Politics and Economy

Guatemala is made up of 22 departments divided into municipios, or townships. The president and vice-president are directly elected for a single five-year term, and the president is responsible for appointing departmental governors. Leaders of military revolts are prohibited from holding office. A new constitution came into effect in 1986 that divides the government into legislative, judicial, and executive branches. The single legislative house, the National Congress, is made up of 116 members. The ultimate judicial authority is the Supreme Court.

Guatemala National Anthem

Guatemala Feliz!
¡Guatemala feliz! que tus aras
No profane jamás el verdugo;
Ni haya esclavos que laman el yugo
Ni tiranos que escupan tu faz.
Si mañana tu suelo sagrado
Lo amenaza invasión extranjera,
Libre al viento tu hermosa bandera
A vencer o a morir llamará.

Libre al viento tu hermosa bandera
A vencer o a morir llamará;
Que tu pueblo con ánima fiera
Antes meurto q'esclavo será.

English Translation

Guatemala, Be Praised!
Fortunate Guatemala ! May your altars
Never be profaned by cruel men.
May there never be slaves who submit to their yoke, If tomorrow your sacred soil
Should be threatened by foreign invasion,
Your fair flag, flying freely in the wind,
Will call to you: Conquer or die.
Your fair flag, flying freely in the wind,
Will call to you: Conquer or die.
For your people, with heart and soul,
Would prefer death to slavery.

Coffee Plant
The Antigua area produces some of Guatemala's finest coffee. Coffee trees are small and delicate, and are shaded by taller trees. They're planted on almost all available flat land around Antigua and in many places within the town. The small white flowers bloom at the beginning of the rainy season, after which the green berry (called the cereza, or cherry, in Spanish) develops and ripens to a deep red. The bean is inside, under the skin of the berry and an inner skin. The harvest takes place at the close of the rainy season

From Guatemala Guideby Paul Glassman

Un Quetzal
Guatemala's Currency is the quetzal, named after the national bird. The quetzal is divided into 100 centavos. Guatemalan paper currency comes in 50-centavo, one-quetzal larger-denomination notes. All banknotes bear an illustration of the quetzal, as well as both Arabic and Mayan numerals. The 25-centavo coin has a portrait of a woman of Santiago Atitlan; the ten-centavo coin a stela from Quirigua; the five-centavo coin the ceiba, the national tree; and one-centavo coin a portrait of Friar Bartolome de las Casas, protector of Indians in colonial times.

To return to Our Trip, click here: