Guatemala. In the decisive round of the presidential election on November 6, Otto Pérez Molina won for Partido Patriota (PP) with 54% of the votes over Manuel Baldizón for Libertad Democrática Renovada (LIDER). Although Pérez lost in the countryside and only managed to win in fewer than half of the country’s 22 provinces, he secured the victory by winning in the largest, the province of Guatemala around the capital, where 13% of the electorate lives. Voter turnout was a record-high 61%, despite dramatic weather events with tropical downpours. What decided in Pérez’s favor were probably his promises to toughen the crime and to halve the murder statistics in four years, which in Guatemala is 41 murders per 100,000 population. Visit ABBREVIATIONFINDER for the acronym of GTM that stands for the country of Guatemala.
According to Countryaah official site, grassroots organizations and human rights groups had also expressed great concern during the election campaign for the militarization of society given that Pérez is a former general. Pérez himself pointed out that he represented the more moderate branch of the armed forces and was one of the advocates of the 1996 peace agreement, which ended a decades-long civil war, and that during his time as adviser to former President Óscar Berger (2004-08) military budget. He also promised the formation of a new Ministry of Social Affairs and that social reforms would be implemented to reduce poverty in the country comprising 65% of the population. The critics pointed out that the new police organization proposed by Pérez would in part consist of army units, which is contrary to the 1996 peace agreement.
At the same time, Pérez will face a highly divided congress. In the September 11 parliamentary elections, however, Pérez PP became the largest party with 57 seats. But the majority in the House belongs to dozens of other parties, which certainly did not constitute a unified opposition bloc, but the government will still be forced to use temporary majorities on individual issues.
In June, General Héctor Mario López Fuentes, arrested for genocide and human rights crimes during the 1960-96 civil war, was arrested, and in November President Álvaro Colom decided to extradite former President Alfonso Portillo (2000-04) to face trial money laundering.
GUATEMALA. – In February 1948 the Guatemala, which claims the territory of British Honduras, closed the border with it and reopened it only in May 1951 without prejudice to its claims.
Economic conditions. – The cultivation of coffee continues to be fundamental for the economy of Guatemala. In 1957 no less than 780,000 quintals of coffee were produced, which was exported for a value equivalent to 80% of the total exports. Banana cultivation has lost more and more importance due to diseases that have seriously damaged the plantations, and in 1956 the export of bananas, which still in 1948 constituted 20% of the total value of Guatemalan exports, dropped to 8 % only. In 1953 it was calculated that of the total area of the Republic, 10% was occupied by crops, 3% by meadows and pastures, 66% by forests and 21% by productive uncultivated and barren land. Important chromite deposits have been discovered.
Communications. – In 1952, in the innermost part of the Bahía de Santo Tomás (Sea of the Antilles), SSW of Puerto Barrios, the construction of the new port of Santo Tomás was started, to which only ships of no more than 3000 t can now access of tonnage.
Foreign trade. – In the five-year period 1953-57, imports had an average annual value of 111 million quetzales, and exports of 100.5 million (excluding precious metals). The United States continues to absorb the majority of Guatemalan foreign trade.
Finances. – In addition to the central bank, there are three banking institutions (one of which is state-owned) plus a foreign bank operating in the country. This centralizes a large part of the deposits collected, in excess of its credit possibilities established in relation to the share capital. Since the deposits raised are partly paid to the central bank, through the latter there is practically a redistribution of funds, in the form of loans from the bank itself to the other banks and to the two special credit institutions. These institutes, wholly owned by the state, grant funding for the development of production and agricultural activities. Guatemala is one of the few countries that did not participate in the general devaluation of 1949. The quetzal has always held up to par with the US dollar.