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Guatemala vs. Belize

Introduction

GuatemalaBelize
BackgroundThe Maya 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 internal conflict, which had left more than 200,000 people dead and had created, by some estimates, about 1 million refugees.
Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1862. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Central America.

Geography

GuatemalaBelize
LocationCentral America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize
Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Geographic coordinates15 30 N, 90 15 W
17 15 N, 88 45 W
Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean
Central America and the Caribbean
Areatotal: 108,889 sq km
land: 107,159 sq km
water: 1,730 sq km
total: 22,966 sq km
land: 22,806 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than Pennsylvania
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
Land boundariestotal: 1,667 km
border countries (4): Belize 266 km, El Salvador 199 km, Honduras 244 km, Mexico 958 km
total: 542 km
border countries (2): Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 276 km
Coastline400 km
386 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for negotiating a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands
tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)
Terrainmostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau
flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 759 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m (highest point in Central America)
mean elevation: 173 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Doyle's Delight 1,160 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower
arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 41.2%
arable land 14.2%; permanent crops 8.8%; permanent pasture 18.2%
forest: 33.6%
other: 25.2% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 6.9%
arable land 3.3%; permanent crops 1.4%; permanent pasture 2.2%
forest: 60.6%
other: 32.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land3,375 sq km (2012)
35 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsnumerous 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
frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Environment - current issuesdeforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal
Environment - international agreementsparty 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
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteno natural harbors on west coast
only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
Population distributionthe vast majority of the populace resides in the southern half of the country, particularly in the mountainous regions; more than half of the population lives in rural areas
approximately 25 to 30% of the population lives in the former capital, Belize City; over half of the overall population is rural; population density is slightly higher in the north and east

