University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Mary Malone, UNH Department of Political Science
The Effects of Democracy on the Indigenous in Guatemala
This study is going to examine the economic, political and social effects of democracy on the indigenous population of Guatemala. Previous studies have shown that the indigenous are currently in the same position that they were decades ago since "the Guatemalan government, hobbled by the worst corruption in the region and great inefficiency, has done little to implement the accord" (Hakim 2003, 119). The implementation of the peace accord signed in 1996 is crucial because it pledged to improve the status of the indigenous. This topic is important because a better understanding of the effects of democracy on the indigenous can empower the nation to improve the quality of life for this group. This research will show what democracy has accomplished, or has not accomplished, for the indigenous population in Guatemala thereby enabling decision makers to consider the result of this research to formulate better policy.
In this study, indigenous rights are going to be measured in terms of indigenous people's political participation, and their economic and social status since 1996 (when the peace accords were signed) up to the present. To measure the political effect of democracy on the indigenous population, I will rely on indicators such as the number of indigenous political parties, participation in elections, advocates for indigenous rights, indigenous support groups, and representation of the indigenous in courts, congress and in municipalities. To measure economic status, indicators such as household per capita, wage average, land ownership, occupation, unemployment of the indigenous population will be investigated. To measure if there have been any changes on the indigenous social status I will examine health care and education access, as well as surveys concerning the attitude of ladinos versus indigenous. The respected LAPOP is going to be used to examine public attitudes towards the indigenous.