U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BACKGROUND NOTES:  GUATEMALA
PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
NOVEMBER 1994

Official Name:  Republic of Guatemala

PROFILE

Geography
Area:  108,780 sq. km. (42,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Tennessee.
Cities:  Capital--Guatemala City (pop. 2 million).  Other major cities--
Quetzaltenango (72,000), Escuintla (87,000).  
Terrain:  Mountainous, with fertile coastal plain.
Climate:  Temperate in highlands; semitropical on coasts.

People
Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Guatemalan(s).
Population (1994 est.):  10 million.  
Annual population growth rate:  3%.  
Ethnic groups:  Mestizo (mixed Spanish-Indian), indigenous.  
Religions:  Roman Catholic, Protestant, traditional Mayan.  
Languages:  Spanish, 21 Indian languages (including Quiche, Cakchiquel, 
Kekchi).  
Education:  Years compulsory--6.  Attendance--41%.  Literacy--52%.  
Health:  Infant mortality rate--79/1,000.  Life expectancy--60 yrs. 
general population; 44 yrs. Indian population.  
Work force:  The majority of the population engages in some form of 
agriculture.  The formal work force breaks down as follows:  Services--
36%.  Industry and commerce--29%.  Agriculture--28%.  Construction, 
mining, utilities--4%.

Government
Type:  Constitutional democratic republic.
Constitution:  May 1985; amended November 1993. 
Independence:  September 15, 1821.
Branches:  Executive--president (four-year term).  Legislative--
unicameral 80-member Congress (four-year term).  Judiciary--13-member 
Supreme Court of Justice (five-year term).
Subdivisions:  22 departments and Guatemala City.
Major political parties:  Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), Party of 
National Advancement (PAN), Christian Democratic Party (DCG), Union of 
the National Center (UCN), National Liberation Movement (MLN), Movement 
of Solidarity Action (MAS).
Suffrage:  Universal for adults 18 and over who are not serving on 
active duty with the armed forces.

Economy
GDP (1994 est.):  $11 billion.
Annual growth rate (1994 est.):  4%.
Per capita GDP (1994 est.):  $1,100.
Natural resources:  Oil, timber.
Agriculture (24% of GDP):  Products--corn, beans, coffee, cotton, 
cattle, sugar, bananas, timber, rice, cardamom.
Manufacturing (13% of GDP):  Types--prepared food, textiles, 
construction materials, tires, pharmaceuticals.
Trade (1993):  Exports--$1.3 billion:  coffee, sugar, meat, cardamom, 
bananas, petroleum, apparel.  Major markets--U.S. 37%, Central American 
Common Market (CACM) 25%.  Imports--$2.6 billion:  fuels and lubricants, 
industrial machinery, motor vehicles, iron, and steel.  Major suppliers-
-U.S. 45%, CACM, and Europe.
Exchange rate (1994 avg.):  
5.75 quetzals=U.S. $1.  


PEOPLE

More than half of Guatemala's population of 10 million are descendants 
of Mayan Indians.  Westernized Mayans and mestizos (mixed Spanish and 
Indian) are known as ladinos.  Most of Guatemala's population is rural, 
although urbanization is accelerating.  About one-quarter of the 
population now lives in the Guatemala City metropolitan area.

The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, which many Indians have 
superimposed on their traditional forms of worship.  Protestantism and 
traditional Mayan religious practices account for an estimated 30% of 
the population.  Although the official language is Spanish, it is not 
universally understood by the indigenous population.


HISTORY

The Mayan civilization flourished throughout much of Guatemala and the 
surrounding region long before the Spanish arrived, but it already was 
in decline when the Mayans were defeated by Pedro de Alvarado in 1523-
24.  During Spanish colonial rule, most of Central America came under 
the control of the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

The first colonial capital, Ciudad Vieja, was ruined by flood and 
earthquake in 1542.  Survivors founded Antigua, the second capital, in 
1543.  In the 17th century, it became one of the richest capitals in the 
New World.  Always vulnerable to volcanic eruptions, floods, and 
earthquakes, it was destroyed by two earthquakes in 1773, but the 
remnants of its Spanish colonial architecture have been preserved as a 
national monument.  The third capital, Guatemala City, was founded in 
1776, after Antigua was abandoned.

