Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico and Yucatan to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, the ECF to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast.
The Guatemalans had been embroiled in a bloody civil war lasting from the early 60's. The situation in the country had become extremely tense during the 80's and the government was overthrown in 1982. General Efraín Ríos Montt was named President of the military junta, continuing the bloody campaign of torture, forced disappearances, and "Scorched Earth" warfare. Internationally, the country became a pariah state.
In 1982, the four guerrilla groups, EGP, ORPA, FAR and PGT, merged and formed the URNG, influenced by the Salvadoran guerrilla FMLN, the Nicaraguan FSLN and Cuba's government, in order to become stronger. At the same time, extreme right-wing groups of self-appointed vigilantes, including the Secret Anti-Communist Army (ESA) and the White Hand (La Mano Blanca), tortured and murdered students, professionals, and peasants suspected of involvement in leftist activities.
On August 8, 1983, Ríos Montt was deposed by his own Minister of Defense, General Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores, who succeeded him as de facto president of Guatemala. Mejía justified his coup, saying that "religious fanatics" were abusing their positions in the government and also because of "official corruption".
After Doomsday, Victores's government had serious problems keeping its rule in place. Leftist guerrillas, spearheaded by the URNG were also experiencing problems, as they lost the backing of the FSLN in Nicaragua, due to their civil war, as well as the support from Cuba, which had been hit hard during the nuclear exchange. The loss of support from the U.S. severely weakend the rule of government forces. Plans to draft a democratic constitution failed and the URNG got a boost in its forces with the arrival of Cuban refugees who helped the URNG in trying to seize power. Matters took a turn for the worst when general Victores was killed by right wing fanatics, further destabilizing the country. The URNG also actively helped Yucatan in its bid for freedom, although this support was limited due to domestic problems.
From 1984 to 1990, no government officially controlled Guatemala. In 1990, when the URNG headed by Rolando Morán seized Guatemala City, the right wing guerrillas of the ESA and the White Hand decided that dialogue was needed to stop the fighting. In August, both sides agreed to officially end the fighting and an election for the new Constituent Assembly was carried out to draft a new constitution. After nine months of debate, on May 15 1991, a new constitution was drafted which came into effect immediately.
Morán presidency (1992-1998)
Rolando Morán, the leader of the URNG throughout the Civil war, was democratically elected in February of 1992 with almost 75% of the vote. He enacted reforms in the economy and military, strenghtening the rule of socialists in the government. The right wing radicals who fought the URNG formed the Unionist Party, which became the dominant opposition party in Parliament. Ties were once again established with Cuba, which was pleased to see that their Guatemalan allies had obtained power in the government. Together, they started to help the Yucatan even further, which had been fighting a desperate battle for freedom.
After securing a second term in office in 1996, Morán also readily greeted the Socialist Union, as it made contact with Centra America in 1997. He allowed the Siberians to build military installations in the area in exchange for training Guatemalan armed forces and providing them equipment. Rolando Morán died peacefully on September 11, 1998 in Guatemala City. He is remembered for his role in ending the civil war, as well as for his economic incentives.
Asturias presidency (1998-2005)
Following the socialist rhetoric of his predecessor, Asturias easily won 51,6% of the popular vote and became the next president of the country. He upheld the policies of Morán and continued to support socialist revolutions around Central America, which also helped him secure a second term in 2002. Trade flourished between Guatemala and its Caribbean allies, worrying South American countries that would soon go on to form the SAC. He denounced the organization soon after it was formed, which worsened relations not only with the SAC, but with Honduras as well. He died of a heart attack at his home in Guatemala City, on June 15, 2005.
Sandoval presidency (2005-Present)
Miguel Ángel Sandoval won the 2005 elections with strong support from the URNG, who had been running the government ever since the parliamentary elections of 1992. Sandoval helped the Siberians in September 2005, when the USSR and the ANZC made a show of force against the SAC in front of the Panama Canal, by allowing the ships to dock in Guatemalan ports, as the Nicaraguans also did. He easily won the elections of 2009 and attended the founding ceremony of the LoN in Tonga. He also readily agreed to chairman Tuleyev's offer to join the CSTO. Tensions remain high with Mexico, as the Guatemalans continue to support rebel groups in Yucatan.
Guatemala has an icy relationship with the ECF as well, claiming the entirety of Belize to be their territory, and the border with Belize has a large troop concentration.
Guatemala has a population of 13,276,517 (2007 est). About 40% of the population is Ladino, also called Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and Spanish). Whites (primarily of Spanish, but also those of Italian, German, British and Scandinavian descent; includes Arabs of Lebanese and Syrian descent), make up about 16% of the population. Amerindian populations include the K'ich'e 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9% and Q'eqchi 6.3%. 8.6% of the population is "other Mayan", 0.2% is indigenous non-Mayan, making the indigenous community in Guatemala about 40% of the population.
There are smaller communities present. The Garífuna, who are descended from Black Africans and indigenous peoples from St. Vincent's, live mainly in Livingston and Puerto Barrios, and other blacks and mulattos. There are also Asians, mostly of Chinese descent. Guatemala's German population is credited with bringing the tradition of a Christmas tree to the country. In 1900, Guatemala had a population of 885,000. Over the course of the twentieth century the population of the country grew, the fastest growth in the Western Hemisphere.
Despite recent efforts of the socialist government to change it, Guatemala is still among the poorer countries in Latin America. The distribution of income remains highly unequal with approximately half of the population living below the poverty line and just over 400,000 (3.2%) unemployed. In recent years the exporter sector of non-traditional products has grown dynamically representing more than 53 percent of global exports.
Some of the main products for export are fruits, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts, cloths and others. The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 58.7%, followed by the agriculture sector at 22.1% (2006 est.). The industrial sector represents only 19.1% of GDP (2006 est.). The agricultural sector accounts for about one-fourth of GDP, two-fifths of exports, and half of the labor force. Organic coffee, sugar, textiles, fresh vegetables, and bananas are the country's main exports. Inflation was 5.7% in 2006.
The 1990 peace accords that ended the decades-long civil war removed a major obstacle to foreign investment. Tourism has become an increasing source of revenue for Guatemala.
Guatemala has free trade agreements with its main socialist allies, the USSR and Cuba.
After Morán's military reforms in the late nineties, and the Siberian experts who have been training the military, the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) have become one of the best trained armies in Central America. The ground forces consist of around 90,000 men, while the navy consists mainly of coastal patrol vessels. The entire army is supplied by the Siberians and orders have been placed to buy 12 MiG-29's to bolster the Guatemalan Air Force.
Guatemala is a member of the League of Nations. It has formed a close bond with Cuba and other Caribbean socialist states, as well as their most powerful ally, the Socialist Union. It is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.