Guatemala. According to
Countryaah, the severe drought that occurred in Central
America during the otherwise rainy May-July harvests hit G.
particularly hard. Nearly 12,000 farmers are believed to
have lost about 80% of their crops.
In the political arena, the year was dominated by the
rallies of the Congress President, 74-year-old dictator
Efraín Ríos Montt, who was accused of ex-post manipulation
of a legislative text approved by Congress at the end of
last year. Ríos Montt, along with 23 other members of
Congress, were deprived of parliamentary immunity during the
preliminary investigation, but in late April the court
closed the case in the absence of evidence. Just over a
month later, Ríos Montt was reported for participation in
massacres of 1,200 Mayan Indians during his time as G's
dictator in 1982-83.
On May 1, a so-called convertibility law was introduced
that allows dollars as official means of payment in parallel
with the national currency quetzal. This "dollarization",
together with the government's attempt to raise VAT and
introduce new taxes or modify old ones to curb a
dramatically increasing budget deficit, led to widespread
protests, particularly in the western Totonicapán province.