The country has had a turbulent post-independence history.  Guatemala 
gained independence from Spain on September 15, 1821; it briefly became 
part of the Mexican Empire and then for a period belonged to a 
federation called the United Provinces of Central America.  From the 
mid-19th century until the mid-1980s, the country passed through a 
series of dictatorships, insurgencies (particularly beginning in the 
1960s), coups, and stretches of military rule with only occasional 
periods of representative government.

From 1944 to 1986

In 1944, Gen. Jorge Ubico's dictatorship was overthrown by the "October 
Revolutionaries"--a group of dissident military officers, students, and 
liberal professionals.  A civilian president, Juan Jose Arevalo, was 
elected in 1945; he held the presidency until 1951.  Social reforms 
which were begun under him were continued by his successor, Col. Jacobo 
Arbenz.  Colonel Arbenz permitted the communist Guatemalan Labor Party 
to gain legal status in 1952.  By the mid-point of Arbenz's term, 
communists controlled key peasant organizations, labor unions, and the 
governing political party, holding some 
key government positions.

Despite most Guatemalans' attachment to the original ideals of the 1944 
uprising, key segments of society and the military viewed Arbenz's 
policies as a menace.  The army refused to defend the government when a 
group led by Col. Carlos Castillo Armas invaded the country from 
Honduras in 1954 and eventually took over the government.  The 
assassination of President Castillo in 1957 precipitated a period of 
confusion from which Gen. Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes emerged as President 
in 1958.

A 1960 revolt by junior military officers failed, and some of the 
participants went into hiding, creating the nucleus of a guerrilla 
movement which established close ties with Cuba.  In early 1963, a new 
military group, headed by Col. Enrique Peralta Azurdia, restored order.  
But the unconstitutional nature of the regime created disaffection, 
played upon by the guerrillas, especially among students.  A constituent 
assembly drafted a new constitution, promulgated in September 1965.

The presidential candidate of the moderate Revolutionary Party won by a 
plurality in the 1966 elections, thus briefly returning the country to a 
civilian presidency.  Shortly after President Julio Cesar Mendez 
Montenegro took office, the army launched a major counterinsurgency 
campaign that largely broke up the guerrilla movement in the 
countryside.  The guerrillas then concentrated their attacks in 
Guatemala City, where they assassinated many leading figures, including 
U.S. Ambassador John Gordon Mein, in 1968.

The country again came under military rule in 1970.  The new President, 
Gen. Carlos Arana (1970-74), declared a state of siege, and an intense 
anti-terrorist campaign forced terrorist groups to reduce their activity 
markedly.  He was followed by Gen. Kjell Laugerud Garcia, who was 
declared the winner in disputed 1974 presidential elections.  His 
successor, Gen. Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia, was inaugurated on July 1, 
1978; he promised to attack vigorously Guatemala's socioeconomic 
problems, but violence increased.

Three principal left-wing guerrilla groups--the Guerrilla Army of the 
Poor (EGP), the Revolutionary Organization of Armed People (ORPA), and 
the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR)--conducted economic sabotage and targeted 
government installations and members of government security forces in 
armed attacks.  These three organizations have since combined with a 
fourth guerrilla organization--the outlawed communist party, known as 
the PGT--to form the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG).  At 
the same time, extreme right-wing groups of self-appointed vigilantes, 
such as the Secret Anti-Communist Army (ESA) and the White Hand, 
tortured and murdered students, professionals, and peasants suspected of 
involvement in leftist activities.  As the March 1982 elections 
approached, political violence steadily grew as guerrillas sought to 
disrupt the electoral process.

