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page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Guatemala
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Guatemala
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Map of Guatemala
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Introduction ::Guatemala
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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 100,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, some 1 million refugees.
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Geography ::Guatemala
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Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize
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15 30 N, 90 15 W
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total: 108,889 sq km
country comparison to the world: 106
land: 107,159 sq km
water: 1,730 sq km
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slightly smaller than Tennessee
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total: 1,687 km
border countries: Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km, Mexico 962 km
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400 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
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tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
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mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m
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petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower
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arable land: 13.22%
permanent crops: 5.6%
other: 81.18% (2005)
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1,300 sq km (2003)
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111.3 cu km (2000)
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total: 2.01 cu km/yr (6%/13%/80%)
per capita: 160 cu m/yr (2000)
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numerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms
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deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
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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
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no natural harbors on west coast
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People ::Guatemala
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13,276,517 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
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0-14 years: 39.4% (male 2,664,058/female 2,573,006)
15-64 years: 56.8% (male 3,655,184/female 3,884,331)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 231,652/female 268,286) (2009 est.)
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total: 19.4 years
male: 18.9 years
female: 20 years (2009 est.)
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2.066% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
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27.98 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
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5.11 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
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-2.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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urban population: 49% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 27.84 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 79
male: 30.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 70.29 years
country comparison to the world: 142
male: 68.49 years
female: 72.19 years (2009 est.)
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3.47 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
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0.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
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59,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
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3,900 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
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noun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan
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Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 59.4%, K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1% (2001 census)
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Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs
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Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 69.1%
male: 75.4%
female: 63.3% (2002 census)
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total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2006)
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2.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 154
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Government ::Guatemala
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conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala
conventional short form: Guatemala
local long form: Republica de Guatemala
local short form: Guatemala
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constitutional democratic republic
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name: Guatemala City
geographic coordinates: 14 37 N, 90 31 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in April; ends last Friday in September; note - there is no DST planned for 2007-2009
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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
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15 September 1821 (from Spain)
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Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
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31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended 25 May 1993; reinstated 5 June 1993; amended November 1993
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civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal; note - active duty members of the armed forces may not vote and are restricted to their barracks on election day
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chief of state: President Alvaro COLOM Caballeros (since 14 January 2008); Vice President Jose Rafael ESPADA (since 14 January 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Alvaro COLOM Caballeros (since 14 January 2008); Vice President Jose Rafael ESPADA (since 14 January 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 9 September 2007; runoff held 4 November 2007 (next to be held September 2011)
election results: Alvaro COLOM Caballeros elected president; percent of vote - Alvaro COLOM Caballeros 52.8%, Otto PEREZ Molina 47.2%
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unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (158 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 9 September 2007 (next to be held in September 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - UNE 30.4%, GANA 23.4%, PP 18.9%, FRG 9.5%, PU 5.1%, other 12.7%; seats by party - UNE 48, GANA 37, PP 30, FRG 15, PU 8, CASA 5, EG 4, PAN 4, UCN 4, URNG 2, UD 1
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Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitucionalidad is Guatemala's highest court (five judges are elected for concurrent five-year terms); Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (13 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)
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Center of Social Action or CASA [Eduardo SUGER]; Democracy Front or FRENTE [Alfonso CABRERA]; Democratic Union or UD [Manuel CONDE Orellana]; Encounter for Guatemala or EG [Nineth MONTENGRO]; Grand National Alliance or GANA [Alfredo VILLA]; Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity or URNG [Hector NUILA]; Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG [Efrain RIOS Montt]; National Advancement Party or PAN [Juan Guillermo GUTIERREZ]; National Unity for Hope or UNE [Juan Jose ALFARO Lemus]; Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Mario ESTRADA]; Patriot Party or PP [Ret. Gen. Otto PEREZ Molina]; Unionista Party or PU [Fritz GARCIA-GALLONT]
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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
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BCIE, CACM, 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, MONUC, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco VILLAGRAN de Leon
chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-4952
FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Providence, San Francisco
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chief of mission: Ambassador Stephen G. MCFARLAND
embassy: 7-01 Avenida Reforma, Zone 10, Guatemala City
mailing address: APO AA 34024
telephone: [502] 2326-4000
FAX: [502] 2326-4654
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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) 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 and a pair of crossed swords and framed by a wreath
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Economy ::Guatemala
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Guatemala is the most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-tenth of GDP, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products, with sugar exports benefiting from increased global demand for ethanol. The 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and Guatemala since then has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) entered into force in July 2006 and has since spurred increased investment in the export sector, but concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers and poor infrastructure continued to hamper foreign participation. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with more than half of the population below the national poverty line. Other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, curtailing drug trafficking and rampant crime, and narrowing the trade deficit. Given Guatemala's large expatriate community in the United States, it is the top remittance recipient in Central America, with inflows serving as a primary source of foreign income equivalent to nearly two-thirds of exports. Economic growth will slow in 2009 as export demand from US and other Central American markets drop and foreign investment slows amid the global slowdown.
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$68.58 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$65.95 billion (2007 est.)
