Republic of Guatemala
The Republic of Guatemala is a Central American country with a population of over 13 million people. Home to the Mayan civilization, Guatemala obtained independence from its Spanish colonizers in the year 1821. Despite being a small country geographically, the country is fairly diverse in terms of its topography with forests, mountains, volcanoes and lakes. Over one-third of the population is employed in the agricultural industry, and the country’s
Guatemala endured a lengthy civil war that lasted from 1960 –1996. It is estimated that during this time over 200,000 people were killed or disappeared, and 1 million refugees were created, a significant proportion of Guatemala’s relatively small population. It was also approximated that 98% of violent incidents during the war were committed by government forces, yet many were never held accountable legally. Organized crime, violence and the drug trade impact the stability of Guatemala today, as well as the ability of the population to thrive.
The majority of the population, almost 60%, identify as Mestizo and European, while the remainder of the population identify with groups indigenous to Guatemala. Indigenous communities are particularly impacted by inequality in Guatemala today. This is evident in disparities in literacy rates, mortality rates at all ages as well as health indicators such as malnutrition levels. An estimated 60% of the country’s population speak Spanish which is the official language, however the remainder of the population speak indigenous languages.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there are currently over 6,000 refugees originating from Guatemala in the world today, in addition to over 1,000 asylum seekers. Many of the refugees and asylum seekers fled to Mexico or the United States. Remittances sent back to their home country by those in the United States now account for the largest source of foreign income for the country.
CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gt.html
BBC World Country Profile: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1215758.stm
UN Data: http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=Guatemala