Demographics

GuatemalaBelize
Population15,189,958 (July 2016 est.)
353,858 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 35.02% (male 2,711,683/female 2,608,295)
15-24 years: 21.8% (male 1,663,484/female 1,647,749)
25-54 years: 33.53% (male 2,425,931/female 2,666,790)
55-64 years: 5.23% (male 377,642/female 416,939)
65 years and over: 4.42% (male 311,165/female 360,280) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 34.41% (male 62,139/female 59,611)
15-24 years: 20.71% (male 37,333/female 35,960)
25-54 years: 36.26% (male 64,968/female 63,346)
55-64 years: 4.84% (male 8,445/female 8,666)
65 years and over: 3.78% (male 6,291/female 7,099) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 21.7 years
male: 21 years
female: 22.4 years (2016 est.)
total: 22.4 years
male: 22.2 years
female: 22.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.79% (2016 est.)
1.84% (2016 est.)
Birth rate24.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
24.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate4.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 22 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 19.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 72.3 years
male: 70.3 years
female: 74.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 68.7 years
male: 67.2 years
female: 70.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.83 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.9 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.57% (2015 est.)
1.52% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Guatemalan(s)
adjective: Guatemalan
noun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groupsMestizo (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)
mestizo 52.9%, Creole 25.9%, Maya 11.3%, Garifuna 6.1%, East Indian 3.9%, Mennonite 3.6%, white 1.2%, Asian 1%, other 1.2%, unknown 0.3%
note: percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were able to identify more than one ethnic origin (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS54,600 (2015 est.)
3,600 (2015 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs
Roman Catholic 40.1%, Protestant 31.5% (includes Pentecostal 8.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 5.4%, Anglican 4.7%, Mennonite 3.7%, Baptist 3.6%, Methodist 2.9%, Nazarene 2.8%), Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, other 10.5% (includes Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Muslim, Rastafarian, Salvation Army), unspecified 0.6%, none 15.5% (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,700 (2015 est.)
100 (2015 est.)
LanguagesSpanish (official) 60%, Amerindian languages 40%
note: there are 23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca
English 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%, Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9%, other 1.8%, unknown 0.3%, none 0.2% (cannot speak)
note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2010 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2013)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2015)
Education expenditures3% of GDP (2015)
6.2% of GDP (2013)
Urbanizationurban population: 51.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 44% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.93% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 98.4% of population
rural: 86.8% of population
total: 92.8% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1.6% of population
rural: 13.2% of population
total: 7.2% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 98.9% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 99.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1.1% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 77.5% of population
rural: 49.3% of population
total: 63.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 22.5% of population
rural: 50.7% of population
total: 36.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 93.5% of population
rural: 88.2% of population
total: 90.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 6.5% of population
rural: 11.8% of population
total: 9.5% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationGUATEMALA CITY (capital) 2.918 million (2015)
BELMOPAN (capital) 17,000 (2014)
Maternal mortality rate88 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
28 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight12.6% (2015)
6.2% (2011)
Health expenditures6.2% of GDP (2014)
5.8% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
0.77 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density0.6 beds/1,000 population (2011)
1.1 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate16.4% (2014)
20.6% (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 929,852
percentage: 21%
note: data represent children ages 5-17 (2006 est.)
total number: 27,751
percentage: 40% (2001 est.)
Demographic profileGuatemala is a predominantly poor country that struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, literacy, and contraceptive awareness and use. The country's large indigenous population is disproportionately affected. Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America and has the highest fertility rate in Latin America. It also has the highest population growth rate in Latin America, which is likely to continue because of its large reproductive-age population and high birth rate. Almost half of Guatemala's population is under age 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America. Guatemala's total fertility rate has slowly declined during the last few decades due in part to limited government-funded health programs. However, the birth rate is still more than three children per woman and is markedly higher among its rural and indigenous populations.
Guatemalans have a history of emigrating legally and illegally to Mexico, the United States, and Canada because of a lack of economic opportunity, political instability, and natural disasters. Emigration, primarily to the United States, escalated during the 1960 to 1996 civil war and accelerated after a peace agreement was signed. Thousands of Guatemalans who fled to Mexico returned after the war, but labor migration to southern Mexico continues.
Migration continues to transform Belize's population. About 16% of Belizeans live abroad, while immigrants constitute approximately 15% of Belize's population. Belizeans seeking job and educational opportunities have preferred to emigrate to the United States rather than former colonizer Great Britain because of the United States' closer proximity and stronger trade ties with Belize. Belizeans also emigrate to Canada, Mexico, and English-speaking Caribbean countries. The emigration of a large share of Creoles (Afro-Belizeans) and the influx of Central American immigrants, mainly Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans, has changed Belize's ethnic composition. Mestizos have become the largest ethnic group, and Belize now has more native Spanish speakers than English or Creole speakers, despite English being the official language. In addition, Central American immigrants are establishing new communities in rural areas, which contrasts with the urbanization trend seen in neighboring countries. Recently, Chinese, European, and North American immigrants have become more frequent.
Immigration accounts for an increasing share of Belize's population growth rate, which is steadily falling due to fertility decline. Belize's declining birth rate and its increased life expectancy are creating an aging population. As the elderly population grows and nuclear families replace extended households, Belize's government will be challenged to balance a rising demand for pensions, social services, and healthcare for its senior citizens with the need to reduce poverty and social inequality and to improve sanitation.
Contraceptive prevalence rate60.6% (2014)
55.2% (2011)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 70.9
youth dependency ratio: 62.6
elderly dependency ratio: 8.3
potential support ratio: 12.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 56.8
youth dependency ratio: 50.9
elderly dependency ratio: 5.9
potential support ratio: 17 (2015 est.)