The winner by plurality of the March 7, 1982, elections was former 
Defense Minister Gen. Anibal Guevara.  Opposition centrist parties, 
though, claimed electoral fraud.  On the morning of March 23, 1982, the 
National Palace in Guatemala City was surrounded by army troops 
commanded by junior officers who were opposed to General Guevara's 
attempted takeover of power by fraud.  The coup leaders asked Brig. Gen. 
Efrain Jose Rios Montt to negotiate the departure of presidential 
incumbent General Lucas.  Rios Montt had been the candidate of the 
Christian Democratic Party in the 1974 presidential elections and was 
widely believed to have lost by fraud.

Rios Montt formed a three-member junta that canceled the 1965 
constitution, dissolved the Congress, suspended political parties, and 
canceled the election law.  On June 9, Rios Montt accepted the 
resignations of the two other junta members and assumed the title of 
President of the Republic.  Responding to a wave of violence, the Rios 
Montt government imposed a state of siege on July 1, 1982--severely 
restricting civil liberties--and created a system of special courts, 
which were independent of the regular judiciary.  Politically, Rios 
Montt formed an advisory Council of State to assist him in returning the 
nation to democracy.  In 1983, electoral laws were promulgated, the 
state of siege was lifted, and political activity was once again 
allowed.  The Rios Montt government scheduled constituent assembly 
elections for July 1, 1984.

Guerrilla forces and their leftist allies denounced the new government 
and stepped up their attacks.  Rios Montt sought to combat them through 
military actions and economic reforms--or, in his words, through "rifles 
and beans."  The government formed civilian defense forces and achieved 
success in containing the insurgency.  However, the economy suffered a 
severe setback, with per capita GDP dropping more than 10% in real terms 
during Rios Montt's presidency.  Infighting within the military led to 
the imposition of a state of siege on June 29, 1983, a shake-up of Rios 
Montt's advisers, and continuing coup rumors.

On August 8, 1983, Rios Montt was deposed by the Guatemalan army.  His 
ouster capped years of political violence in Guatemala from both right 
and left and continuing economic turmoil.  The Minister of Defense, Gen. 
Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, was proclaimed head of state the same 
day.  General Mejia claimed that certain "religious fanatics" were 
abusing their positions in the government and that corruption had to be 
weeded out.  The Mejia government quickly abolished the controversial 
courts of special jurisdiction.  Constituent assembly elections were 
held on July 1, 1984.

On May 30, 1985, after nine months of debate, the constituent assembly 
finished drafting a new constitution, which took immediate effect.  
Chief of State Mejia called general elections for president, congress, 
mayor, and city councils for November 3, 1985.  A runoff election was 
held on December 8.  The Christian Democratic Party of Guatemala (DCG) 
candidate, Vinicio Cerezo, won the presidency with almost 70% of the 
vote and took office in January 1986.  The DCG also won 51 of the 100 
seats in the national congress.

From 1986 to 1994

Upon its inauguration in January 1986, President Cerezo's new civilian 
government announced that its top priorities would be to end the 
political violence of insurgency and counterinsurgency actions and to 
establish the rule of law.

The army divested itself of its governing role and rededicated itself to 
the professionalization of its forces and combat against the insurgents.  
Guatemala's police forces were reorganized, including the dissolution of 
the Department of Technical Investigations (DIT), the plainclothes arm 
of the national police widely considered to have engaged in extortion, 
robbery, and political kidnapings and assassinations.

The Supreme Court embarked on a series of reforms designed to fight 
corruption and improve the efficiency of the legal system.  Other 
reforms included new laws of habeas corpus and amparo, or court-ordered 
protection; the creation of a legislative human rights committee; and 
the establishment in 1987 of the office of Human Rights Ombudsman.

