Geographic and Governmental Profile of Guatemala

Background
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 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees. In January 2012, Guatemala assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.
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
Geographic coordinates
15 30 N, 90 15 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Central America and the Caribbean
Area
total:
108,889 sq km
rank:
107
land:
107,159 sq km
water:
1,730 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Tennessee
Land boundaries
total:
1,687 km
border countries:
Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km, Mexico 962 km
Coastline
400 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
Terrain
mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m
highest point in Central America
Natural resources
petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
13.22%
permanent crops:
5.6%
other:
81.18% (2005)
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Irrigated land
2,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
111.3 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
2.01 cu km/yr (6%/13%/80%)
per capita:
160 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms
volcanism:
significant volcanic activity in the Sierra Madre range; Santa Maria (elev. 3,772 m) has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pacaya (elev. 2,552 m), which erupted in May 2010 causing an ashfall on Guatemala City and prompting evacuations, is one of the country's most active volcanoes with frequent eruptions since 1965; other historically active volcanoes include Acatenango, Almolonga, Atitlan, Fuego, and Tacana
Environment - current issues
deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
no natural harbors on west coast
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Guatemala
conventional short form:
Guatemala
local long form:
Republica de Guatemala
local short form:
Guatemala
Government type
constitutional democratic republic
Capital
name:
Guatemala City
geographic coordinates:
14 37 N, 90 31 W
time difference:
UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
22 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango, Quiche, Retalhuleu, Sacatepequez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solola, Suchitepequez, Totonicapan, Zacapa
Independence
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Constitution
31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended 25 May 1993; reinstated 5 June 1993; amended November 1993
Legal system
civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; the Congress ratified Statute of Rome on 18 January 2012, and ICCt jurisdiction entered into force on 23 February 2012
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal; note - active duty members of the armed forces and police may not vote by law and are restricted to their barracks on election day
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Otto Fernando PEREZ MOLINA (since 14 January 2012); Vice President Ingrid Roxana BALDETTI Elias (since 14 January 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Otto Fernando PEREZ MOLINA (since 14 January 2012); Vice President Ingrid Roxana BALDETTI Elias (since 14 January 2012)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections:
president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 11 September 2011; runoff held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held in September 2015)
election results:
Otto PEREZ Molina elected president in a runoff election; percent of vote - Otto PEREZ Molina 53.7%, Manuel BALDIZON 46.3%
Legislative branch
unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (158 seats; members elected through a party list proportional representation system)
elections:
last held on 11 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2015)
election results:
percent of vote by party - PP 26.62%, UNE-GANA 22.67%, UNC 9.50%, LIDER 8.87%, CREO 8.67%, VIVA-EG 7.87%, Winaq-URNG-ANN 3.23%, PAN 3.12%, FRG 2.74%, PU 2.70%, other 3.59%; seats by party - PP 57, UNE-GANA 48, LIDER 14, UCN 14, CREO 12, VIVA-EG 6, PAN 2, Winaq-URNG-ANN 2, FRG 1, PU 1, VICTORIA 1; note - changes in party affiliation now reflect the following seat distribution: as of 2 March 2012 - PP 62, LIDER 25, UCN 18, Independents 12, CREO 11, GANA 9, UNE 8, VIVA 3, EG 3, PAN 2, PAN 4, FRG 1, PU 1, Winaq 1, URNG 1, VICTORIA 1
Judicial branch
Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitucionalidad is Guatemala's highest court (five judges and five alternate judges are elected by Congress for concurrent five-year terms); Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (13 members are elected by Congress to serve concurrent five-year terms and elect a president of the Court each year from among their number; the president of the Supreme Court of Justice also supervises trial judges around the country, who are named to five-year terms)
Political parties and leaders
Commitment, Renewal, and Order or CREO [Rodolfo NEUTZE]; Democratic Union or UD [Edwin Armando MARTINEZ Herrera]; Encounter for Guatemala or EG [Nineth MONTENEGRO]; Grand National Alliance or GANA [Jaime Antonio MARTINEZ Lohayza]; Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity or URNG [Hector Alfredo NUILA Ericastilla]; Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG [Luis Fernando PEREZ]; National Advancement Party or PAN [Juan GUTIERREZ]; National Unity for Hope or UNE; National Welfare or Bien [Fidel REYES Lee]; Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Mario ESTRADA]; New National Alternative or ANN [Pablo MONSANTO]; Patriot Party or PP [Ingrid Roxana BALDETTI Elias]; Renewed Democratic Liberty or LIDER [Manuel BALDIZON]; Unionista Party or PU [Alvaro ARZU Irigoyen]; Victoria (Victory) [Abraham RIVERA]; Winaq [Rigoberta MENCHU]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Alliance Against Impunity or AI (which includes among others Center for Legal Action on Human Rights (CALDH), and Family and Friends of the Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA)); Agrarian Owners Group or UNAGRO; Committee for Campesino Unity or CUC; Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations or CACIF (which includes among others the Agrarian Chamber (CAMAGRO) and the Industry Chamber of Guatemala (CIG)); Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce (Camara de Comercio); International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala or CICIG; Mutual Support Group or GAM; Movimiento PRO-Justicia
International organization participation
BCIE, CACM, CELAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador (vacant)
chancery:
2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 745-4953
FAX:
[1] (202) 745-1908
consulate(s) general:
Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Providence, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Arnold A. CHACON
embassy:
7-01 Avenida Reforma, Zone 10, Guatemala City
mailing address:
DPO AA 34024
telephone:
[502] 2326-4000
FAX:
[502] 2326-4654
Flag description
three equal vertical bands of light blue (hoist side), white, and light blue, with the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms includes a green and red quetzal (the national bird) representing liberty and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original date of independence from Spain) all superimposed on a pair of crossed rifles signifying Guatemala's willingness to defend itself and a pair of crossed swords representing honor and framed by a laurel wreath symbolizing victory; the blue bands stand for the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and the sea and sky; the white band denotes peace and purity
National symbol(s)
quetzal (bird)
National anthem
name:
"Himno Nacional de Guatemala" (National Anthem of Guatemala)
lyrics/music:
Jose Joaquin PALMA/Rafael Alvarez OVALLE
adopted 1897, modified lyrics adopted 1934; Cuban poet Jose Joaquin PALMA anonymously submitted lyrics to a public contest calling for a national anthem; his authorship was not discovered until 1911
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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