Government

GuatemalaBelize
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala
conventional short form: Guatemala
local long form: Republica de Guatemala
local short form: Guatemala
etymology: name derives from the Maya word meaning ""Land of Trees""
"
"conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former: British Honduras
etymology: may be named for the Belize River, whose name possibly derives from the Maya word ""belix,"" meaning ""muddy-watered""
"
Government typepresidential republic
parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Capitalname: Guatemala City
geographic coordinates: 14 37 N, 90 31 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Belmopan
geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions22 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
6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Independence15 September 1821 (from Spain)
21 September 1981 (from the UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 15 September (1821)
Battle of St. George's Caye Day (National Day), 10 September (1798); Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Constitutionseveral previous; latest adopted 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended, reinstated, and amended in 1994 (2016)
previous 1954, 1963 (preindependence); latest signed and entered into force 21 September 1981; amended several times, last in 2012 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
English common law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal; note - active duty members of the armed forces and police by law cannot vote and are restricted to their barracks on election day
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera (since 14 January 2016); Vice President Jafeth CABRERA Franco (since 14 January 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera (since 14 January 2016); Vice President Jafeth CABRERA Franco (since 14 January 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (not eligible for consecutive terms); election last held in 2 rounds on 6 September and 25 October 2015 (next to be held in September 2019)
election results: Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera (FNC) elected president; percent of vote in first round - Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera (FNC) 23.8%, Sandra TORRES (UNE) 19.8%, Manuel BALDIZON (LIDER) 19.6%; percent of vote in second round - Jimmy Ernesto MORALES Cabrera (FNC) 67.4%, Sandra TORRES (UNE) 32.6%
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Dean Oliver BARROW (since 8 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Patrick FABER (since 7 June 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among members of the National Assembly
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (158 seats; 127 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies within each of the country's 22 departments by simple majority vote and 31 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 6 September 2015 (next to be held in September 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - LIDER 19.10%, UNE 14.83%, TODOS 9.74%, PP 9.43%, FCN 8.75%, EG 6.24%, PU 5.69%, UCN 5.43%, Winaq-URNG-MAIZ 4.32%, Convergence 3.84%, VIVA 3.66%, PAN 3.42%, FUERZA 2.07%, other 3.48%; seats by party - LIDER 44, UNE 36, TODOS 18, PP 17, FCN 11, EG 7, UCN 6, PU 5, Winaq-URNG-MAIZ 3, Convergence 3, VIVA 3, PAN 3, FUERZA 2; note - as of 6 January 2016, seats by party are as follows: FCN 37, UNE 32, MR 20, TODOS 17, AC 12, EG 7, UCN 6, CREO 5, LIDER 5, VIVA 4, Convergence 3, PAN 3, PP 2, FUERZA 1, PU 1, URNG 1, Winaq 1, independent 1
description: bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee; members serve 5-year terms) and the House of Representatives (31 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 4 November 2015 (next to be held in or before 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - UDP 50%, PUP 47.28%, other 2.72%; seats by party - UDP 19, PUP 12
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 13 magistrates including the court president and organized into 3 chambers); note - the court president also supervises trial judges countrywide; Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitucionalidad (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates elected by the Congress of the Republic from candidates proposed by the Postulation Committee, an independent body of deans of the country's university law schools, representatives of the country's law associations, and representatives of the Courts of Appeal; magistrates elected for concurrent, renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court judges - 1 elected by the Congress of the Republic, 1 by the Supreme Court, 1 by the president of the republic, 1 by the (public) University of San Carlos, and 1 by the lawyers bar association; judges elected for concurrent, renewable 5-year terms; the presidency of the court rotates among the magistrates for a single 1-year term
subordinate courts: numerous first instance and appellate courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with the court president and 3 justices, and the Supreme Court with the chief justice and 2 judges); note - in 2010, Belize ceased final appeals in civil and criminal cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) and accceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and justices appointed by the governor general upon advice of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; justices' tenures vary by terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the prime minister and the National Assembly opposition leader; other judges appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Section of the Public Services Commission and with the concurrence of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; judges can be appointed beyond age 65 but must retire by age 75; in 2013, the Supreme Court chief justice overturned a constitutional amendment that had restricted Court of Appeal judge appointments to as short as 1 year
subordinate courts: Magistrate Courts; Family Court
Political parties and leadersCitizen Alliance or AC
Commitment, Renewal, and Order or CREO [Richard LEE Abularach]
Convergence [Pablo MONSANTO]
Encounter for Guatemala or EG [Nineth MONTENEGRO Cottom]
Everyone Together for Guatemala or TODOS [Felipe ALEJOS]
FUERZA [Maurico REDFORD]
Grand National Alliance or GANA [Carlos Alberto MARTINEZ Castellanos]
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity or Winaq-URNG [Angel SANCHEZ Viesca]
Heart New Nation or CNN [Mario Roberto CHU Catalan]
My Country or Mi Pais [Alfredo RABBE]
National Advancement Party or PAN [Juan GUTIERREZ Strauss]
National Unity for Hope or UNE [Sandra TORRES]
National Convergence Front or FCN [Edgar Justino OVALLE Maldonado]
National Welfare or BIEN [Fidel REYES Lee]
Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Mario ESTRADA]
Patriot Party or PP [Ingrid Roxana BALDETTI Elias]
Political Movement Winaq or WINAQ [Amilcar de Jesus POP Ac]
Productivity and Labor Party or PPT [Edgar Alfredo RODRIGUEZ]
Progressive Liberating Party or PLP [Ana BERNAT]
Reform Movement or MR [Jose Raul VIGIL Arias]
Renewed Democratic Liberty or LIDER [Manuel BALDIZON]
Unionista Party or PU [Alvaro ARZU Escobar]
UNITED [Mario Rolando TORRES Marroquin]
Victoria (Victory) [Manuel de Jesus RIVERA]
Vision with Values or VIVA [Cromwell CUESTAS Paz]
Belize Progressive Party or BPP [Patrick ROGERS] (formed in 2015 from a merger of the People's National Party, elements of the VIP, and other smaller political groups)
People's United Party or PUP [Johnny BRICENO]
United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean Oliver BARROW]
Political pressure groups and leadersAlliance Against Impunity or AI (includes among others Center for Legal Action on Human Rights (CALDH), Family and Friends of the Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA))
Civic and Political Convergence of Women
Committee for Campesino Unity or CUC
Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations or CACIF
Foundation for the Development of Guatemala or FUNDESA
Guatemala Visible
Mutual Support Group or GAM
Movimiento PRO-Justicia
National Union of Agriculture Workers or UNAGRO
National Trade Union Congress of Belize or NTUC/B [vacant]
International organization participationBCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Gladys Marithza RUIZ SANCHEZ de Vielman (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-4952
FAX: [1] (202) 745-1908
consulate(s): Del Rio (TX), San Bernadino (CA), Silver Spring (MD), Tucson (AZ)
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Lake Worth (FL), Los Angeles, McAllen (TX), Miami, New York, Phoenix, Providence (RI), San Francisco, Silver Spring (MD), Tucson (AZ)
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ardelle SABIDO
chancery: 2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
FAX: [1] (202) 332-6888
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Todd D. ROBINSON (since 10 October 2014)
embassy: 7-01 Avenida Reforma, Zone 10, Guatemala City
mailing address: DPO AA 34024
telephone: [502] 2326-4000
FAX: [502] 2326-4654
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Adrienne GALANEK
embassy: Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo District
mailing address: P.O. Box 497, Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize
telephone: [011] (501) 822-4011
FAX: [011] (501) 822-4012
Flag descriptionthree 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 represent the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea; the white band denotes peace and purity
note: one of only two national flags featuring a firearm, the other is Mozambique
royal blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland of 50 mahogany leaves; the colors are those of the two main political parties: blue for the PUP and red for the UDP; various elements of the coat of arms - the figures, the tools, the mahogany tree, and the garland of leaves - recall the logging industry that led to British settlement of Belize
note: Belize's flag is the only national flag that depicts human beings; two British overseas territories, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, also depict humans
National anthem"name: ""Himno Nacional de Guatemala"" (National Anthem of Guatemala)
lyrics/music: Jose Joaquin PALMA/Rafael Alvarez OVALLE
note: 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
"
"name: ""Land of the Free""
lyrics/music: Samuel Alfred HAYNES/Selwyn Walford YOUNG
note: adopted 1981; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, ""God Save the Queen"" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)quetzal (bird); national colors: blue, white
Baird's tapir (a large, browsing, forest-dwelling mammal), keel-billed toucan, Black Orchid; national colors: red, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years with no absences of six consecutive months or longer or absences totaling more than a year
citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

