Guatemala Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Guatemala Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Official name of the country: Republic of Guatemala (República de Guatemala)
President: Alejandro Giammattei Falla (in office since 1/14/2020)
Composition of the government:
The government appointed and directed by the president of the republic has a total of 25 members. In addition to the president, vice-president and ministers (14), members of the wider government also include the so-called secretaries of the president (Secretarios – 13), who coordinate the cooperation of the presidential office with individual ministries. The Government began its activities on 14/01/2020. The current composition of the Cabinet of Ministers as of 16/05/2022 is as follows:

  • Vice President of the Republic: César Guillermo Castillo Reyes
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Mario Adolfo Búcaro Flores
  • Minister of the Interior: Napoleón Barrientos Girón
  • Minister of Economy: Janio Rosales
  • Minister of National Defense: Henry Yovani Reyes Chigua
  • Minister of Public Finance: Álvaro González Ricci
  • Minister of Agriculture and Food: José Ángel López
  • Minister of Public Health and Social Assistance: Francisco José Coma Martín
  • Minister of Energy and Mining: Alberto Pimentel Mata
  • Minister of Culture and Sports: Felipe Amado Aguilar Marroquín
  • Minister of Education: Claudia Ruiz Casasola de Estrada
  • Minister of Labor and Social Security: Rafael Eugenio Rodríguez Pellecer
  • Minister of Environment and Natural Resources: Mario Rojas Espino
  • Minister of Social Development: Raúl Romero Segura
  • Minister of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing: Javier Maldonado Quiñonez

Political Tendencies:
A general feature of Guatemala’s political system is the fragmentation of Congress, which affects the political stability and effectiveness of the government. President Alejandro Giammattei governs with a fragile informal coalition in Congress (composed of members from more than ten different political parties). It is likely that the effectiveness of governance will begin to deteriorate gradually as the 2023 election year approaches, as opposition parties may become more unified and vocal. In view of the upcoming elections, it is also likely that the current government will not be able to pass any major laws by the end of its term of office, on the contrary, the corruption environment is expected to worsen with regard to the persecution and arrest of anti-corruption justice workers and lawyers in Guatemala. Check diseaseslearning to learn more about Guatemala political system.

Foreign policy of the country

The most important diplomatic concerns for Guatemala are regional security and, increasingly, regional development and economic integration. Guatemala places increased emphasis on integration processes within the organization System for the Integration of Central America (SICA), which also includes the implementation of a duty-free zone with Honduras and El Salvador, Guatemala City is also the seat of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN).

Guatemala’s foreign policy has long been focused on strengthening strategic relations with the USA. One of the reasons is the fact that 3 million Guatemalans live in the USA (of which 1 million legally and 2 million illegally), in addition, 32% of Guatemala’s exports go to the USA (40% from Central America for comparison). In addition to ties with the USA and other Central American countries, Guatemala’s key partner in the region is Mexico, with which it is connected mainly by migration issues and security policy, but also by efforts to expand its development plan and relevant programs to the territory of Guatemala. Check themotorcyclers for Guatemala defense and foreign policy.

The government of Guatemala continues to develop relations with EU countries, Japan and South Korea, which provide considerable sums for various development programs. Guatemala is one of 14 countries that maintains official relations with Taiwan (known as the “Republic of China”) instead of the People’s Republic of China.

The border dispute with Belize, which covers almost 50% of Belize’s land area, remains a repeatedly discussed topic. The territorial dispute caused problems with the United Kingdom and with Belize after independence in 1981. After a series of border incidents, the two sides agreed on confidence-building measures to reduce tensions during negotiations under the auspices of the Organization of American States in November 2000. In 2020, the dispute was sent to the UN International Court of Justice, whose decision both countries pledged to respect. However, the final decision of the dispute, whose beginnings stretch back to the 18th century, is expected in 3-7 years.

Population

Number of inhabitants and population density:
According to the latest estimates, 18.3 million inhabitants live in Guatemala (2021), the population density is 166. /km 2 (2021), approx. 7.1 million inhabitants are economically active and 51.8% of the population lives in cities (2019). The average annual increase was 2.07% (2019).

Demographic composition:
The largest group of the population consists of mestizos (50%), followed by Indians (44%). Whites make up 5% of the total population, blacks 1%.

Official language:
24 languages ​​are spoken in Guatemala. The official language is Spanish. A large percentage of the population speaks one of the 22 Mayan languages. The peace accords signed in December 1996 provide for the translation of some official documents and voting materials into several indigenous languages. Spanish, with 55-60% representation, is the dominant language in the center and east of the country. Indigenous languages ​​are represented at 40-45% (more than 20 Mayan languages, including Achi, K’iche, Kaqchikel, Q’eqchi, Mam.) Non-Mayan languages ​​are Garífuna and Xinca.

Religion:
In 2012, around 65-70% of the population claimed to be Catholic. Today, Protestantism is on the rise in Guatemala. The latest surveys show (2018) that the Catholic faith is about 42% of the population, the Protestant faith (Evangelicals) about 41% of the population, Native American and other religions about 1% of the population. Approximately 15% of the population is unaffiliated.