Guatemala has a democratic form of government. The people elect a president to head the government for a term of five years. A vice president elected by the people also serves a five-year term. The president and vice president are allowed to serve only one term. The president appoints a Cabinet of ministers who carry out the operations of the government. A 100- meter congress makes the laws of Guatemala. Members of Congress are elected by the people to five-year terms, which can be renewed. Guatemala has several political parties. The two major parties are the Christian Democratic Party and the Union of the National Centre. Guatemala is divided into 22 departments for purposes of local government. The departments are divided into a total of about 330 municipios (cities or townships). A governor, appointed by the president, heads each department, except for the capital department. A mayor had a council, both elected by the people, head the capital department. An elected mayor and council also head each municipio. Court. The Supreme Court of Justice is Guatemala’s highest court. The president appoints its members of some other high courts. The Supreme Court of Justice appoints the judges of the lower courts.
However, this does not mean that Guatemala is really a democracy because not all of the people’s votes matter. Among the factors bedeviling Guatemalan history and politics is that the country is the product of an incomplete conquest. Though Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado subdued the native Mayan peoples in the 1520s and 1530s, they have to this day remained a majority. That is in sharp contrast with the outcome in such settler states as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and (within Latin America) Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Costa Rica, where European populations quickly became majorities.
Guatemala is likewise a settler state, in that its political system is dominated by descendents of European settlers. But because the European-Americans have stayed a tiny minority, Guatemala has remained unstable, like other settler states in which minority populations of European ancestry have tried to govern native majorities. Examples include South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) before their conversion to majority rule, and present-day Bolivia and Peru, which, like Guatemala, have Amerindian majorities, and a long history of political instability.
The attempt to preserve minority rule in settler states has costly social and political consequences. One is the tendency to resort to violence—or a credible threat of violence—to contain pressures for majority rule. Such countries tend to become highly militarized, with armies whose primary purpose is not to defend the nation from external attack, but to maintain internal order.
Because of their monopoly over the political system and legal instruments of coercion, the descendents of settlers also have enormous advantages in education and business, advantages that accentuate the gulf between rich and poor. According to the World Bank, Guatemala has one of the world’s most unequal distributions of wealth and income. The close association between ethnicity and poverty in turn reinforces widely-held racial prejudices, undermining ideals of shared nationality and citizenship that could (as they do in many Asian countries) help shape a consensus for social reform.
Guatemala is the most northerly of the Central American republics. The name Guatemala may come from an ancient Aztec word meaning land of trees. To the west and northern of Guatemala lies Mexico, and to the east of it are Belize, an Atlantic coastline of 110 kilometers and the republics of Honduras and El Salvador In the south, Guatemala has a Pacific coastline of 320 kilometers. Both coastal regions are hot lowland plains. A range of high volcanic mountains called the Sierra Madre runs from east to west across the southern part of the country. In the center are flat-topped highlands. The northern region, about one-third of the whole, is a plain covered with grass or forest; it is called El Peten. Guatemala City is the capital and largest city of Guatemala. The city lies on plateau in south-central Guatemala that is about 1,500 meters above sea level. The climate varies with height, being hot and damp in the coastal regions and El Peten, but spring-like all the year. The rainy season is from May to October. Pine trees grow on the heights, oaks on the lower slopes and tropical vegetation in the lowlands.
The main sources of Guatemala’s income are exported farm products, especially coffee, sugar and bananas. Guatemala has close economic and political ties with the Unites States. The United States is Guatemala’s chief trading partner and imports much Guatemalan coffee. Most of Guatemala’s coffee is grown along the southern edge of the broad central mountainous region. A large, thinly populated plain with thick rainforests lies north of the central mountains. South of the mountains, farmers grow cotton and sugar cane and raise beef cattle on a grassy lowland. This lowland area lies between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The people of Guatemala can then be divided into two groups- Indians and people of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry known as Ladinos. Most of them live in small villages and grow maize and beans as their main food. They make baskets, pottery, and wood carvings and bring them to market in big nets which they carry supported from the forehead.
Most of the power in the country, however, lies with the comparatively few people descended from the Spaniards or of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry, who own the large plantations and control the few factories. Although the schools are free for all children up to 14, half the people are unable to read and write .There is a shortage of state schools and private schools flourish. The Indians live in small country settlements or in towns. Most of the Ladinos live in cities or towns. Guatemala has a high population rate-about 2.9 percent a year. The number of Ladinos is increasing much faster than that of the Indians. This is largely because the Ladinos have greater opportunities for medical care in the cities and towns, which are chiefly Ladino. As a result they have a lower death rate than the Indians. There has also been a gradual shift among the Indians toward Ladino way of life.