GuatemalaBelize
Economy - overviewGuatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly half the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13.5% of GDP and 31% of the labor force; key agricultural exports include sugar, coffee, bananas, and vegetables. Guatemala is the top remittance recipient in Central America as a result of Guatemala's large expatriate community in the US. These inflows are a primary source of foreign income, equivalent to over one-half of the country's exports and one-tenth of its GDP.

The 1996 peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, and since then Guatemala has pursued important reforms and macroeconomic stabilization. The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) entered into force in July 2006, spurring increased investment and diversification of exports, with the largest increases in ethanol and non-traditional agricultural exports. While CAFTA-DR has helped improve the investment climate, concerns over security, the lack of skilled workers, and poor infrastructure continue to hamper foreign direct investment.

The distribution of income remains highly unequal with the richest 20% of the population accounting for more than 51% of Guatemala's overall consumption. More than half of the population is below the national poverty line, and 23% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 79%, with 40% of the indigenous population living in extreme poverty. Nearly one-half of Guatemala's children under age five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.

Guatemala is facing growing fiscal pressures, exacerbated by multiple corruption scandals that led to the resignation of the president, vice president, and numerous high-level economic officials in 2015.
Tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner in this small economy, followed by exports of sugar, bananas, citrus, marine products, and crude oil.

The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth averaging nearly 4% in 1999-2007, however GDP growth slowed to 1% in 2015, and 0% in 2016. Oil discoveries in 2006 bolstered this growth and oil exploration continues, but production has fallen in recent years and future oil revenues remain uncertain, and are offset by Belize’s growing imports of refined oil.

