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Guatemala : An economic overview in a historical, social, and political context

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Chapter I
    1. Guatemala: An overview.
    2. Geography, climate & topography.
  3. Chapter II - History.
  4. Chapter III - Social culture and infrastructure.
  5. Chapter IV - Political & legal climate.
  6. Chapter V - Economic overview.
  7. Chapter VI - Trade & investment analysis.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the emergence of Guatemala into the global economy, and explore the viability of trade and investment in the country. In order to gain a proper perspective on Guatemala's current and future economic position, this exploration must be carried out in the context of the country's history, its culture, its political and legal climate as well as its economy. This paper will seek to provide a brief overview of all those aspects of Guatemala.This approach was chosen because a similar approach is necessary to successfully evaluate and conduct business in a foreign country, especially a country that is considered a viable emerging market by some, and an unstable dangerous business environment by others. It would be ideal to go into great depth for every single aspect of Guatemala as a nation, but of course, it is impossible, given the length and research limitation, to do so.

[...] Between the time Guatemala was first established as a sovereign nation and the early 20th century, Guatemala's constant interference in the affairs of other Central American countries created intense hostility in the region. The Washington Conference of 1907 was an agreement signed by all five Central American countries in which they vowed to maintain peace between themselves. This alleviated the hostility between the Central American nations, but the domestic hostility under harsh dictatorships did not end. In fact, in 1931 Jorge Ubico became president, which brought a modernization of Guatemala's financial systems but failed to free Guatemala from government repression. [...]


[...] It was in this context that Congress elected Ramiro de Leon Carpio, the attorney general for human rights, for president and he initiated a number of anticorruption reforms. The greatest development came in 1996, when Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, the former mayor of Guatemala City and a foreign minister, became president. He purged the Guatemalan military of corrupt figures, and signed a UN-sanctioned peace accord with the guerrilla forces, who then became a legitimate political party. The violence did not cease with the peace accord. [...]


[...] The next round of elections, including presidential, congressional and municipal, is to take place on September In the event that no presidential candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a presidential run-off will take place between the top two candidates on November The presidential and congressional inauguration will take place on January The political and democratic processes of the country are complicated by widespread and violent crime. Such violence has become a main fixture in Guatemala's history, and vigilante justice has also become a popular response. [...]

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