: 884 km 0.914-m gauge (single track)

Highways:
total: 13,100 km
paved: 3,616 km (including 140 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,484 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season

Pipelines: crude oil 275 km

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

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 479 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 467
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 124
under 914 m: 333 (1997 est.)

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