Government and political information

Guatemala is a democratic republic, the president is elected for a 4 year term. Several political parties exists and usually do not last more than three to four,  4 year periods, declining rapidly when they reach presidency. People are not very selective when choosing the president and usually elect one with many dark stories (not even secret). One of them was even a confessed, but never convicted murdered. Many frauds and military assaults of power have occurred in the past. Our current Constitution is very new, from May 1985 and amended on November 1993, it is very long, covers a lot of areas and is open to many interpretations.

List of presidents since last constitution (last names on bold):

  1. Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo (1985-1990)
  2. Jorge Serrano Elías (1991-1993)  / Living on exile in Panama for trying to taken full power by himself.
  3. Ramiro de Leon Carpio (1993-1996)
  4. Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen (1996-2000) Current major of Guatemala City
  5. Alfonso Portillo Cabrera (2000-2004) Currently in jail and it has been required for extraditation by the U.S. government.
  6. Oscar Berger Perdomo (2004-2008)
  7. Alvaro Colom Caballeros (2008-what seems like forever, but should finish by January 2012)

The current president (2010) is Alvaro Colom Caballeros, although his wife is said to take most of the important decisions, and will be next’s term presidential candidate for his party, and other government allied parties (God save us!).

The current vice-president is Dr. Rafael Espada, a former cardiothoracic surgeon in Houston.

The country have three supposed independent powers:

The Executive Power, that is composed by the president and it’s ministers:

  • Foreign Relations
  • Goverment (interior affairs)
  • Defense
  • Public Finance
  • Education
  • Public Health and Social Assistance
  • Work and Social Prevision
  • Economy
  • Agriculture, Cattle and Food
  • Communications, Infrastructure and Housing
  • Energy and Mining
  • Culture and Sports
  • Ambient and Natural Resources

The Legislative Power, formed by a gang of 158 members of the congress called deputies (diputados). Most of it’s members only real participation is to vote in their party required initiatives, and not voting on them would possibly result in an impeachment or sanction to the deputy by the party.

The Judicial Power, that carries on a precarious and inefficient judicial system, where most of the process takes years to resolve, and most of them never are.

Disclaimer: I am sorry, I love my country, but I think I am having a bad day.