The first two years of Cerezo's administration were characterized by a 
stable economy and a marked decrease in the level of politically 
motivated violence.  But two attempted coups in May 1988 and May 1989 
marked the onset of renewed political and general violence.  The Cerezo 
administration was heavily criticized for its unwillingness to 
investigate or prosecute cases of human rights violations.  The final 
two years of Cerezo's government also were marked by a failing economy, 
strikes, protest marches, and allegations of widespread corruption.  The 
government's inability to deal with many of the nation's problems--such 
as infant mortality, illiteracy, deficient health and social services, 
and rising levels of violence--contributed to the population's 
discontent.

Presidential and congressional elections were held on November 11, 1990.  
Jorge Serrano was inaugurated on January 14, 1991, after a runoff 
ballot, thereby completing the transition from one democratically 
elected civilian government to another.  From the beginning, however, 
Serrano was plagued by his weak political base.  Because his ruling 
Movement of Solidarity Action (MAS) party had only 18 of 116 seats in 
Congress, Serrano had to enter into a sometimes tenuous alliance with 
the Christian Democrats and the Union of the National Center (UCN).

Overall, the Serrano administration's record was mixed.  Serrano had 
some success in consolidating civilian control over the army high 
command.  He replaced two defense ministers (required by the 1985 
constitution to be active-duty army officers), two military chiefs of 
staff, and one chief of the air force.  He also persuaded the military 
to participate in peace talks with the leftist URNG rebels.

The Serrano government did a credible job of reversing the economic 
slide it inherited, reducing inflation and boosting  real growth from 3% 
in 1990 to almost 5% in 1992.  It passed a sweeping tax reform package, 
concluded a standby agreement with the IMF, and cleared arrears with the 
international financial institutions--all achievements that had eluded 
the Cerezo administration.

On the international front, Guatemala under the Serrano administration 
increased cooperation in counternarcotics matters with the U.S. to 
eradicate opium poppy cultivation in Guatemala and to reduce Guatemala's 
growing role as a transit point for Colombian-produced cocaine destined 
for the U.S. market.  As part of this effort, cooperation on extradition 
matters also increased.

Serrano strongly condemned human rights abuses, but enforcement was 
spotty.  Initiatives to fight corruption met with some success; the 
Serrano administration prosecuted some corrupt government officials and 
arrested the former heads of the national electrical utility and the 
head of the national telephone company.  However, as the administration 
wore on, many Guatemalans regarded Serrano as more interested in 
conducting "business as usual" than in bringing about lasting solutions 
to the country's chronic political, economic, and social problems.

On May 25, 1993, Serrano illegally dissolved Congress and the Supreme 
Court and tried to restrict civil freedoms, allegedly in an attempt to 
fight corruption.  But the so-called autogolpe (autocoup) failed due to 
strong protests by many of the Guatemalan people, international 
pressure, and the army's role in enforcing the decisions of the Court of 
Constitutionality, which ruled against Serrano's and his Vice 
President's illegal takeover of power.

Serrano fled the country.  On June 5, 1993, the Congress--pursuant to 
the 1985 constitution--elected Guatemala's Human Rights Ombudsman, 
Ramiro De Leon Carpio, to complete Serrano's presidential term.  De 
Leon--not a member of any political party and with strong popular 
support--launched an ambitious anti-corruption campaign to "purify" 
Congress and the Supreme Court by demanding the resignations of all 
members of those two bodies.  Despite considerable congressional 
resistance, presidential and popular pressure led to a November 1993 
agreement brokered by the Catholic Church between the government and 
Congress on a package of constitutional reforms.  These reforms were 
approved by popular referendum on January 30, 1994.


GOVERNMENT

Guatemala's 1985 constitution provides for a separation of powers among 
the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.  The 
1993 constitutional reforms included:  the calling of new congressional 
elections; a reduction in the number of congressional representatives 
from 116 to 80; a replacement of Supreme Court justices; an increase in 
the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13; and a reduction in 
the terms of office for president and congressional representatives from 
five to four years and for Supreme Court justices from six to five 
years.

