Guatemala is one of the world’s most unequal countries with large differences between the poor majority and a small wealthy elite. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of GTM and acronym for Guatemala. About 55 percent are estimated to live in poverty and in rural areas the figure is even higher with widespread malnutrition in children under five.
The indigenous maya, who dominate the countryside, belong to the poorest people groups and about 70% of children suffer from malnutrition.
During the 1960-96 civil war (see History), hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee from rural battles, creating growing slums in the cities. Many went to the United States to work, most of them illegally, and the money they send home to their families is one of the country’s most important sources of income. The state social insurance system covers health care, work injuries and childbirth, but is poorly functioning and in practice only covers a limited part of the population. Check to see Guatemala population.
After the 1996 peace agreement, violence has increased dramatically, largely due to the fighting between rival youth gangs and drug cartels, and the country has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Guatemala has become a transit country for the transport of cocaine from Colombia, and Mexican cartels have established a strong presence in the northern part of the country.
GUATEMALA. – In March 1936 Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras accepted the summit of Monte Cristo as the meeting point of their respective borders.
Demographic and economic conditions. – The 1w0 census attributes to Guatemala a population of 3,284,269 units, with an average density of 29.9 residents per sq. km. According to the 1946 assessment, the population would have risen to 3,706,206 residents.
Among the cities, the capital Guatemala la Nueva has 176,780 residents. (cens. 1940); other important cities are: Quezaltenango (30.125 residents), Coban (26.774ab.), Zacapa (18.094 residents).
The most extensive cultivation is that of coffee: the territories of the Pacific side offer a more abundant production (688,000 q. In 1944-45), those of the Atlantic side more scarce, but more valuable. In 1943, a total of 425,544 individuals worked on the coffee plantations. The cultivation of sugar cane (402,000 q. In 1944-45) and banana, this in slight decrease (2.3 million q. Exported in 1939 against 1.9 in 1945) follow in importance, due to the spread of illnesses. Until 1935, 4/5 of banana production came from the Motagua valley and the Atlantic lowlands: in 1940, on the other hand, about 3/5 of the plantations were located on the Pacific side, much less infested by the aforementioned diseases. The zootechnical patrimony is constituted (1945) by 640.000 head of cattle, 365.900 sheep, 240.000 pigs.
From 1944 to 1946, imported goods had a value of 20.7, 23.3 and 36.2 million quetzales, respectively, and exported goods had a value of 23.8, 30.4 and 36.6 million. Maritime traffic runs through Puerto Barrios and Livingston on the Atlantic, San José and Champerico on the Pacific.
Finance. – Below are the figures of the financial statements from 1939-40 to 1948-49 (financial years from 10 July to 30 June):
The country’s financial and currency situation during the war and after the war can be defined as particularly solid, as shown by the following indicators: repayment in the years 1944 and 1945 of all domestic and foreign public debt; increase in the country’s gold and foreign exchange reserves in the period December 1939-April 1948 from 11.4 to 55 million quetzales ; practical abolition of exchange control. A monetary and banking reform was implemented with the collaboration of the US between December 1945 and December 1946, with the enactment: a) of a monetary law, which unified the issue, established for the quetzal the same gold parity of the dollar of 0.888671 gr. fine (then communicated to the International Monetary Fund), and prepared rules for the possible application of exchange control; b) the organic law of Banco de Guatemala, a new issuing institution, with capital fully subscribed by the state, which has absorbed the activities of the Central Bank, with functions similar to that of the FRS of the US; c) a banking law, which divided the banks into: “commercial”, “mortgage” and “capitalization” and established a complex credit control system. At 30 April 1948, circulation amounted to 32.5 million (December 1939: 9.3 million) and sight deposits with banks rose to 22.9 million.
Guatemala City, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala City, Capital of Guatemala; 4.1 million in the metropolitan area (2011). The city was founded in 1776 after the former capital of Antigua was destroyed by an earthquake a few years earlier. It is situated at an altitude of 1500 m near four volcanoes and has been hit by earthquakes several times. in 1917, when it was almost destroyed but rebuilt with wide, straight streets and many squares and parks.
The city is the center of a fertile subtropical agricultural land; the average. temperatures differ slightly from 19 °C all year round. The rain falls especially from May to October. Ciudad de Guatemala is a bustling industrial and commercial city with increasing pollution and smog problems. A large influx of highlands in the 1970’s and 1980’s has created widespread slums, and unemployment is high among this underprivileged class, made up of Native Americans and mestizos. The streets are marked by shoe polishers and street children, who live in an everyday life of petty crime, hunger, cold and glue sniffing and with abuse and police violence as the typical adult contact. During the civil war in Guatemala, many migrants came to the city, and it has grown tremendously, even in land. It is especially the slums that have received refugees.
The city is the country’s cultural center and has a number of national museums, but only a few colonial buildings; the cathedral of San Jaime from the late 1700’s. is one of the few preserved. The modern city hall from 1943 is built in concrete with a facade decoration inspired by Mayan art.