Official Name: Republic
of the Name of Guatemala: The name Guatemala means
land of the trees in the Maya-Toltec language.
of Government: republic with one legislative house.
of State: president.
15 September 1821 (from Spain)
holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; note - suspended
25 May 1993 by former President SERRANO; reinstated
5 June 1993 following ouster of president; amended
November 1993 Read
the Guatemalan Constitution (Spanish)
system: civil law system; judicial review of legislative
acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal (active duty members of
the armed forces may not vote)
branch: chief of state: President Alfonso
Antonio Portillo Cabrera (since 14 January 2000);
Vice President Juan Francisco Reyes Lopez (since
14 January 2000); note - the president is both the
chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Alfonso Antonio
Portillo Cabrera (since 14 January 2000); Vice President
Juan Francisco Reyes Lopez (since 14 January 2000);
note - the president is both the chief of state and
head of government
Council of Ministers named by the president
president elected by popular vote for a four-year
term; election last held 7 November 1999; runoff held
26 December 1999 (next to be held NA November 2003)
election results: Alfonso Antonio Portillo Cabrera
elected president; percent of vote - Alfonso Antonio
Portillo Cabrera (FRG) 68%, Oscar Berger Perdomo (PAN)
Legislative branch: unicameral Congress of the Republic
or Congreso de la Republica (113 seats; members are
elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 7 November 1999 (next
to be held in November 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party -
NA%; seats by party - FRG 63, PAN 37, ANN 9, DCG 2,
UD/LOV 1, PLP 1
note: for the 7 November 1999 election, the
number of congressional seats was increased from 80
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or
Corte Suprema de Justicia (thirteen members 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); Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitutcionalidad
(five judges are elected for concurrent five-year
terms by Congress, each serving one year as president
of the Constitutional Court; one is elected by Congress,
one elected by the Supreme Court of Justice, one appointed
by the President, one elected by Superior Counsel
of Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala, and one by
Colegio de Abogados)
Political parties and leaders: Authentic Integral
Development or DIA [Jorge Luis Ortega];
Democratic Union or UD [Jose Luis Chea Urruela];
Green Party or LOV [Jose Asturias Rudecke];
Guatemalan Christian Democracy or DCG [Vinicio
Cerezo Arevalo]; Guatemalan National Revolutionary
Unity or URNG [Pablo Monsanto, also known
as Jorge Soto]; Guatemalan Republican Front or
FRG [Efrain Rios Montt]; New Nation
Alliance or ANN [leader NA], which includes
the URNG; National Advancement Party or PAN
[Leonel Lopez Rodas]; Progressive Liberator
Party or PLP [Acisclo Valladares Molina]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Agrarian Owners
Group or UNAGRO; Alliance Against Impunity
or AAI; Committee for Campesino Unity or CUC;
Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial,
Industrial, and Financial Associations or CACIF;
Mutual Support Group or GAM
International organization participation: BCIE,
CACM, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD,
ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO,
IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent),
ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW
(signatory), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU,
UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO.
representation in the US: chief of mission:
Ambassador Ariel RIVERA Irias
chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington,
telephone:  (202) 745-4952
Fax:  (202) 745-1908
consulate(s) general: Chicago,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco
representation from the US: chief of mission:
Ambassador Prudence BUSHNELL
embassy: 7-01 Avenida Reforma, Zone 10, Guatemala
mailing address: APO AA 34024
telephone:  331-1541/55
108,889 square km (42,042 square miles).
Point: Tajamulco Volcano, 4,220 meters/
13,845 ft. above sea level.
(July 2001 est.)
years: 42.11% (male 2,789,189; female
15-64 years: 54.25% (male 3,518,209;
65 years and over: 3.64% (male 220,640;
female 251,725) (2001 est.)
growth rate: 2.6% (2001 est.)
to Rural Population: 38.7% urban; 61.3% rural
Density: 99.2 people per square km (256.9 people
per square mile).
Ladinos (mixed Hispanic and aboriginal origin);
aboriginal (Maya); Carib (African origin).
and Populations (at mid-1995):
is divided up into 22 departments.
