Posted on June 28, 2018
Guatemala has been in the international headlines recently due to the tragic eruption of Vulcan de Fuego, which killed hundreds and displaced thousands more. But before that disaster, Guatemala was already facing serious problems threatening its citizens, tourists, and children. With poverty and disorganization in government being among the top problems in Guatemala today, the issues that plague Guatemala affect the majority of its population. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the biggest challenges facing Guatemala today along with some ways that you can help.
Vulcan de Fuego Eruption In 2018
There are more than 30 volcanoes located in Guatemala. These volcanoes have long been among the country’s most popular attractions. But on June 3 of this year, the Vulcan de Fuego erupted, killing hundreds and leaving thousands without a home. This disaster has already made much of the land uninhabitable near Guatemala City and may take many years to recover from. Read more about this tragic event in our blog post covering the eruption.
Alarming Poverty Rate In Guatemala
Although Guatemala is one of the richest countries in Central America, it has one of the highest poverty rates as well. About 70 percent of its population lives in poverty, and the rate is as high as 91 percent among rural and indigenous people. The effects of widespread poverty are devastating to the growth of Guatemala and include low literacy rates, lack of birth control, and the inability to receive quality medical care.
Ineffective Tax System – The Root Of Many Problems
The government of Guatemala could potentially solve many of the problems that face its citizens, but collecting and distributing taxes is a major challenge. Without an accurate means to collect taxes, the government of Guatemala is left relatively helpless to develop programs that may cure the poverty epidemic of its citizens.
High Crime Rate In Guatemala
Crime is one of the top problems in Guatemala today. It can’t be ignored that Guatemala has one of the highest rates of violent crime in Central America. According to the OSAC Crime and Safety Report, the four main reasons for Guatemala’s surprisingly high murder rate are as follows:
- Narco-trafficking Activity
- Gang-related Violence
- Heavily-armed Population (Over 60% are armed)
- Inept Justice System
If you’re traveling to Guatemala for any reason, it’s important to stay with your group, stick to a travel plan, and avoid certain areas at night or altogether. Due to factors like national poverty and lack of strict accountability, the vast majority of crimes in Guatemala go unsolved. The effect of this is continued fighting and a strong sense of injustice among the population.
Orphans, Education & Malnutrition
As the nation faces high poverty rates and recovers from trying times of civil war and crime, the children are often left to pay the price. There are over 370,000 orphans in Guatemala. Child malnutrition is also a major concern, as many poverty-stricken families simply do not have enough to provide for their children. Traveling to and from schools is an issue as well, and many children are left without a proper education. About 2 million children in the country never attend any level of formal school, and those who do attend receive only about 4 years of schooling on average.
Learn more about these three major issues in our blog posts:
- Why Are There So Many Orphans In Guatemala?
- Child Malnutrition In Guatemala
- Guatemala Education Facts That May Surprise You
Help The Orphaned Children Of Guatemala
There’s no doubt about it: Guatemala is a country in need of major assistance. At Hogar Heroes, we focus our efforts on helping the orphaned children of Guatemala. But we can’t do it alone. We need your assistance. Please consider making a donation or volunteering with us. Any contribution you can make will go a long way to help these children in need. Thank you!