The president is directly elected under universal suffrage and, 
beginning with the 1995 elections, will serve a four-year term.  The 
president cannot serve a successive term.  There is a vice president, 
who also will serve a four-year term.

The congress is unicameral.  Its 80 members are elected for four years, 
and the terms are not staggered.

There is a Supreme Court, whose members are appointed by the Congress 
based on a selection list submitted by the bar association, law school 
deans, a university rector, and appellate judges.  Pursuant to the 1993 
constitutional reforms, the new Supreme Court justices took office in 
October 1994.  The justices serve five-year terms.  The Supreme Court 
and local courts handle civil and criminal cases.  There also is a 
constitutional court.

Guatemala has 22 administrative subdivisions, or departments, which are 
administered by governors appointed by the president.  Guatemala City is 
not included in any of the 22 departments; it is administered by a 
popularly elected mayor.

In early congressional elections on August 14, 1994--required by the 
1993 constitutional reforms--two conservative anti-corruption parties, 
the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) and the Party of National 
Advancement (PAN), together garnered 56 of the 80 seats in the newly 
structured Congress.  Although voter participation was low, the 
congressional elections democratically resolved the sharp differences 
among the executive branch, the legislature, and the Supreme Court, and 
relations between the executive and the legislature are expected to 
improve.  General elections for president, Congress, and mayors 
throughout the country will be held in the latter part of 1995.

National Security

The mission of the Guatemalan armed forces is defense against external 
threats, provision of internal security, and promotion of national 
development.  The president acts as commander in chief through his 
minister of defense.  Day-to-day operations are run by the chief of 
staff and the national defense staff.

The Guatemalan army number about 43,000 personnel, including subordinate 
air force (700) and navy (1,300) elements.  The army is operationally 
organized into 19 military zones and three strategic brigades.  The air 
force operates three air bases; the navy has two port bases.  The 1994 
defense budget is estimated at $123 million--about 1% of GDP.

The armed forces are equipped with armaments and materiel from the 
United States, Israel, Yugoslavia, Taiwan, Argentina, Spain, and France.  
Guatemala is a signatory to the Rio Pact and is a member of the Central 
American Defense Council (CONDECA).

Principal Government Officials
President--Ramiro De Leon Carpio
Vice President--Arturo Herbruger Asturias
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Maritza Ruiz de Vielman
Ambassador to the U.S.--Edmond Mulet Lessieur
Ambassador to the UN--Julio Martini Herrera
Ambassador to the OAS--Cesar Alvarez Guadamuz

Guatemala maintains an embassy in the United States at 2220 R Street, 
NW, Washington, DC  20008 (tel. 202-745-4952), and consulates in New 
York, Miami, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, as well as an honorary 
consul in New Orleans.


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Since the early 1960s, the Guatemalan military has been engaged in 
counter-insurgency operations against Marxist-Leninist guerrillas.  When 
the army was divested of its governing role as a result of the 1985 
democratic elections, it rededicated itself to the professionalization 
of its forces and to combat against the insurgents.  Although the army 
has reduced the insurgency to the point that it does not threaten 
national stability, guerrillas continue to mount attacks on military 
installations and economic infrastructure and to extort "war taxes" from 
civilians.  Since much of Guatemala's violence stems from its long-
running internal armed conflict, a resolution of the conflict would 
greatly contribute to an improvement in Guatemala's human rights and 
economic situation.

President De Leon, a former Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman, has 
strongly and publicly expressed his refusal to tolerate human rights 
abuses.  He eliminated the presidential security force (Archivos), 
implicated in many human rights violations.  The number of politically 
motivated deaths and kidnapings was substantially lower in mid-1994 than 
in the early 1980s, but important human rights problems remain, 
including the use of force and abuses by political extremists of the 
left and the right and by some individual and former members of the 
security forces.

