northanger (northanger) wrote,

Guatemala: A Brief Sketch

Maya civilization covered most of Guatemala for 2000 years before the Spanish conquests during the 16th century. quick thumbnail sketch of Guatemala history here. essentially, the Spanish established a system of serfdom. United Fruit Company (called the Green Octopus by Che Guevara) dominated the region for years. during the 1950s, evil spread of communism leads to a CIA-backed coup against democratically-elected President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán installing an extreme right-wing regime. during the next 30 years, Guatemala ruled by a series of military dictators backed by U.S. government (& remains one of the most highly-militarized regions today; U.S. also sent the Green Berets to Guatemala to transform its Army into a "modern counter-insurgency force"). this time marked by atrocities: over 400 Mayan villages wiped out, 150,000 people died, 50,000 disappeared & over one million people become refugees. 1996 peace accords leads to successive democractic elections; however, corruption remains rampant throughout all levels of government.

Guatemala produces coffee, sugar & bananas. 75% of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. goes through Guatemala. Maya Biosphere Reserve is a critical bio-corridor between Guatemala & Mexico covering 8.3mil acres; home to thousands of plant species & half the animal species in the country; contains 10,000 Mayan archaeological sites. an active human rights movement in Guatemala seeking to prosecute military officers for genocide and other war crimes. a new wave of violence has hit Guatemala; authorities estimate 4,325 people killed in the first 10 months of 2005 (highest per capita murder rate in Latin America).

{Poverty and Inequality in Guatemala PDF} "Guatemala ranks the worst in the region – and among the worst in the world – for malnutrition. It also performs poorly for indicators of education, health, and basic utility service coverage, though it has made some progress in expanding the coverage of education and utility services ... In 2000, over half of all Guatemalans – 56% or about 6.4 million people – lived in poverty. About 16% lived in extreme poverty ... About two-thirds of all Guatemalan children live in poverty ... Poverty is predominantly rural and extreme poverty is almost exclusively rural. A disproportionate share of the poor and extreme poor live in rural areas in comparison with the share of rural residents in the national population (Table 2.2). Over 81% of the poor and 93% of the extreme poor live in the countryside. Three quarters of all rural residents fall below the full poverty line and one quarter live in extreme poverty."

{USGS Hurricane Mitch Program} "The intense rains of Hurricane Mitch in October 1998 produced landslides in Guatemala that disrupted transportation and destroyed productive agricultural areas and farm-to-market access roads and trails. Small farmer coffee processing infrastructure was also seriously affected. Debris flow landslides added sediment to many stream drainages. However, little is known or documented about the nature and distribution of these landslides, and many areas remain exposed to landslides from future periods of sustained heavy rainfall."

{Population, poverty and vulnerability} "The Central-American region is perennially exposed to natural hazards of a physical, geological or meteorological nature. These hazards are transformed into disasters by the fact that the zone is extremely vulnerable for social reasons (high levels of poverty), economic reasons (failure to consider natural disasters in the location and characteristics of economic activity), and environmental reasons (inadequate land use on steep slopes, deforestation, erosion, inappropriate location of settlements, occupation of watersheds, etc.) ... Given this blending of natural and social conditions in the region, the recurrence of Mitch-type events is to be expected in Central America and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, attention to such threats tends to wane rather quickly, with assistance being focused principally on issues of short-term recuperation, rather than on prevention for the medium and long range. More effective contributions will require a long-range preventive approach directed to structural issues, rather than short-term remedial actions."

{Hurricane Stan hits Chiapas, Guatemala} "A category one hurricane and its aftermath delivered a shuddering blow to southern Mexico and Central America earlier this week. Hurricane Stan’s devastating wake has left millions of people homeless, hundreds of towns and villages cut off from contact and rescue services, and a region bulldozed by torrential landslides."

during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Stan was embedded in a larger non-tropical system of rainstorms dropping over 20 inches of torrential rains in the Central American countries of Guatemala and El Salvador & southern Mexico [1].

{Guatemala} {Maya hieroglyphics} {Maya civilization} {History of Guatemala} {Maya Biosphere Reserve} {United Fruit Company} {Operation PBSUCCESS} {Cocaine's new route} {Guatemala's Narco-military} {Counternarcotics and Law Enforcement Country Program: Guatemala} {Threat Inflation Going after hapless countries} {Guatemala: Between Justice & Terror} {Guatemala Bleeds in Vise of Gangs and Vengeance} {Crisis and Creation in Oaxaca} {Rigoberta Menchu and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans} {The Struggle for Land in Guatemala} {No Justice, But Peace (For Now)} {Population, poverty and vulnerability} {Chapter VI. Poverty} {Poverty and Inequality in Guatemala} {1976 Guatemala Earthquake} {Four Nations Ravaged} {Hurricane Mitch} {Hurricane Fifi} {NHC: Hurricane Mitch (1998)} {NHC: Fifi (1974)} {Mitch: The Deadliest Atlantic Hurricane Since 1780} {2005 Atlantic hurricane season} {Hurricane STAN Advisory Archive} {EO Natural Hazards: Hurricane Stan} {Hurricane Stan} {Chiapas Peace House Project} {2005's Hurricane Season Was "Unprecedented"} {Active Hurricane Era Likely To Continue} {Multi-Decadal Climate Variability}


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