POPULATION:
13,7620,200 Million

LITERACY RATE:
70%
SELF DEFENSE FORCES:
Guatemalan National Guard
LANGUAGES:
Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
ETHNIC GROUPS:
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 62.4%, K'iche 8.1%, Kaqchikel 7.4%, Mam 6.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1% (2001 census)
BORDERING COUNTRIES:
El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Mexico,
GUATEMALA - Guatemala has been through nearly 40 years of civil war, much of it perpetuated by American forces and intelligence services, all started with the beginning of army massacres in 1980 and the taking of the Spanish embassy by Quiché Indian protestors. It was thought that the breaking of relations with Spain caused after the ambassador was nearly killed as the army burnt down the embassy, is what kept European influence out of the country. Where Euro-influence was a helping hand with many other Central and South American governments fighting off U.S. invasion and action during the first and second wars of the region, it would not save Guatemala in its time of need. Scorched earth tactics used by the military at the time reduced much of the country to rubble in an effort to drive out rebel fighters, many of which fled with other refugees to Mexico and continued a shadow war from across the border.
The remaining people of older generations (the median age of men in Guatemala is only 16), have become completely sickened by the thought of fighting. With a disproportionate number of women to men and a country in ruins, Guatemala focuses on reestablishing its rural roots and agrarian lifestyle, through the help of international aid communities, before working to rebuild its infrastructure and urban environments.

With the former capitol city, Guatemala City, primarily in ruins, little is done in government of any mention. Most positions are ceremonial and very few free elections are done in the remaining government, as it’s assumed those who overstay their welcome will simply be assassinated or strung up in acts reminiscent of Mussolini. This attitude has made many remaining government officials spend their time pandering to the needs of people, which often keeps them busy with their constituent base and allows little time for formerly common government duties, such as approving new laws or building up the army.

Local elections still exist and restore some normalcy to the populations in rural communities that were only somewhat damaged by the long Civil War. It is why a return to agrarian society has begun in full force, although it could be argued that Guatemala has never left this type of society. Additionally, a single large international movement has begun in Guatemala, with the help of national and local governments. This is an international aid group formed primarily by European humanitarian groups, to help clean up Guatemala’s fields of buried land mines so that continued agricultural projects can be undergone. Some of these slated agriculture projects are meant as fresh food farms which will be sold to Europe in order to generate more revenue for rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. These so called “Euro-Farms,” are often funded by corporate agri-business, such as the IMA and other groups.

The military force of Guatemala has shrunk to disproportionately small levels after the devastation of the Civil War and the first South American conflict. The standing military only numbers around 3,000 men and women (Guatemala promotes gender equality in its military, mostly out of a need for willing fighters). Stockpiles of weaponry are mostly old U.S. military weaponry from the 1st Central and  2nd South American conflicts, severely limiting their effectiveness in modern warfare. Guatemala’s primary strength lies in its people who are quick to form militias and makeshift posses (during some incidents of conflict, police and criminal elements worked together to bring someone to justice). These posses often use very primitive weaponry and crude methods, but the manpower has been enough to drive all but the most cunning and stubborn violent criminals from their country.

Due to fierce fighting and destruction during the first SouthAm war and the civil war, only recently has Guatemala maintained any industries besides what is necessary for an agrarian society. Most residents still live on isolated farms growing whatever food they can manage. Some of this is cash-crop raising for the drug market, using updated technology provided by the Cartels in order to raise cocoa plants.  Trade becomes difficult in many rural regions of Guatemala, if one is not familiar with the Indian languages of the people living there.

In addition to the occasional hurricane which batters Guatemala’s coastal cities, destroying many homes, there are additional threats in the highlands in the form of Earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Guatemala is mountainous, except for the south coastal area and the vast northern lowlands of Petén department. Two mountain chains enter Guatemala from west to east, dividing the country into three major regions: the highlands, where the mountains are located; the Pacific coast, south of the mountains; and the Petén region, north of the mountains. All major cities are located in the highlands and Pacific coast regions; by comparison, Petén is sparsely populated. These three regions vary in climate, elevation, and landscape, providing dramatic contrasts between hot and humid tropical lowlands and colder and drier highland peaks. Volcán Tajumulco, at 4,220 meters, is the highest point in Central America.
Due to the landscape, many refugees in Guatemala don’t recognize the borders of Belize and Mexico, often crossing them with ease, to the disappointment of those governments.

While Guatemala is a place of much history, it has seen much devastation to national artifacts and historical sites such as Mayan temples, from mortars and other bombing during the war. Several museums and libraries that preserved numerous studies and artifacts on Mayan culture were utterly destroyed during vicious civil fighting. This has also affected the education system of Guatemala very heavily, making school learning an expensive leisure rarely affordable among the few remaining schools. Schooling and literacy are primarily taught by individual parents if they have the time in between work, apprenticeships are more common.

Many Indian traditions of cultural myths and music have been kept into the modern day and Guatemala still retains unique cultural elements, such as the marimba, a wooden keyed instrument used to make music by entertainers. Almost 40% of Guatemalans still practice or hold some uniquely Indian tradition, which is often merged with Catholic or Christian rituals and practice.

Most Guatemalans try to find a way to solve problems without violent fighting. This has become a societal and cultural phenomenon and rarely if ever, do the police forces actually draw guns on any criminals, if the problem seems to be heading to a violent confrontation; typically those people are just left alone. Even drug cartels who are typically ruthlessly violent in other cultures, no to minimize the bloodshed in Guatemala. While these criminal groups still self regulate in order to turn a profit, they rarely attempt public displays of horrific violence, for it has the opposite effect in Guatemala. While the government and military are weak and not feared, the average people are. Guatemalans are quick to unite against a threat and destroy it, whether it was government or criminal. Many are hardened to the horrors of war and no longer fear death, willing to pay almost any price to return their home to a state of peace. Mob justice in Guatemala is a swift assurance to the reckless criminal. In other countries, Guatemalan women are known for their hardiness and ability to fight just like men, a deceptive quality in cultures that treat women with little regard.

Since the war, many women have had to make a living in Guatemala through any means possible, often raising many kids as a single parent. This has prompted many women (which are now 70% of the population in Guatemala), to go into fields of work traditionally uncommon for females, everything from police work to military and what few technology jobs exist. Since war has killed many adult males, income in a third world nation has been tough for single women, forcing many in port cities such as Champerico and Puerto San Jose; to become prostitutes. Prostitution itself has become unregulated in Guatemala due to very little standing police force and military in most regions. Primarily prostitutes serve foreign sailors or what few tourists, if any, dare to come into Guatemala. Prostitution has become a bane on those with traditionalist mindsets in the interior of Guatemala, but regional prosecution and enforcement of the sex trade varies from area to area. Most coastline communities have considered it a regular occupation and do little to enforce it. This has given Guatemala a reputation as being a “Red Light” district of Central America to foreign sailors.
     



(Written by Joe "Citizen X" Klemann: Some Information is taken from the CIA Worldfactbook, Wikipedia, Geographia.com, and Cyberpunk 2020.)