Although Belize has the third highest per capita income in Central America, the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor, and a key government objective remains reducing poverty and inequality with the help of international donors. High unemployment, a growing trade deficit and heavy foreign debt burden continue to be major concerns. Belize faces continued pressure from rising sovereign debt, and a growing trade imbalance.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$131.8 billion (2016 est.)
$127.9 billion (2015 est.)
$122.8 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$3.088 billion (2016 est.)
$3.088 billion (2015 est.)
$3.056 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate3.1% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
4.2% (2014 est.)
0% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
4.1% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$7,900 (2016 est.)
$7,900 (2015 est.)
$7,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$8,200 (2016 est.)
$8,400 (2015 est.)
$8,600 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 13.2%
industry: 23.5%
services: 63.3% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 11.7%
industry: 14.5%
services: 59.9% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line59.3% (2014 est.)
41% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 38.4% (2014)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.2% (2016 est.)
3.1% (2015 est.)
0.9% (2016 est.)
-0.9% (2015 est.)
Labor force4.623 million (2016 est.)
120,500
note: shortage of skilled labor and all types of technical personnel (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 30.5%
industry: 13.7%
services: 55.8% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 10.2%
industry: 18.1%
services: 71.7% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate2.4% (2016 est.)
2.7% (2015 est.)
12.9% (2014 est.)
14.1% (2013 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $7.39 billion
expenditures: $8.186 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $500 million
expenditures: $650 million (2016 est.)
Industriessugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism
garment production, food processing, tourism, construction, oil
Industrial production growth rate3.2% (2016 est.)
-1% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productssugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens
bananas, cacao, citrus, sugar; fish, cultured shrimp; lumber
Exports$11.43 billion (2016 est.)
$10.83 billion (2015 est.)
$519.5 million (2016 est.)
$537.9 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiessugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, manufacturing products, precious stones and metals, electricity
sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil
Exports - partnersUS 36.4%, El Salvador 12.1%, Honduras 8.8%, Nicaragua 5.4%, Mexico 4.2% (2015)
UK 31.1%, US 18.9%, Nigeria 6.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.8%, Ireland 4.3%, Jamaica 4.2% (2015)
Imports$16.76 billion (2016 est.)
$17.64 billion (2015 est.)
$895.5 million (2016 est.)
$961.3 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity, mineral products, chemical products, plastic materials and products
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco
Imports - partnersUS 38.4%, Mexico 12%, China 11%, El Salvador 5.3% (2015)
US 26.9%, Mexico 11.9%, Cuba 10.3%, Guatemala 8.1%, China 7.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 5.7% (2015)
Debt - external$19.09 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.327 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.309 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesquetzales (GTQ) per US dollar -
7.648 (2016 est.)
7.6548 (2015 est.)
7.6548 (2014 est.)
7.7322 (2013 est.)
7.83 (2012 est.)
Belizean dollars (BZD) per US dollar -
2 (2016 est.)
2 (2015 est.)
2 (2014 est.)
2 (2013 est.)
2 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
1 April - 31 March
Public debt27.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
86.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
82.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$8.803 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.746 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$409.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$437.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$571 million (2016 est.)
-$202 million (2015 est.)
-$192 million (2016 est.)
-$172 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$68.39 billion (2016 est.)
$1.77 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
$NA
Central bank discount rate7.53% (31 December 2015 est.)
6.5% (31 December 2010)
9.86% (1 September 2016)
10.01% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate13.2% (31 December 2016 est.)
13.23% (31 December 2015 est.)
10.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
10.32% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$32.41 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.174 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$10.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.05 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$765.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$764.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$25.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$23.25 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.785 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.437 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues10.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
-8.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 6.3%
male: 6.5%
female: 5.8% (2013 est.)
total: 25%
male: 18%
female: 35.6% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 84.4%
government consumption: 10.4%
investment in fixed capital: 13.3%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 21.4%
imports of goods and services: -30% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 72.1%
government consumption: 17.2%
investment in fixed capital: 20.3%
investment in inventories: 0.8%
exports of goods and services: 52.6%
imports of goods and services: -63% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving12.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
13.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
11.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
7.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
13.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
11.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

