Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Summit of the Americas

Guatemala and Alejandro Giammattei: An Overview



This article is adapted from AQ’special report on the Summit of the Americas. Click here for the full list of countries.

Guatemala

President: Alejandro Giammattei

Term: 2020-2024

Guatemala has lagged behind its neighbors in COVID-19 vaccinations under the right-wing former physician’s leadership. Organized crime and corruption remain entrenched, and Giammattei has overseen the removal of several high-profile anti-corruption prosecutors and judges, provoking nationwide protests and international condemnation. While criticizing his government, the U.S. has engaged Giammattei in talks to address the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle. Guatemala, along with El Salvador and Honduras, is part of the Biden administration’s four-year $4 billion plan to improve conditions in Central America and stem migration to the U.S. The Guatemalan economy relies heavily on remittances from migrants, which reached over $15 billion and were the largest contributor to GDP growth in 2021. Violence, poverty and the effects of climate change, including droughts as well as extreme flooding, have fueled migration from Guatemala.

To facilitate comparisons among these 10 countries,
the data is color-coded:   
High performing   
Middle performing   
Low performing

Governance

President’s approval rating 28%
Capacity to Combat Corruption Index ranking (out of 15 Latin American countries) 13
Share of adults who support democracy* 52%
Military expenditure as % GDP 0.4%

Economy

Performance:   
High   
Middle   
Low
Projected GDP growth 2022 4.1%
Projected inflation 2022 4%
Total trade as % of GDP 42%
Unemployment 4%
Share of labor force in informal economy 79%
Share of population living in extreme poverty N/A

Society

Performance:   
High   
Middle   
Low
Population (millions) 18.3
Homicide rate (per 100,000 people) 16.6
Annual carbon dioxide emissions (millions of tons) 18.9
Share of public social spending on education 35.3%
Global press freedom ranking (out of 180 countries) 116

Argentina | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Mexico | Peru | Venezuela

*NOTE: Support for democracy reflects percentage who agree that democracy is preferable to any other form of government.

Sources: Approval rating: CID Gallup (February); support for democracy: Latin American Public Opinion Project (2021); Capacity to Combat Corruption Index (2022); military expenditure: Stockholm International Peace Institute (2021); GDP, inflation: FocusEconomics (March); unemployment: Trading Economics (March); total trade: World Bank (2020); informal labor force: International Labor Organization (2019); population, education spending: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (2020); Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index (2021); homicide rate: InSight Crime (2021); CO2 emissions: Global Carbon Project (2020)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sweigart is an editor at Americas Quarterly and a policy manager at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

Tags: Alejandro Giammattei, Guatemala
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