In many instances, the Guatemalan Government still does not adequately 
follow through on investigating and prosecuting violations, especially 
those committed by security forces and persons associated with or 
protected by the army, such as the civil defense patrols and military 
commissioners.  These problems are aggravated by a legacy of violence, 
vigilante justice, and common crime.  The judiciary and democratic 
institutions have developed only a limited capacity to cope with this 
legacy.

The De Leon government has shown great interest in reaching a peace 
accord.  In January 1994, the umbrella URNG guerrilla organization and 
the Guatemalan Government resumed talks stalled during previous 
administrations.  The UN served as moderator, and a formal "Friends of 
the Peace Process" group--composed of Colombia, Mexico, Norway, Spain, 
Venezuela, and the U.S.--also was formed.

In late March 1994, the government and guerrillas took a major step 
forward in the peace process when they signed a human rights accord that 
called for the immediate establishment of a UN Human Rights Verification 
Mission in Guatemala (MINUGA), which began to operate in November 1994.  
At the same time, a calendar was agreed upon for the Guatemalan 
Government and URNG to address major outstanding issues.  The calendar 
anticipated an end to the war in December 1994.  Major accords on 
"uprooted" people and to establish a Historical Clarification Commission 
to look into human rights abuses related to the war were signed in June 
1994.  As of late November 1994, the two sides were discussing the issue 
of indigenous rights, but a final, overall peace agreement had not been 
reached.


ECONOMY

Assuming political stability, Guatemala is well-positioned for rapid 
economic growth over the next few years.  For 1994, Guatemala's GDP is 
estimated at $11 billion, with a growth rate of 4%.

Agriculture is the largest economic sector, contributing 24% of GDP and 
accounting for 75% of exports.  Most manufacturing is devoted to light 
assembly and food processing operations and is still geared mainly 
toward the domestic and Central American markets.  Since 1986, tourism 
and exports of textiles, apparel, and non-traditional agricultural 
products such as winter vegetables, fruits, and cut flowers have boomed.  
The United States is the country's largest trading partner.  Guatemala's 
economy is dominated by the private sector, which generates about 85% of 
GDP.  The government's small and shrinking participation in production 
has always been limited to public utilities and several development-
oriented financial institutions.

Guatemala's return to civilian democratic rule in 1986 spurred a 
reversal of the steep economic decline that had reduced real per capita 
income by nearly 20% in the first half of the 1980s. It also marked the 
start of a trend toward economic diversification and improved 
international competitiveness, spurred by economic policies that 
promoted financial stability and growth through exports.  These policies 
have included:

--  Simplifying the tax structure and broadening the tax base--
Guatemala's tax burden is still among the lowest in the world, however;
--  Restraining growth of domestic credit, especially to the public 
sector;
--  Eliminating most price controls--only basic staples remain subject 
to controls;
--  Unifying and liberalizing the previously government-controlled, 
multi-tiered exchange rate;
--  Increasing private sector participation in electricity and 
telecommunications industries; and
--  Liberalizing the market for petroleum products.

Import tariffs have been lowered in conjunction with Guatemala's Central 
American neighbors so that most now fall between 5% and 20%.

Responding to Guatemala's changed political and economic policy 
environment, the international community has mobilized substantial 
resources to support the country's economic and social development 
objectives.  The United States, in particular, and Germany, to a lesser 
extent, have provided significant amounts of balance-of-payments 
assistance.  Along with other donor countries--especially France, Italy, 
Spain, and Japan--they also have increased development project 
financing.

