Guatemala facts on every entity in the world

The 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.



Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize

Geographic coordinates

15.30° N, 90.15° W

Area 107/257

total: 108,889 sq km

land: 107,159 sq km

water: 1,730 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries

total: 1,667 km

border countries (4): Belize 266 km, El Salvador 199 km, Honduras 244 km, Mexico 958 km


400 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands


mostly mountains with narrow coastal plains and rolling limestone plateau


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Volcan Tajumulco 4,211 m

note: highest point in Central America

Natural resources

petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 41.2%

arable land 14.2%; permanent crops 8.8%; permanent pasture 18.2%

forest: 33.6%

other: 25.2% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

3,375 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

111.3 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 3.46 cu km/yr (15%/31%/54%)

per capita: 259.1 cu m/yr (2006)

Natural hazards

numerous 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

Environment - current issues

deforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution

Environment - international agreements

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

Geography - note

no natural harbors on west coast

People and Society


noun: Guatemalan(s)

adjective: Guatemalan

Ethnic groups

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)


Spanish (official) 60%, Amerindian languages 40%

note: there are 23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca


Roman Catholic, Protestant, indigenous Mayan beliefs

Population 71/238

14,918,999 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.57% (male 2,704,784/female 2,602,397)

15-24 years: 21.99% (male 1,646,350/female 1,633,666)

25-54 years: 32.93% (male 2,337,192/female 2,575,674)

55-64 years: 5.2% (male 370,456/female 405,496)

65 years and over: 4.31% (male 298,319/female 344,665) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 70.9%

youth dependency ratio: 62.6%

elderly dependency ratio: 8.3%

potential support ratio: 12.1% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 21.4 years

male: 20.7 years

female: 22 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 63/233

1.82% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 53/224

24.89 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 196/225

4.77 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 165/222

-1.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 51.6% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

GUATEMALA CITY (capital) 2.918 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at 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 (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008/09 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 64/184

88 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 77/224

total: 22.73 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 24.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 20.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 145/224

total population: 72.02 years

male: 70.07 years

female: 74.06 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 57/224

2.9 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 88/191

6.5% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.93 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density

0.6 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source


urban: 98.4% of population

rural: 86.8% of population

total: 92.8% of population


urban: 1.6% of population

rural: 13.2% of population

total: 7.2% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 77.5% of population

rural: 49.3% of population

total: 63.9% of population


urban: 22.5% of population

rural: 50.7% of population

total: 36.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.54% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

49,100 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,700 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 100/191

16.4% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 57/138

13% (2009)

Education expenditures 139/173

2.8% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2007)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 117/134

total: 6.3%

male: 6.5%

female: 5.8% (2013 est.)


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 Mayan word meaning "land of trees"

Government type

constitutional democratic republic


name: Guatemala City

geographic coordinates: 14.37° N, 90.31° W

time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

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


15 September 1821 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 15 September (1821)


several previous; latest adopted 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended, reinstated, and amended in 1994 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship 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


18 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

Executive branch

chief of state: President Alejandro Maldonado AGUIRRE (since 3 September 2015); Vice President Juan Alfonso FUENTES Soria (since 16 September 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; President Otto Fernando PEREZ MOLINA resigned 2 September 2015

head of government: President Alejandro Maldonado AGUIRRE (since 3 September 2015); Vice President Juan Alfonso FUENTES Soria (since 16 September 2015); President Otto Fernando PEREZ MOLINA resigned 2 September 2015

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%

Legislative branch

description: 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

Judicial branch

highest 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

Political parties and leaders

Commitment, Renewal, and Order or CREO [Roberto GONZALEZ Diaz-Duran]


Democratic Union or UD [Edwin Armando MARTINEZ Herrera]

Encounter for Guatemala or EG [Nineth MONTENEGRO Cottom]

Everyone Together for Guatemala or TODOS [Felipe ALEJOS]


Grand National Alliance or GANA [Jaime Antonio MARTINEZ Lohayza]

Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity or Winaq-URNG [Angel SANCHEZ Viesca]

Institutional Republican Party (formerly the Guatemalan Republican Front) or PRI [Luis Fernando PEREZ]

National Advancement Party or PAN [Juan GUTIERREZ Strauss]

National Unity for Hope or UNE [Sandra TORRES]

Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Mario ESTRADA]

National Convergence Front or FCN [Edgar Justino OVALLE Maldonado]

New National Alternative or ANN [Pablo MONSANTO]

Patriot Party or PP [Ingrid Roxana BALDETTI Elias]

Renewed Democratic Liberty or LIDER [Manuel BALDIZON]

