Guatemala and Spanish Cultures

Topics: Mexico, Spanish language, Central America Pages: 4 (1223 words) Published: May 9, 2002
Guatemala has more people than any other Central American country, with an estimated population of 11,980,000 it is home to many different cultures. The population can be divided into two groups; Indians and people of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry. But in Guatemala, being called an Indian or a non-Indian does not depend entirely on a person's ancestry. It is basically a matter of how people live and of how they categorize themselves. For example, a Guatemalan is considered an Indian if he or she speaks an Indian language, wears Indian clothing, and lives in a community where the people follow the Indian ways of life. The Indians think of themselves more as part of their community than of their country. They pay little attention to affairs outside the community. Indians make up about 45 percent of the population of Guatemala. Most of them are extremely poor and uneducated. Spanish is the official languages spoken in Guatemala, but there are 20 other Indian languages that are spoken as well. Guatemala's fifth constitution was adopted in 1956. The army seized the government again in 1963, and a sixth constitution went into effect in 1966. Elections were held that year, and civilian government was restored under President Julio Cesar Mendez Montenegro. But the country remained troubled. Secret political extremist groups both rightist and leftist made terror raids. Guatemalan political leaders, the U.S. ambassador, and others were killed during the raids.

The movie "El Norte" tells the story of how two siblings (Enrique and Rosita) lose all of their family to military raids in Mexico. When seems to be next to impossible to survive in Mexico, the two decide to flee to the North (America) which they feel ca be there stepping stone to opportunities and freedom. After a difficult journey the finally arrive in America. As illegal immigrants they had to find immediate work and the had to learn to adjust to American cultures, for instance Rosita did not know how to...

Cited: Connor, Walker., Heath Shirley B., and Paz Octavio. Who Are the Mexican-Americans?: A note on Comparability. Washington D.C.: The Urban Press, 1985
"Guatemala" Encyclopedia Britanica. Vol 5. 1996, 536-37
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