Guatemala 1996

Yearbook 1996

Guatemala. The newly elected President Alvaro Arzú took office on January 1. Arzú belongs to the National Development Party (Partido de Avanzada Nacional, PAN). One of his counter-candidates was Rigoberta Menchú, recipient of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize.

Arzú started intensive work to stop the civil war since the 1960s. On March 20, representatives of the government and the URNG guerrillas signed a ceasefire agreement. The war had then harvested about 100,000 casualties, and 40,000 people had disappeared.

On September 19, part of the peace agreement was signed. This meant that the UN monitoring group, MINUGUA, would monitor compliance with human rights conventions and agreements. The Mayan Indians’ identity and rights were protected by the agreement. The government appointed a Truth Commission with the task of investigating what violations of human rights were committed during the civil war. A land reform was also promised.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does GT stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Guatemala. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.

The final agreement was signed in Guatemala City on December 29 and marked the end of 36 years of civil war.

In the November 1995 election, Alvaro Arzú of the party PPN got 42% of the vote, while his closest rival, Alfonso Portillo Cabrera of FRG, only got about half. At the second round of elections on 7 January 1996, Arzú was elected President. This time the electoral boycott was 63%.

In December, at a series of ceremonies in Oslo, Mexico and eventually in Guatemala, the new government and URNG signed a series of agreements that ended the civil war that had cost more than 200,000 killed. The ceasefire between the two warring parties was respected, but coincided with a significant increase in crime. It was estimated that around 80% of the population lived below the poverty line.

In December 1997, Guatemala was one of the 5 Latin American countries most affected by the climatic changes that resulted from changes in the Pacific Ocean El Niño. The FAO sent food aid to this and other countries in the region.

A year after the signing of the peace agreements, the country continued to face problems related to changes in the military’s structures and the reintegration of the thousands of former partisans into civilian life.

In September 1998, Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America. Acc. the Latin American research organization CEPAL causes it $ 5.36 billion in damages. US $ and 24,000 perish – 256 of which are Guatemalans. Over 100,000 lose their homes and the deteriorating hygiene situation puts the country in a “state of emergency”.

The investigation into human rights abuses during the war in the country is triggering a wave of threats against investigators and judicial staff. After submitting a report accusing the military of responsibility for the massacres, Bishop Juan Gerardi was assassinated in 1998. The lawyer investigating the murder is fleeing to the United States, seeking asylum. As a reason, he indicates violent pressure against the investigation and several death threats. In October of that year, the government unearthed hundreds of corpses lying in an area controlled by an elite unit of the capital’s police. That same year, a United Nations report estimates that about 96% of the deaths during the war are due to military and other government forces.

During the second round of elections in the presidential election, on Sunday, December 1999, FRG candidate Alfonso Portillo received 68% of the vote, thus eliminating Oscar Berger from the ruling PAN. The turnout was just 41%.

In early 2000, Guatemala made territorial claims against just over half of neighboring Belize territory. Guatemala recognized the independence of the former British colony in 1991, but continues to claim territorial claims. Representatives of the two countries briefly negotiated in Miami in February and March 2000 with the OAS (Organization of American States) as the broker.

The drought that ravaged the country in 2001 led to starvation, which had killed 41 people around the middle of the year. President then declared the country in emergency for 30 days, asking for international help to alleviate the situation. According to UN reports, 80% of Guatemalans live in extreme poverty.

After facing life-threatening threats, two state attorneys and a judge went into voluntary exile. They were responsible for the investigation into the murder of Bishop Gerardi. Before she went into exile in Spain, Judge Yassmin Barrios managed to solve the murder and send 3 officers and a priest to prison for this.

Population 1996

According to, the population of Guatemala in 1996 was 10,408,378, ranking number 68 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.360% yearly, and the population density was 97.1304 people per km2.

Guatemala Population Distribution by Age