Principal Towns and Populations
Achi', Akateko, Awakateko, Chalchiteko, Ch'orti',
Chuj, Itzá, Ixil, Popti', Kaqchikel, K'iche',
Mam, Mopan, Poqoman, Poqomchi, Q'anjob'al, Q'eqchi',
Sakapulteko, Sipakapense, Spanish, Tekiteko, Tz'utujil,
Uspanteko, Garifuna and Xinka.
Guatemala City (official population estimate at mid-1996:
Quetzal (Q); 1Q=100 centavos.
predominantly catholic, 1/3 of which are Catholic/traditional
syncretist; other Christian; traditional Maya.
Zone: GMT -6 hours; -5 in summer.
and Measures: metric system.
110 and 220 V.
Holidays for 2000:
1 (New Years Day), January 6 (Epiphany), 21-24 April
(Easter), May 1 (Labor Day), June 30 (Anniversary
of the Revolution), August 15 (Assumption, Guatemala
City only), September 15 (Independence Day), October
12 (Columbus Day), October 20 (Revolution Day), November
1 (All Saints Day), December 24-25 (Christmas), December
31 (New Years Eve).
and Entry Requirements:
it is important to contact a local Guatemalan
consulate to check for changes in requirements
before leaving for Guatemala, current
requirements are as follows:
Visa is required for citizens of Australia,
Brazil, Canada, all Central American countries,
the EU, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand,
Norway, Switzerland and the US. At the
airport citizens of these countries must
present their valid passport, and will
be asked by custom officials how long
they intend to stay (thirty, sixty or
ninety days). Although there is officially
no charge to enter Guatemala, generally
the officials ask for some sort of small
of some other countries (including the
Czech Republic, Poland, South Africa and
most Gulf States) will need a tourist
card, which is available at the point
of entry (for about US$5) and valid for
up to ninety days.
for other countries (most African and
Asian) will need a visa bought in advance
from a Guatemalan consulate at least a
month before entering Guatemala. These
should cost around US$10.
extend visas to ninety days, visitors
must go to the immigration department
in Guatemala City (at 41 Calle and 17
Avenida in Zona 8). Allow one full day
for processing the visa. Visitors closer
to surrounding countries may find it easier
to cross into another country and re-enter
English: Revue, Guatemala Post.
Spanish: El Periódico, Siglo Veintiuno,
Prensa Libre, Diario de Centroamérica, La Hora,
Impacto, Imparcial, La Nación, La Tarde.
on the east by Belize and the Gulf of Honduras, on
the west and north by Mexico, on the southeast by
Honduras and El Salvador, and on the south by the
Highlands & Pacific Coastal Lowlands: Have
a dry season form May to October and a rainy season
the rest of the year.
Highlands: Warm days and cool nights; at higher
altitudes, the temperature can fall to zero degrees
Celsius in December and January; average annual temperature
of 20 degrees C (68 degrees F).
Atlantic Coastal Regions and Petén lowlands:
tropical, hot and humid; average annual temperature
of 28.3 degrees C (83 degrees F); heavy rainfall all
through the year.
Oriente: hot and dry.
1525-2540 mm (60-100 inches).
Highlands: about 1320 mm (52 inches).
Lowland and Western Highland: 760-1500 mm (30-60
Highland: 510-760 mm (20-30 inches).
varies from tropical in lower valleys to temperate
semi-deciduous forests, and at the highest elevations,
Highlands: 1,100-2,400m (3,500-8,000
ft.) above sea level with mountain ranges diminishing
in elevation from east to west.
Highlands: between the volcanic mountain
chain of the Sierra Madre to the South and the Cuchamatantes
chain of the Sierra Madre to the north; pine forests,
lakes, streams, deep valleys, cool mountain air, volcanoes
(3 active- Pacaya, Santiaguito, fuego); prone to earthquakes
and eruptions; two major fault lines.
Highlands: narrow coastal plain, rivers.
Oriente (eastward to the Caribbean Sea): deep
valley lowlands separated by eastern mountain ranges,
Region: elevated plain east of the Cuchamatanes
of the Central Highlands; lakes, rainforest, nature
Lowlands: Caribbean coastal plain towards the
Gulf of Honduras; Montagua valley, swampy flatlands
with Guatemalas largest lake (Lago Izabal),
which drains into the Caribbean through the Rio Dulce,
short coastline with a port; beaches.
Northern third of Guatemala that extends into the
Yucatan Peninsula; limestone plateau with numerous
sinkholes; ranges from grazing land to tropical rainforest
of hardwood trees.
Lowlands: southern side of the highlands beneath
the mountain chain; largely farmland, forest-lined
streams, grassy, beaches.
Ranges: Cuchumatanes range stretches east from Chixoy
or Negro River, where it divides into two groups, the
Cuchmatanes and Verapaz mountains; Sierra Madre mountains
stretch from east to west and divide the Pacific slope
from the midlands. Minor ranges include the Chamá,
Santa Cruz, Chuacús, Las Minas, Montañas
Points: East/West: 430 km (270 miles); North/South:
450 km (280 miles)
Rivers: Motagua, Usumcinta, Dulce, Polochic, Sarstún.
Lakes: Izabal (800 square km/38 square miles),
Petén Itzá (98 square km/ 38 square
miles), Atitlán (126 square km/ 49 miles),
Amatitlán (16 square km/6 square miles).
coordinates: 15 30 N, 90 15 W
continental shelf: 200-m depth
or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
and Economic Indicators (1996):
domestic product (million queztales at 1990
per heat (quetzales at 1990 prices) 3,
growth of real GDP (%) 3.0
growth of real GDP per head (%)
budget (million queztales at current prices)
price index (annual average; base: 1990=100)
of inflation (annual average, %)
exchange reserves (US$ million at Dec 31)
c.i.f. (US $ million) 3146.1
f.o.b. (US $ million) 2030.8
of payments -451.5
National product (purchasing power parity
of GNP per head, USA = 100, 1995): 12.4
active population (official estimate, 1995):
public debt (external, outstanding , 1996):
receipts US$ 277,000,000; expenditures US $174,000,000
(metric tones except as noted): Agriculture, forestry,
fishing (1996): sugarcane, 14,380,000, corn (maize)
1,135,896, bananas 676,692, coffee, 207,000, tomatoes,
129,168, oil palm fruit 126,000, livestock (number
of live animals) 2,291,440 cattle, 950,408 pigs, 21,000,000
chickens; roundwood (1995) 14,123,400 cu m; fish catch
(1995) 11,927. Mining and quarrying (1994); gypsum
(1993) 60,000; iron ore 3,498; antimony ore 494. Manufacturing
(value added in Q000,000; 1995): food and beverage
products 273; clothing and textiles 111; machinery
and metal products 51. Construction (value of building
authorized in Q000,000; 1991): residential 170.2;
nonresidential 127.5. Energy production (consumption:
electricity (kw/h; 1994) 3,161,000,000; crude petroleum
(barrel; 1994) 2,632,000; petroleum products (metric
tons; 1994) 750 (1,805,000).
(females, 68; males 63)
- adult prevalence rate: 1.38% (1999 est.)
- people living with HIV/AIDS: 73,000 (1999 est.)
- deaths: 3,600 (1999 est.)
Enrollment Ratio (7-8 years, 1995): 57%
Illiteracy Rate (15 years and older, 1995): male:
23.8%, female 38.9%
Exports: coffee, bananas, sugar,
Activity Rate (Adults, GDP $US, 1998): Male 83,
with Access to Safe Water (1995): urban: 97%,
with Adequate Access to Proper Sanitation (1995):
urban: 91%, rural: 50%
Mortality Rate: 46 births out of 1000
- main lines in use: 665,061 (June 2000)
- mobile cellular: 663,296 (September 2000)
system: general assessment: fairly modern
network centered in the city of Guatemala
connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite
earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
broadcast stations: AM 130, FM 487, shortwave
broadcast stations: 26 (plus 27 repeaters) (1997)
1.323 million (1997)
country code: .gt
Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2000)
users: 65,000 (2000)