The hunger corridor
Guatemala is a middle-income country rich in natural resources. However, the macroeconomic figures hide a reality that undermines the country’s development possibilities: social and economic inequalities are extreme and condemn much of the country’s childhood to a life limited by the effects of malnutrition. The increase in chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years of age is particularly alarming in Guatemala. In the school population, higher percentages are found in boys and girls of indigenous origin and in those who live in rural areas.
Guatemala is currently the sixth country in the world with the worst rates of child malnutrition. In some regions of rural Guatemala, where most of the population is of Mayan origin, child malnutrition rates reach 80%. A diet based almost exclusively on corn tortillas causes damage with permanent effects on boys and girls.
The structural and socioeconomic causes of poverty in Guatemala are complex and have their roots in deep problems such as the shortage of public funds for social, educational, and health purposes, the discrimination suffered by indigenous populations, or economic dependence on foreign countries. Poverty and difficulties in accessing an education are clear consequences of nutritional problems, but they are also its causes. The result is a downward spiral that increasingly limits the development possibilities of the Guatemalan population.