Guatemalans More Concerned about Violence Than Poverty

By Dialogo
January 11, 2011

Guatemalans are more alarmed by the unstoppable wave of violence that is leaving around eighteen people dead every day than by the economic situation that has half the population mired in poverty, according to a survey published on 7 January by the local press.

Sixty-two percent of the 1,008 Guatemalans interviewed by the Costa Rican firm Borge y Asociados, at the request of the daily El Periódico, affirmed that the chief problem is insecurity, compared to 11.2% who chose the economic situation.

In addition, the survey, which was taken between 5 and 10 December and has a confidence level of 95%, reveals that 9.4% considered unemployment their chief obstacle, 4.4% said corruption, and 1.3% said education.

It also indicates that President Álvaro Colom, who is entering his final year in office, is viewed unfavorably by 49.3% and favorably by 42%, while the remainder had no opinion or did not respond to the question.

Guatemala has one of Latin America’s highest rates of violence with an average of nearly 45 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, nearly six times higher than the world average, but significantly lower than the figures for Honduras (more than 70 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) and El Salvador (over 65).