Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Guatemala


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The Mayan civilization flourished in Guatemala and surrounding regions during the first millennium A.D. After almost three centuries as a Spanish colony, Guatemala won its independence 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 left more than 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees. (from the CIA)
 
 

 

Economic Overview

Guatemala is the most populous of the central american countries with a gdp per capita roughly one-half that of argentina, brazil, and chile. the agricultural sector accounts for about one-tenth of gdp, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products, with sugar exports benefiting from increased global demand for ethanol. the 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and guatemala since then has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. on 1 july 2006, the central american free trade agreement (cafta) entered into force between the us and guatemala and has since spurred increased investment in the export sector. the distribution of income remains highly unequal with about 56% of the population below the poverty line. other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, upgrading both government and private financial operations, curtailing drug trafficking and rampant crime, and narrowing the trade deficit. given guatemala's large expatriate community in the united states, it is the top remittance recipient in central america, with inflows serving as a primary source of foreign income equivalent to nearly two-thirds of exports.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation in the peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution

Government Type

Constitutional democratic republic

Population

13,002,206 (july 2008 est.)

Location

Central america, bordering the north pacific ocean, between el salvador and mexico, and bordering the gulf of honduras (caribbean sea) between honduras and belize

Area

Total: 108,890 sq km land: 108,430 sq km water: 460 sq km

Slightly smaller than tennessee

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of guatemala conventional short form: guatemala local long form: republica de guatemala local short form: guatemala

Capital

Name: guatemala geographic coordinates: 14 37 n, 90 31 w time difference: utc-6 (1 hour behind washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last sunday in april; ends last friday in september; note - there is no dst planned for 2007-2009

Military Service

All male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are liable for military service; conscript service obligation varies from 12 to 24 months; women can serve as officers (2007)

International Disputes

Annual ministerial meetings under the oas-initiated agreement on the framework for negotiations and confidence building measures continue to address guatemalan land and maritime claims in belize and the caribbean sea; the line of adjacency created under the 2002 differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely inhabited rain forests of belize's border region; mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished guatemalans and other central americans who cross the porous border looking for work in mexico and the united states

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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