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Map of Guatemala


In the indigenous Náhualt language, Guatemala means land of many trees. Today, the country retains its predominantly rural character, occupying most of its 108,888 km2 . Located in Central America, it borders Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, and its coasts are washed by the Caribbean Sea in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west. Known as the cradle of Mayan culture, 43% of the population self-identifies as indigenous, belonging to the Mayan, Xinca and Garifuna peoples. Although it should be noted that this percentage, based on self-identification, could be questioned considering that discriminatory policies caused many indigenous people to assimilate as "ladinos". Despite being considered the largest economy in Central America, poverty and inequality rates are among the highest in the region and particularly affect the rural and indigenous majority. 
Socio-economic indicators browse all
Land Area
10,716,000 ha
8,926.7 USD

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Serving a seven year prison sentence for defending the Cahabón River

16 December 2019

Bernardo Caal is an indigenous Q’eqchi leader from Guatemala currently serving a seven year prison sentence. His crime? Defending the Cahabón River, one of the largest in the country, against two hydroelectric dams.   The river is of plays a central role in the lives of 195 Q’eqchi communities in…

The poorest in Guatemala bear brunt of climate change, research says

3 May 2019

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Guatemala’s subsistence farmers and indigenous people living in poor rural communities are most affected by rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall linked to climate change, a leading researcher said on Friday. Poverty makes the Central American country…

Palm oil industry expansion spurs Guatemala indigenous migration

7 February 2019

Death of Jakelin Caal in US custody highlights how land conflicts and displacement fuel flight from indigenous villages. San Antonio Secortez & Guatemala City - The plantations' outer edges begin fewer than 20km from where seven-year-old Jakelin Caal is buried. The deep green rows of oil palm…

Some authors criticize that the constitutional recognition of indigenous lands does not include the concept of "peoples", which implies talking about lands but not territories - a broader term suggesting indigenous self-government - and thus reduces indigenous peoples to communities dependent on the state.

Blogs Browse all

The link between microfinance and land loss: Country Insights Digest #4 - February 2022

14 February 2022

This Country Insights Digest discusses the topic of microfinance in relation to land loss. Daniel Hayward reviews three articles on the topic and adds some concluding thoughts and questions. Has microfinance merely warped into other forms of rural credit, where the profit margin trumps all other…

Events Browse all

World Bank Climate Report Launch Webinar: Strengthening Land Tenure of Indigenous People and Local Communities in FCPF Countries

-This Event has ended -   Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM (Eastern Time) Online via Zoom This session will be interpreted in French and Spanish. Description: Strengthening Indigenous Land Tenure: A Critical Pillar of Climate Action   A prominent outcome of this year’s UN Climate…