In Guatemala, the distribution of income remains highly unequal with the richest 20% of the population accounting for more than 51% of Guatemala’s overall consumption. More than half of the population is below the national poverty line, and 23% of the population lives in extreme poverty.

Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 79%, with 40% of the indigenous population living in extreme poverty. Nearly one-half of Guatemala’s children under age five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America and has the highest fertility rate in Latin America. It also has the highest population growth rate in Latin America, which is likely to continue because of its large reproductive-age population and high birth rate. Almost half of Guatemala’s population is under age 19, making it the youngest population in Latin America. Guatemala’s total fertility rate has slowly declined during the last few decades due in part to limited government-funded health programs. However, the birth rate is still more close to three children per woman and is markedly higher among its rural and indigenous populations.

Guatemalans have a history of emigrating legally and illegally to Mexico, the United States, and Canada because of a lack of economic opportunity, political instability, and natural disasters. Emigration, primarily to the United States, escalated during the 1960 to 1996 civil war and accelerated after a peace agreement was signed. Thousands of Guatemalans who fled to Mexico returned after the war, but labor migration to southern Mexico continues.

You can buy a round-trip ticket to Guatemala City from LAX for US$350 on AeroMexico (the great pinata in the sky). Should you visit? Naturally, that’s up to you.

Guatemala has worked to position itself as a refuge for people who have been internationally tainted. The official national policy offered passports,  national identity cards and a legal refuge for US$150,000 per family. Occasionally, the scheme goes sideways. If the nation those refugees are fleeing from wants them back — usually to torture them for political reasons, they petition Guatemala. In those cases, the passports and identity cards are declared, “fraudulent”.

Guatemala hasn’t earned the reputation for being an honest broker.

President Trump had a name for countries like that – but the mainstream media was offended.

 

Looking Back – What about the United Fruit Company?

The United Fruit Company (UFCO), now Chiquita Brands International, was an American corporation that traded in tropical fruit (primarily bananas) grown on Latin American plantations and sold in the United States and Europe. It flourished in the early and mid-20th century, and it came to control vast territories and transportation networks in Central America. It maintained a virtual monopoly in certain regions, some of which came to be called banana republics, including Guatemala.

The integrity of US SECSTATE John Foster Dulles’ and his law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell negotiated the land giveaways to the United Fruit Company in Guatemala and Honduras. John Foster Dulles’ brother, Allen Dulles, who was head of the CIA under Eisenhower, also did legal work for United Fruit. In a flagrant conflict of interest, the Dulles brothers and Sullivan & Cromwell were on the United Fruit payroll for thirty-eight years. Recent research has uncovered the names of multiple other government officials who received benefits from United Fruit:

John Foster Dulles, who represented United Fruit while he was a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell – he negotiated that crucial United Fruit deal with Guatemalan officials in the 1930s – was Secretary of State under Eisenhower; his brother Allen, who did legal work for the company and sat on its board of directors, was head of the CIA under Eisenhower; Henry Cabot Lodge, who was America’s ambassador to the UN, was a large owner of United Fruit stock; Ed Whitman, the United Fruit PR man, was married to Ann Whitman, Dwight Eisenhower’s personal secretary.

Although UFCO sometimes promoted the development of the nations where it operated, its long-term effects on their economy and infrastructure were often devastating. In Central America, the Company built extensive railroads and ports, provided employment and transportation, and created numerous schools for the people who lived and worked on Company land. On the other hand, it allowed vast tracts of land under its ownership to remain uncultivated, and, in Guatemala and elsewhere, it discouraged the government from building highways, which would have lessened the profitable transportation monopoly of the railroads under its control. UFCO also destroyed at least one of those railroads upon leaving its area of operation.

Some say that Guatemala should have been grateful to UFCO. Others, not so much.

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. I sense a theme here…will we go the way of Guatemala and Venezuela?

    If the treasonous cretins continue reinventing America in their class warfare Bravo Sierra…maybe. When corporations become political to this degree, what we used to call “shooting one’s foot off”, and they don’t care about reduced revenue consequence, it becomes an indicator that doesn’t bode well for righting the heeled-over ship. Almost like they WANT to kill the host.

    I said it yesterday, and especially noting the conversations during our little ranch gathering, half of us are royally peeved and will not go down without a fight. “The time for talk and half measures is over.”

    • Guatemala is ruled by oligarchs, and near as I can tell, it always was. The Aztecs and Toltecs and before them, the Olmecs were not from Guatemala but ruled the area. They were traded for Conquistadores who ruled in very much the same way and were replaced by the same class of ruler, whether it was United Fruit or somebody else. The place is a model for what Jo/Ho and friends would like to see here.

  2. I have friends, a married couple, who are missionaries working with young girls down there. They love the people but agree pretty much with Mr. Trump’s assessment though they wouldn’t phrase it in the same manner.

  3. A country with the top 20% holding just over 50% of the wealth might be more egalitarian than the US where the top 1% hold over 40% of the wealth, and the top 10% hold nearly 80% of the total.

    If the top 1% were so wealthy because they produced tangible goods or actual services, that would be one thing. But increasingly, the aggregation of wealth (and therefore power) is from financial chicanery (legal does not equal ethical). It’s skim, not production.

