Monday, 18 April 2011

MALNUTRITION: Guatemala: Malnutrition, Violence, and Investment

April 14, 2011

Several recent reports do not put Guatemala in a positive light. First, the European Union published a study that found that Guatemala has the highest rate of child malnutrition in all of Latin America. Almost 50% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. The EU's Rafael Señán Llarena added that Guatemala's malnutrition rate is higher than that of Haiti and among the five worst in the world.
Second, the Mutual Support Group (GAM) voiced its preoccupation with the continued violence in the country. During the first three months of the year, there were a total of 1,240 victims of violence, including 116 women and 3 girls. 874 of the victims were killed while the remaining 366 were "only" injured.
On the positive side, this number is a decrease from the 909 deaths reported during the first three months of 2010. However, on the negative side, both February (295) and March (304) murders increased after a "calm" January (275). GAM is also worried about the increase in massacres and the number of lynchings.
These numbers include some of the 22 police officers who have died so far this year (some off duty). At least 60 officers were killed last year.
Finally, Guatemala fell eight places (86th to 94th) in the World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report's rankings. 138 countries were in the survey.
According to the report, the country is at a disadvantage in terms of the number of days to enforce a contract, the perception of the effectiveness of the laws, the preparation of ICT staff, the quality of education in mathematics and science as well as the quality of the educational system in general.
[The country] also received low scores on the issue of the importance of these technologies in the vision of the Government, intellectual property rights, the acquisition of technologies, production of computers as a percentage of imports and the number of procedures to open a joint-stock company.
One last thing - Rigoberta Menchu's Winaq Political Movement officially became the 27th political party certified by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) for this year's election. I thought that this had already occurred, but I guess not. Menchu sees Winaq's successful formation as a poltical party as an achievement for the indigenous people of Guatemala and all the Americas.

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