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Guatemala has been described as “The Land of Eternal Spring.” This name comes from the tapestry-like countryside, the year-round and spring-like moderate climate, and the vibrant colours of Mayan weaving. Guatemala is unique in Central America in that more than half its population is of Mayan Indian origin. Today it is a combination of ancient Mayan heritage, Spanish colonialism and Western influences.

In general, Guatemalans like to pursue smooth interpersonal relationships and to avoid conflict and confrontation. Overall they value indirectness, respect, and formality in interactions. If faced with direct confrontation many Guatemalans are likely to be extremely offended. In part, this desire to avoid confrontation may stem from the army’s reign of terror in Guatemala, when it was better to answer questions vaguely and according to whoever was doing the asking.

In 1996, with the support of the United Nations, the Guatemalan government signed peace accords with the leftist insurgents and the URNG, thus ending the 36 year civil war. Having emerged from its long and brutal past, Guatemala is concerned with creating a secure society, replacing paramilitary violence and authoritarian rule once and for all with a peaceful and socially participative government.

Culture Smart! Guatemala is a concise guide to understanding the Guatemalan people, with illuminating insights into their national identity. Familiarise yourself with their customs, traditions and culture and experience Guatemala authentically.


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