Classified as a lower-middle-income country by the World Bank, Guatemala has enjoyed relatively stable economic growth over the past decade. But Guatemala’s economic gains have yet to translate into significant poverty reduction in much of the country. Guatemala’s poverty and inequality levels remain among the highest in the region. According to official estimates, the national poverty rate actually rose from 51 percent in 2006 to 54 percent in 2011.
In addition, over a quarter-century into civilian rule, Guatemala’s democratic institutions continue to be characterized by poor governance and weak political accountability. Most recently, the May 2013 reversal of former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt’s conviction on genocide charges further eroded confidence among many quarters in the country’s justice system. In Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, Guatemala ranked 113 among 176 countries.