Guatemala is a developing country. Its major natural resource is fertile soil, and farming is the leading goods- producing industry. Thick forests cover almost half the land. Most other forests consist of cedrela, mahogany, and other hardwood trees. Guatemala has deposits of petroleum, antimony, lead, nickel, zinc, and other minerals. The country’s many mountain streams are a source of cheap hydroelectric power. Guatemala has several hydroelectric plants, the first of which opened in 1970.
Guatemala is a member of the Central American Common Market, an economic union of five nations. This organization is based on the General Treaty for Central American Economic Integration. Guatemala’s trade with the other market countries , especially El Salvador, ranks second in value only to that with the Unites States, Guatemala’s main trading partner. Guatemala’s economy depends heavily on the export of farm products. The chief exports are coffee, bananas, cotton, sugar, and a spice called cardamom. Coffee makes up about 30 percent of the total exports.
Service Industries are those economic activities that produce services, not goods. Such activities account for half of Guatemala’s gross domestic product, the annual value of goods and services produces within the country. Manufacturing in Guatemala is growing, but it has not kept up with the heavy movement of people to Guatemala City and other cities. As a result, the cities have a serious unemployment problem. The people’s low income, along with limited power sources and poor transportation, prevent faster industrial growth.
Guatemala has an army of about 40,000 men. The army includes a small air force and naval force. Men between the ages of 18 and 50 are required to serve from 2 to 2 ½ years. However, this does not mean that Guatemala’s army can threaten its neighbors, but it can threaten the poor Indians. This is because the Indians have no kind of control over them and have no weapons too defend themselves.
Views on World Problems
Guatemala trained anti Castro guerillas in the early 60’s. It is a terrorist filled country and has many sociopolitical problems. It’s main enemy is itself and focuses on trying to solve its own problems. It is basically a case of "rightist" Ladinos keeping things orderly versus "leftist" Indians who want land reform. Guatemala shows a rebellious history, and often stand in the face of authority. Basically, Guatemala is only interested in world problems concerning them or can ease any of their problems.
Once the site of the impressive ancient Mayan civilization, Guatemala was conquered by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524 and set itself up as a republic in 1839 after the United Provinces of Central America collapsed. From 1898 to 1920, the dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera ran the country and welcomed U.S. investment, and from 1931 to 1944, Gen. Jorge Ubico Castaneda served as strongman.
In 1954 the United States aided the anti-Arbenz military force that placed Col. Carlos Castillo Armas in power. When Castillo Armas was assassinated three years later, Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes became president. Guatemalan bases were used to train anti-Castro guerrillas in the early 1960s. In 1963 the prospect of the return to power of Arévalo led to a military coup under the defense minister, Enrique Peralta Azurdia. However, leftist terrorism mounted and in turn provoked rightist terrorism. In 1966 the moderate leftist Julio César Méndez Montenegro was elected president. Political violence continued under his administration. In Aug., 1968, the U.S. ambassador was assassinated. In the election of 1970, Col. Carlos Arana Osorio, an extreme conservative, was chosen president. He imposed a one-year state of siege in an attempt to end the violence. In the early 1970s many labor and political leaders were killed and several foreign diplomats were kidnapped. When no candidate received an absolute majority in the presidential election of 1974, the legislature declared Gen. Kjell Laugerud Garcia the winner, even though Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, the anti-government candidate, had allegedly won a plurality. Political violence and military rule continued well into the 1980s. The withdrawal of U.S. support from the Guatemalan military resulted in the election of a civilian, Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, as president in 1985, but his government did not seem to constitute any substantial challenge to the power of the military.
In 1991 Cerezo was succeeded by Jorge Serrano Elumlas, a right-wing businessman with military ties. Serrano adopted economic reforms, but they resulted in a decline in living standards and led to antigovernment protests. In 1993 he attempted to institute rule by decree, but the army withdrew its support and forced him to resign. Ramiro de Le?n Carpio, the attorney general for human rights, was elected by the congress to succeed Serrano and won passage of constitutional reforms.