Unionista Party or PU [Alvaro ARZU Irigoyen]

Victoria (Victory) [Amilcar RIVERA]

Vision with Values or VIVA [Harold CABALLEROS] (part of a coalition with EG during the last legislative election)

Political pressure groups and leaders

Alliance 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

International organization participation

BCIE, 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

Flag description

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) 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

National symbol(s)

quetzal (bird); national colors: blue, white

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


Economy - overview

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. The agricultural sector accounts for 13.7% of GDP and 32% 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 United States. These inflows are a primary source of foreign income, equivalent to one-half of the country's exports or 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 13% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 73%, with 22% 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 in 2015 that led to the resignation of the President, Vice President, and numerous high-level economic officials.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 80/230

$125.6 billion (2015 est.)

$121 billion (2014 est.)

$116.1 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$63.22 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 68/225

3.8% (2015 est.)

4.2% (2014 est.)

3.7% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 149/230

$7,900 (2015 est.)

$7,600 (2014 est.)

$7,300 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 144/179

11% of GDP (2015 est.)

11.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

11.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 85.9%

government consumption: 10.7%

investment in fixed capital: 13.9%

investment in inventories: 0.6%

exports of goods and services: 22.8%

imports of goods and services: -33.9%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.4%

industry: 23.8%

services: 62.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

sugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens


sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism

Industrial production growth rate 55/202

4% (2015 est.)

Labor force 88/233

4.7 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 38%

industry: 14%

services: 48% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate 37/207

4.1% (2011 est.)

3.5% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line

54% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.3%

highest 10%: 42.4% (2006)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 11/144

55.1 (2007)

55.8 (1998)


revenues: $7.243 billion

expenditures: $8.724 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 208/219

11.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 83/220

-2.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 141/176

30.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

30% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 118/226

2.2% (2015 est.)

3.4% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 55/156

6.5% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 53/184

13.2% (31 December 2015 est.)

13.77% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 75/192

$10.24 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$9.19 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 85/193

$23.19 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$21.17 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 76/191

$28.06 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$26.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 122/197

-$1.093 billion (2015 est.)

-$1.387 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 88/224

$10.15 billion (2015 est.)

$10.99 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

sugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, manufacturing products, precious stones and metals, electricity

Exports - partners

US 36.1%, El Salvador 11.8%, Honduras 8.3%, Nicaragua 4.8%, Mexico 4.1% (2014)

Imports 78/223

$16.56 billion (2015 est.)

$17.05 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity, mineral products, chemical products, plastic materials and products

Imports - partners

US 40.3%, Mexico 10.7%, China 9.8%, El Salvador 4.6% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 83/170

$7.473 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$7.329 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 89/206

$18.33 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$16.82 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

quetzales (GTQ) per US dollar -

7.67 (2015 est.)

7.73 (2014 est.)

7.73 (2013 est.)

7.83 (2012 est.)

7.79 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 99/220

9.18 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 98/219

8.172 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 73/218

346 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 82/219

372 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 92/214

3.113 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 141/214

57% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 104/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 72/214

31.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 31/212

11.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 80/214

10,050 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 67/214

9,640 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 200/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 75/215

83.07 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 109/214

1,354 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 89/212

69,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 99/214

3,532 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 63/213

72,190 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 197/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 151/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 111/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 205/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 96/212

2.96 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 94/212

13.07 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 65/219

total subscriptions: 1.72 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 63/217

total: 16.9 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 115 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

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 roughly 10 per 100 persons; fixed-line investments are being concentrated on improving rural connectivity; mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 140 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) (2013)

Broadcast media

4 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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 130, FM 487, shortwave 15 (2000)

Television broadcast stations

26 (plus 27 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 60/232

357,552 (2012)

Internet users 90/217

total: 2.5 million

percent of population: 17.1% (2014 est.)


Airports 23/236

291 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 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)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 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)


1 (2013)


oil 480 km (2013)

Railways 119/136

total: 800 km

narrow gauge: 800 km 0.914-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 130/223

total: 11,501 km

paved: 6,797 km (includes 127 km of expressways)

unpaved: 4,704 km (2010)

Waterways 65/107

990 km (260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season) (2012)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Puerto Quetzal, Santo Tomas de Castilla

Military and Security

Military branches

National 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)

Military service age and obligation

all 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)

Military expenditures 129/132

0.42% of GDP (2012)

0.41% of GDP (2011)

0.42% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

annual 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 United States

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: at least 248,500 (more than three decades of internal conflict that ended in 1996 displaced mainly the indigenous Maya population and rural peasants; ongoing drug cartel and gang violence) (2014) (2011)

Illicit drugs

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