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Why Is Guatemala Poor? Essay

851 words - 4 pages

The richest 20% in the world gorge themselves on over 70% of the world’s resources while continuing to exploit the poorest, who are forced to live in desolate poverty. Guatemala is no exception to this, as over 50% of their population live under the poverty line. With a population of around fifteen million people, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, but is also one of the poorest. Guatemala’s extreme impoverishment is because of the struggle between the poor mixed-blood natives and the rich Spanish descendants who run the country, the interference of other countries and the extortion of the country with deceitful loans and conditions by the World Bank and other ...view middle of the document...

Guatemala was a colony until 1821, when they declared independence from Spain and the provinces formed the United Provinces of Central America. This soon dissolved in civil war, with Rafael Carrera leading the revolt and breaking apart the Union. He dominated Guatemalan politics until 1865 as he was backed the by conservatives, large land owners and the church. The “Liberal Revolution” came in 1871 under Justo Rufino Barrios who tried to modernize the country, improve trade and introduce new crops and manufacturing. After his death on the battlefield in an attempt to reunite Central America Guatemala was ruled by a dictator Manuel Cabrera who access to the presidency was helped by the United Fruit Company and it was during this time they became a major force in Guatemala. The United Fruit Company has been accused of bribing government officials in exchange for preferential treatment, exploiting its workers, paying little taxes in the countries it operates and consolidating monopolies. They pour investment into the country and have a monopoly on the railroad, electric utility and telegraph, in addition to controlling over 40% of the best agriculture land. After a few dictators and military coups, two officers Arbenz and Arana led a final coup and deposed the dictatorship. This began the Ten Years of Spring, which was a democratic period of free speech, open political activity and plans for national land reforms. Arevalo was the first elected president who introduced social reforms and the free establishment of political party. Arbenz was his successor, and he...

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