GuatemalaBelize
Electricity - production10.88 billion kWh (2016 est.)
300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption9.833 billion kWh (2016 est.)
400 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports1.335 billion kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports746.9 million kWh (2016 est.)
200 million kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production8,976 bbl/day (2016 est.)
2,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports7,407 bbl/day (2016 est.)
3,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves83.07 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
6.7 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves2.96 billion cu m (1 January 2006 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity4.139 million kW (2016 est.)
200,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels61% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
46.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants33.6% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
27.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources5.3% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
25.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1,069 bbl/day (2016 est.)
33 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption91,900 bbl/day (2016 est.)
3,700 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports11,780 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports104,200 bbl/day (2016 est.)
3,638 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy13.6 million Mt (2013 est.)
700,000 Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 1,600,000
electrification - total population: 78%
electrification - urban areas: 85%
electrification - rural areas: 72% (2013)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

GuatemalaBelize
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 1,718,851
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 21,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 18.121 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 121 (July 2015 est.)
total: 170,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 49 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: fairly modern network centered in the city of Guatemala
domestic: state-owned telecommunications company privatized in the late 1990s opened the way for competition; fixed-line teledensity roughly 15 per 100 persons; fixed-line investments are being concentrated on improving rural connectivity; mobile-cellular teledensity about 115 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) (2017)
general assessment: above-average system; trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay
domestic: fixed-line teledensity of only about 6 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 50 per 100 persons
international: country code - 501; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) fiber-optic telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to South and Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth station - 8 (Intelsat - 2, unknown - 6) (2015)
Internet country code.gt
.bz
Internet userstotal: 4.043 million
percent of population: 27.1% (July 2015 est.)
total: 144,000
percent of population: 41.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast media4 privately owned national terrestrial TV channels dominate TV broadcasting; multi-channel satellite and cable services are available; 1 government-owned radio station and hundreds of privately owned radio stations (2007)
8 privately owned TV stations; multi-channel cable TV provides access to foreign stations; about 25 radio stations broadcasting on roughly 50 different frequencies; state-run radio was privatized in 1998 (2009)

Transportation

GuatemalaBelize
Roadwaystotal: 17,621 km
paved: 7,489 km
unpaved: 10,132 km (includes 4,960 km of rural roads) (2016)
total: 2,870 km
paved: 488 km
unpaved: 2,382 km (2011)
Waterways990 km (260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season) (2012)
825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2011)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Puerto Quetzal, Santo Tomas de Castilla
major seaport(s): Belize City, Big Creek
Airports291 (2013)
47 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 16
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 275
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 77
under 914 m: 195 (2013)
total: 41
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 29 (2013)

Military

GuatemalaBelize
Military branchesNational Army of Guatemala (Ejercito Nacional de Guatemala, ENG, includes Guatemalan Navy (Fuerza de Mar, including Marines) and Guatemalan Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca, FAG)) (2013)
Belize Defense Force (BDF): Army, BDF Air Wing; Belize Coast Guard; Belize Police Department (2017)
Military service age and obligationall male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are eligible for military service; in practice, most of the force is volunteer, however, a selective draft system is employed, resulting in a small portion of 17-21 year-olds conscripted; conscript service obligation varies from 1 to 2 years; women can serve as officers (2013)
18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1; initial service obligation 12 years (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP0.42% of GDP (2016)
0.39% of GDP (2015)
0.42% of GDP (2014)
0.46% of GDP (2013)
0.45% of GDP (2012)
1.12% of GDP (2015)
1.03% of GDP (2014)
1.09% of GDP (2013)
0.97% of GDP (2012)
1.04% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

GuatemalaBelize
Disputes - internationalannual ministerial meetings under the Organization of American States-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; Guatemala persists in its territorial claim to half of Belize, but agrees to Line of Adjacency to keep Guatemalan squatters out of Belize's forested interior; both countries agreed in April 2012 to hold simultaneous referenda, scheduled for 6 October 2013, to decide whether to refer the dispute to the ICJ for binding resolution, but this vote was suspended indefinitely; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the US
Guatemala persists in its territorial claim to approximately half of Belize, but agrees to the Line of Adjacency to keep Guatemalan squatters out of Belize's forested interior; both countries agreed in April 2012 to hold simultaneous referenda, scheduled for 6 October 2013, to decide whether to refer the dispute to the ICJ for binding resolution, but this vote was suspended indefinitely; Belize and Mexico are working to solve minor border demarcation discrepancies arising from inaccuracies in the 1898 border treaty
Illicit drugsmajor 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
transshipment point for cocaine; small-scale illicit producer of cannabis, primarily for local consumption; offshore sector money-laundering activity related to narcotics trafficking and other crimes (2008)

Source: CIA Factbook