Problems hindering economic growth include illiteracy and low levels of 
education; inadequate capital markets; and lack of infrastructure, 
particularly in the transportation and electrical sectors.  The 
distribution of income and wealth remains highly skewed.  The richest 
10% of the population receives almost one-half of all income; the top 
20% receives two-thirds of all income.  As a result, more than half the 
population lives in poverty, and two-thirds lives in extreme poverty.  
Guatemala's social indicators, such as infant mortality and illiteracy, 
are correspondingly among the worst in the hemisphere.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Guatemala's major diplomatic interests are regional security issues and, 
increasingly, regional development and economic integration issues.  The 
country has been an active participant in the Contadora and Esquipulas 
processes.  It hosted the June 1990 Central American Economic Summit, 
which was attended by the Presidents of El Salvador, Honduras, Costa 
Rica, Nicaragua, and--for the first time--Panama.  It also originated 
the idea for, and is the seat of, the Central American Parliament 
(PARLACEN).

Guatemala long has laid claim to Belize; the territorial dispute caused 
problems with the United Kingdom and later with Belize, following its 
1981 independence from the U.K.  Relations have since improved.  In 
1986, Guatemala and the U.K. re-established commercial and consular 
relations; in 1987, they re-established full diplomatic relations.  In 
December 1989, Guatemala sponsored Belize for permanent observer status 
in the Organization of American States (OAS); Guatemalan President 
Cerezo and Belizean Prime Minister Price met twice in 1990 to discuss 
bilateral relations.  In September 1991, Guatemala recognized Belize's 
independence and established diplomatic ties, while acknowledging that 
the boundaries remained in dispute.

In April 1993, then-Foreign Minister Menendez Park met with his Belizean 
counterpart in Miami.  Among the decisions made was that both states 
would forswear the use of force to settle any problems over the issue.  
The De Leon government has made clear that Guatemala continues its 
recognition of Belize while at the same time seeking discussions to 
resolve the territorial dispute.  In early 1994, the Guatemalan 
Government forwarded a letter to the UN reserving its rights on the 
border issue.  It also has created an internal advisory council whose 
mandate is to suggest a policy leading to an end to the dispute with 
Belize.

U.S.-GUATEMALAN RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and Guatemala traditionally have 
been good.  U.S. policy in Guatemala includes:

--  Supporting the institutionalization of democracy;
--  Encouraging Guatemalan respect for human rights and the rule of law;
--  Supporting broad-based economic growth and sustainable development;
--  Cooperating with the Guatemalan Government to combat narcotics 
trafficking;
--  Supporting Central American integration and regional peace efforts, 
including the dialogue process with the Guatemalan insurgency;
--  Maintaining mutually beneficial trade relations; and
--  Supporting a solution to the Belize dispute acceptable to the 
parties involved.

U.S. military assistance to Guatemala was suspended in 1990 following 
the murder of American citizen Michael Devine by members of the 
Guatemalan armed forces.  The soldiers responsible for Devine's murder 
were tried, convicted, and imprisoned, but the officer who led the 
killers escaped from detention in May 1993.  The U.S. views his capture 
and imprisonment as fundamental to improved relations with the 
Guatemalan military.

The United States is Guatemala's largest trading partner, providing 45% 
of the country's imports and receiving 37% of its exports.  U.S. 
official assistance to Guatemala since 1986 totals about $900 million, 
but the level of aid now is markedly reduced--for FY 1994, $55 million 
in bilateral economic development assistance--as U.S. aid levels decline 
worldwide.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--Marilyn McAfee
Deputy Chief of Mission--John F. Keane
Political Counselor--George A. Chester, Jr.
Economic Counselor--Geraldeen Chester
Administrative Counselor--Gary Alexander
Office of Defense Attache--Col. Dennis Keller
Military Assistance Group--Col. Joseph Haning
Consul General--Charles Keil
USAID Director--William Stacy Rhodes
Regional Security Officer--Martin Donnelly
Drug Enforcement Administration--James White
Agricultural Attache--Grant Pettrie
Commercial Attache--Bryan Brisson

The U.S. embassy in Guatemala is at Avenida la Reforma 7-01, Zone 10, 
Guatemala City (tel. 31-15-41).  

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