Guatemala Geopolitics

Guatemala Geopolitics

The history of Guatemala, since the conquest of independence from Spain in 1821, is characterized by dictatorships, foreign interventions, military coups and civil wars. The return to democracy took place between 1985 and 1986 through a constituent process and the holding of parliamentary elections. But the aftermath of the civil war, which began in 1960 between the military junta and the Guatemalan guerrillas and caused more than 200,000 victims, lasted until 1996. That year, the government of Álvaro Arzú Irigoyen and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca peace agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations. The action of justice against the crimes committed during the civil war is rather slow: the first sentence was issued only in 2009, the one against the former paramilitary Felipe Cusanero, desaparecido s is about 45,000).

According to itypeusa, the election as president of the republic of the former comedian Jimmy Morales, in 2015, put an end to a serious political-institutional crisis that arose following a corruption scandal, which also involved the then head of state Otto Pérez Molina.

The link between Guatemala and the United States has remained very strong from the Cold War to today, making the country one of the closest US allies in Latin America. Furthermore, the United States is the main Guatemalan trading partner: they absorb more than 38% of imports and exports. Guatemala is also an active part in the integration organizations of the Central American region, in particular in the Central American Integration System (SICA) and in the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (Sela) and, in the two-year period 2012-2013, took over one of the seats non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Guatemala is characterized by an unstable socio-economic condition. The literacy rate, at just under 79%, is among the lowest in Central American countries, the percentage of child labor is among the highest and poverty is widespread. The Guatemalan economy suffers from the fragmentation of economic policies and dependence on exports of basic products, the price of which is volatile. The entire economy of the country has been affected by the drop in the prices of agricultural commodities (such as coffee and cardamom), as the sector covers 11.3% of GDP and employs about 33% of the population. To overcome this dependence, a diversification process has been initiated over the last decade, the objective of which is, for example, to increase the cultivation of fruit and flowers directed to US and European markets. The secondary sector, which has developed around agro-food and textiles, produces mainly for the internal market and only partially for the regional one. However, exports to Latin American partners have grown significantly since the 1990s, and new partnership agreements with Europe and Asia are also being signed.

Finally, a very significant entry item for the national budget is made up of remittances from the United States, where more than one million Guatemalans work.

Physical characteristics

The backbone of the town is made up of an arch of ancient rocks covered, to the North, by sediments, especially marine, from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. At the center of the village there is a series of reliefs (Sierra de las Minas) separated by deep valleys in which various rivers flow (on the northern side the Río Chixoy; on the eastern side the Motagua, one of the longest and most greater range). AS the ancient base is instead covered by a thick layer of volcanic deposits; Guatemala has one of the most important active volcanic complexes in Central America (Tacaná, 4093 m; Tajumulco, 4220 m; Acatenango, 3976 m), located in the NW-SE direction, within a narrow strip that runs parallel to the coast of Pacific. The most active area is in the center of the chain, where they extend large lakes of volcanic origin, among which the most important is that of Atitlán (125 km 2), while the greatest number of extinct volcanoes is encountered proceeding towards the SW, where the altitude also decreases significantly. The foothill region that descends towards the Pacific is called Boca Costa. In this area the Alta Boca Costa, located between 1800 and 500 m above sea level, is contrasted with the temperate land producing coffee, and the Baja Boca Costa, between 500 and 100 m, which already belongs to the warm lands. Below is the coastal plain on the Pacific, with an inhospitable shore and vast regions subject to flooding in winter. The wettest regions (3000-6000 mm per year) are the mountainous slopes that oppose the winds coming from the Atlantic and the Pacific. The coastal plains of the Gulf of Honduras are also very rainy. In reverse, the Pacific coast and especially the inland basins have a much more arid climate (less than 1000 mm per year). The vegetation reflects these differences: Savannah-type formations meet in the North (Petén) and in the warm lands of the Pacific side; forests and savannas also extend into the valleys and basins of the interior. The humid tropical forest, evergreen or mixed, occupies vast areas of the country. Above 1500 m there are oak and pine forests and over 3500 m alpine meadows.

Guatemala Geopolitics