    It’s all fashionable and correct to complain about how “white” the top 1% is, but if you look any further into the demographics then you’re committing a hate crime. So just don’t do it.

    Almost like they WANT to kill the host.
    Oh, that’s several essays right there. But I use enough of Larry’s electrons as it is.

    • I don’t see that there is any intent other than to kill the host. And it’s been going on for quite some time now. Yes, there is a grist for MANY essays. It hurts to write them when I write of home. We don’t elect people to rule us or even lead us. We elect them to SERVE us — and that concept seems to have been completely lost.

      To some extent, it’s like being Cassandra, Mike_C. Having the gift of prophecy and, at the same time, the curse of not being believed. To be fair, there are a lot of Cassandras out there.

      • Mike_C…yes it certainly is fodder for any number of essays, VDH has a few recent ones pointing in that direction. My comment wasn’t intended as naiveté — from the 80’s S&L debacle, started by none other than Neal Bush, yeah THAT family, my dad’s development project were directly affected when the bank defaulted, not him, leaving no recourse, to the progression of Ruling Class who by most accounts are mentally ill…which we left England for in the first place, and these bums demand we return to that system. Like I say, we are not 1940’s Germany…we will not go peacefully. They know they are weak, and operate more like pocket gophers; when you shoot one the others come out drag it back into the hole and devour it.

        LL – You were 100% correct, DJT was a delay, nothing more. Yet I sense a change coming from that side – our side – of the fence. The “unwoke” are wide awake.

        • Paul, I wasn’t implying – or thinking – that you were being naive.

          We don’t have a single ruling class, though there is now substantial overlap between the groups comprising it. I think one group has no desire to kill the host, because that group sees the Dirt People as belonging to it, much like peasants in the feudal sense. (Though obligations ran both up and down the chain in the feudal system.) The other group, which has been increasing in power since at least the 1910’s, sees itself as NOT of the US, and not of the West. The second group is driven by paranoid rapacity, and at some level believes itself to be the Real Victim no matter how much wealth or power it has. Here destroying the host does make sense, because the host society (any and every host society) is eternally plotting to genocide them. Because of these factors, this second group can (and does) operate in a way that often does not seem rational to outsiders.

          • Didn’t think so, was more of a clarification on my part by observation, people believing anything their government officials tell them while, as LL and you and others here point out, we are in the throws of a hostile takeover that started decades ago. I can’t figure a way to mitigate my response because all the rules have changed, so our remedy must adjust accordingly. It will get ugly if these people persist, and I strongly believe they will lose, which is why they will continue subversive political tactics versus direct confrontation (Antifa aside).

          • In the US, wealth inequality used to be a non-issue, since there was so much total wealth that even the poor were rich by world, even European, standards.

            The “Democrats” are doing their best to change that, though.

            -Kle.

    • It’s their problem but the immigration issues that stem from the disaster they’ve created is also our problem whether we like it or not. Yes, Jo/Ho are now completing the wall and that will help, but the underlying pressure doesn’t go away. They end up flooding Mexico and destabilizing that country as well.

  4. Guatemala is one of those places I much thought about, either. I knew a bit about UFCO and “Banana Republics” (cue Jimmy Buffet), but not much else besides the scene in “Casino” where they finally caught the bag man.

    Between pay-to-play, oligarchs, Corporation States, atwo-tiered “justice” system, and corruption, I’m pretty sure the USA has become a Banana Republic….

  5. Bernal Diaz, one of Cortez’s conquistadors, retired to Guatemala and wrote his memoirs: The Discovery an Conquest of Mexico.
    They encountered horrendous evil during their movement up through Central America. Think Apocolypto +.
    They were not saints themselves, either: rendered the fat from their dead enemies to use as a salve for the numerous wounds.

    My step daughter used to work for a dentist, and they used to go, on a yearly basis, to do a free clinic in Guatemala.
    She related an incident where a local military officer brought in his mistress and jumped the line to get her free dental work before the peons. The Covid put an end to the travel, so she has not been back for a couple of years.
    Incidentally, she and the dentist spent some time in China and she commented on the strange- to-her items in the fresh markets and the obvious video surveillance EVERYWHERE. Street crime almost non-existent.
    Pretty sure she passed on the bat soup, though.

    • Guatemala is rife with crime.

      Crime in China is different and tends to be “Chinese” in nature – culturally developed crime. I’ve walked the alleys of Beijing in the middle of the night and the most that happened was that people say, “hello” in Chinese. I never felt in danger and I have good spidey sense. They garrison soldiers all around Bejing now after the uprising in 1989 (Tiananmen Square Massacre). You only see that if you’re wandering alleys. There are also the People’s Armed Police.

      I never ate bat soup, but I’ve found pigeon heads and feet in soup…

  6. The fruit empires didn’t particularly help central and south America, but then, there aren’t really any shining counter-examples of how great everything would be w/o their interference, either.

    -Kle.

  7. Billy-Killy-Gates jabs will sort out the population increase: after ‘part 2’ has been injected the birth rate should drop to nearly zero.

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