$62.04 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$38.96 billion (2008 est.)
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4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
6.3% (2007 est.)
5.4% (2006 est.)
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$5,300 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$5,200 (2007 est.)
$5,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 13.1%
industry: 25%
services: 61.9% (2008 est.)
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4.056 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
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agriculture: 50%
industry: 15%
services: 35% (1999 est.)
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3.2% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
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56.2% (2004 est.)
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lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 42.4% (2006)
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55.1 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 13
55.8 (1998)
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18.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
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revenues: $4.693 billion
expenditures: $5.338 billion (2008 est.)
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23.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
32% of GDP (2004 est.)
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11.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
6.8% (2007 est.)
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NA%
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 63
12.84% (31 December 2007)
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$6.106 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 63
$6.227 billion (31 December 2007)
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$9.7 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 63
$8.928 billion (31 December 2007)
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$14.82 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 78
$13.96 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens
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sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism
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1.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
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8.425 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
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7.115 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
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131.9 million kWh (2007 est.)
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8.11 million kWh (2007 est.)
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15,550 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
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76,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
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21,850 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
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72,440 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
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83.07 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 72
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
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2.96 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
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$-2.119 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
$-1.754 billion (2007 est.)
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$7.862 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
$7.012 billion (2007 est.)
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coffee, sugar, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom
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US 41.7%, El Salvador 9.5%, Honduras 8.5%, Mexico 6.4%, Costa Rica 4.4% (2008)
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$13.38 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
$12.48 billion (2007 est.)
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fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity
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US 35.7%, Mexico 10%, China 7.3%, El Salvador 4.7%, Costa Rica 4.1% (2008)
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$4.471 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
$4.139 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$6.498 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
$5.908 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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quetzales (GTQ) per US dollar - 7.5895 (2008 est.), 7.6833 (2007), 7.6026 (2006), 7.6339 (2005), 7.9465 (2004)
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Communications ::Guatemala
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1.449 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 65
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14.949 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 42
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general assessment: fairly modern network centered in the city of Guatemala
domestic: state-owned telecommunications company privatized in the late 1990s opening the way for competition; fixed-line teledensity 11 per 100 persons; fixed-line investments are being concentrated on improving rural connectivity; mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 per 100 persons
international: country code - 502; landing point for both the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the SAM-1 fiber optic submarine cable system that together provide connectivity to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; connected to Central American Microwave System; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
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AM 130, FM 487, shortwave 15 (2000)
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26 (plus 27 repeaters) (1997)
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.gt
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132,049 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 69
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1.96 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 70
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Transportation ::Guatemala
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371 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 21
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total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2009)
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total: 358
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 84
under 914 m: 270 (2009)
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oil 480 km (2008)
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total: 332 km
country comparison to the world: 120
narrow gauge: 332 km 0.914-m gauge (2008)
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total: 14,095 km
country comparison to the world: 124
paved: 4,863 km (includes 75 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,232 km (2000)
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990 km
country comparison to the world: 66
note: 260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season (2007)
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Puerto Quetzal, Santo Tomas de Castilla
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Military ::Guatemala
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Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force
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all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are liable for military service; conscript service obligation varies from 12 to 24 months; women can serve as officers (2008)
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males age 16-49: 2,861,696
females age 16-49: 3,062,967 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 2,401,297
females age 16-49: 2,725,572 (2009 est.)
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male: 165,910
female: 163,760 (2009 est.)
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0.4% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 165
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Transnational Issues ::Guatemala
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annual ministerial meetings under the OAS-initiated Agreement on the Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures continue to address Guatemalan land and maritime claims in Belize and the Caribbean Sea; the Line of Adjacency created under the 2002 Differendum serves in lieu of the contiguous international boundary to control squatting in the sparsely inhabited rain forests of Belize's border region; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the United States
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IDPs: undetermined (the UN does not estimate there are any IDPs, although some NGOs estimate over 200,000 IDPs as a result of over three decades of internal conflict that ended in 1996) (2007)
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current situation: Guatemala is a source, transit, and destination country for Guatemalans and Central Americans trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; human trafficking is a significant and growing problem in the country; Guatemalan women and children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, primarily to Mexico and the United States; Guatemalan men, women, and children are also trafficked within the country, and to Mexico and the United States, for forced labor
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, Guatemala is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons, particularly with respect to ensuring that trafficking offenders are appropriately prosecuted for their crimes; while prosecutors initiated trafficking prosecutions, they continued to face problems in court with application of Guatemala's comprehensive anti-trafficking law; the government made modest improvements to its protection efforts, but assistance remained inadequate overall in 2007 (2008)
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major transit country for cocaine and heroin; in 2005, cultivated 100 hectares of opium poppy after reemerging as a potential source of opium in 2004; potential production of less than 1 metric ton of pure heroin; marijuana cultivation for mostly domestic consumption; proximity to Mexico makes Guatemala a major staging area for drugs (particularly for cocaine); money laundering is a serious problem; corruption is a major problem
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The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
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