101 The Question of the Condition and Treatment of Refugees
Guatemala feels that countries that accept refugees should decide how to treat them without the interference of the UN. After all, the host country is already being charitable. Guatemala also feels that the UN should redirect some of the funding it is using for countries that have refugees to poor countries where they can be put better. This is because the host countries that accept refugees are responsible for them.
102 The Question of the Role of Regional Organizations in Settling International Conflicts
Guatemala feels that many international conflicts can be solved by the involvement of regional organizations. Guatemala suggests that all countries involved in conflicts should be aided by neighboring countries in order to maintain world peace. Aid can be financial or military. Most Third World countries are unable to solve their own problems within their country because they don’t have enough money. Such country is Guatemala. Guatemala is suffering from a lot of economical and educational problems because of the lack of money. Guatemala feels that donor countries, that are able to come up with the necessary funds, play a major role in settling international organization.
103 The Question of Growth and Implementation of Information Technology on Global Communication
Guatemala deeply supports the Growth and Implementation of Information Technology on Global Communication. Guatemala feels that all countries should participate in this growth so third world countries and countries ravaged by war should be funded or funded by the necessary hardware. One such country is Guatemala. Countries like Guatemala should also be educated to keep with such growth. In these modern times, education means everything, and minds should not be repressed.
Guatemala applauds the UN’s efforts for developing information technology by establishing the United Nations Centre For Regional Development (UNCRD). Also, it applauds any country who is capable and is ready to donate money and necessary hardware for the Third World countries that lack technology.
Taking Note of the United Nations to the problem of aiding the Growth and Implementation of Information Technology on Global Communication,
Recognizing that the population of Third World countries would be repressed by the failure to act positively in providing the necessary aid to be technologically advanced in computering and communication,
Deeply disturbed by the lack of progress today in aiding the Third World countries with this problem,
Expressing its appreciation to the conclusions made by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to develop world communication,
Deeply concerned that Third World Countries are not receiving presently:
1) The necessary funding to get the necessary tools, equipment and computers to participate in this growth.
2) The necessary hardware to participate in this growth.
1. Expresses its hope that donor countries prioritizethe question of Growth and Implementation of Information Technology on Global Communication,The donor countries are those who:
I)Are already technologically advanced in computering and communication.
II)Are capable of solving their own problems within their country
III) Have enough money to return their debts
2. Requests that Donor countries provide the ThirdWorld countries with: I)) The funding needed to get the necessary tools, books and software II) The necessary hardware for computers III) To form a new organization which can be called The United Nations’ Organization for Educational and Technological Programs. In this organization, they can create an educational and technological class in at least every school in the Third World countries.Also, they can provide good educational programs to the countries that are in need in order to build a strong generation,
3. Bearing in mind that the education of Third World countries is required to keep up with the growth and implementation on Global Communication,
4. Trusts that the richer members of the United Nations would share belief in these conclusions,
5. Emphasizes the need for aid by countries in the Third World and those ravaged by wars.
6. Congratulates any effort made the United Nations and any country who would try to help in ending
President, Mr. Secretary General, Honorable Chairs, fellow delegates, Good afternoon. Guatemala is honored and pleased to be here. We hope that this would be a very productive and helpful meeting. Guatemala, among any other countries, is suffering from a variety of economical, educational and technological problems that have not been fully recognized in the United Nations. Our aim is to emphasize these problems and to hopefully find some suitable solutions. Guatemala is a country with the necessary potential for becoming a trading country. Guatemala has great natural sources like coffee, bananas and sugar which can be exported to other countries. However this cannot be done correctly without having a good education and technology. The minds of the people in Guatemala are being repressed from the lack of technology and poor education. Looking at the history of Guatemala, the Mayans were the most advanced civilization in pre-Spanish Mexico. The most remarkable achievements of the Mayans were in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, hieroglyphics writing, and calendrics. As a result, they were able to devise several calendars, one which is more accurate than the 365 day calendar we use today! Guatemala gave these gifts to the countries of the world, and yet Guatemala, like many countries is being left behind, not by the lack of interest, but by the lack of funding in which to invest in today’s most advanced technology in computery. Guatemala feels that if support and help is being given to the Third world countries, the world is going to benefit from it by allowing clever people to participate in the technology
Finally, Guatemala hopes that in the end of this session, good resolutions would be submitted in solving this problem and in helping the Third World countries to implement in the Growth of Information Technology on Global Communication.