Embattled Guatemalan President Touts Economic Gains

January 20, 2006

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) – Amid calls for his resignation, beleaguered President Oscar Berger on Saturday delivered his second state-of-the-nation address to Congress, touting the nation’s economic performance while acknowledging his administration’s shortcomings in battling the nation’s severe crime problems.

 

Berger said in his speech that his government has brought efficiency and transparency back to the Executive Branch and made significant strides in terms of promoting economic growth, democratic governability and bolstering security.

 

The President said that, despite the damage caused by tropical storm Stan and high oil prices last year, Guatemala still managed to achieve a modest economic growth rate in 2005.

 

The nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.2% last year, up from 2.7% in 2004, while inflation came in at 8.57% in 2005, down from 9.23% the previous year.

 

Despite modest growth indicators, poverty remains a “critical” problem, Berger admitted; more than 60% of Guatemala’s 12 million citizens live in poverty.

 

“We have to be clear: To solve Guatemala’s problems, there’s no ‘Superman’ who will come and solve them from one day to the next, there isn’t; but the groundwork can be laid for sustainable development and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

 

Soaring crime continues to be one of the major problems in Guatemala. During 2005, according to official figures, some 5,500 people were killed in Guatemala, which has only 22,000 police officers.

 

According to a survey published Saturday, some 75% of Guatemalans give a low job approval rating to President Berger.

 

The poll, prepared by private research company Vox Latina with a sample of 1,260 Guatemalans, and published in the local daily Prensa Libre, also showed that 77.9% of interviewees do not believe that Berger is fulfilling his campaign promises. A growing group is asking for his resignation.

 

According to the study, 82.5% think that Guatemala is headed down the wrong road.

 

You may be interested

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos
Events
197 views
Events
197 views

Bright Lights Boat Parade inaugurates holiday season in Quepos

Elizabeth Lang - December 11, 2017

The Bright Lights Boat Parade marked the official kickoff of the holiday season in the Central Pacific town of Quepos…

Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El Salvador
Weather
2536 views
Weather
2536 views

Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El Salvador

AFP - December 10, 2017

Three people have died in Costa Rica, includiing two Swiss tourists, and one in El Salvador as a result of…

6 camouflaged Costa Rican creatures you probably haven’t seen
Environment and Wildlife
2620 views
Environment and Wildlife
2620 views

6 camouflaged Costa Rican creatures you probably haven’t seen

Lindsay Fendt - December 9, 2017

The jungle can be a scary place, and even for some of the fiercest of Costa Rica’s creatures, sometimes the…