Articles  |   August 2013
Land of Trees – A Visit to Guatemala
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Articles   |   August 2013
Land of Trees – A Visit to Guatemala
ASA Monitor 08 2013, Vol.77, 46-79.
ASA Monitor 08 2013, Vol.77, 46-79.
Anesthesiology residents at Albany Medical Center continue to show great interest in traveling to underserved countries to participate in providing medical care to the patients there. The most recent of these trips was to San Raymundo, Guatemala, in February 2013. Previous medical missions included trips to Haiti in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake and Ecuador in October 2010.
Guatemala: The northernmost of the Central American nations is located just below Mexico and north of Belize and El Salvador. The country consists of three main regions – the cool highlands with the heaviest population, the tropical area along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and the tropical jungle in the northern lowlands (known as the Petén). The land has 34 volcanoes; four of them are active. Once the site of the impressive ancient Mayan civilization, Guatemala was conquered by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524. Guatemala became independent from Spain in 1821. After independence it was ruled by a series of dictators. From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala underwent a civil war fought between the government and leftist rebels. Following the war, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections. In the most recent election, held in 2011, Otto Pérez Molina of the Patriotic Party won the presidency. Guatemala is now a constitutional democratic republic whereby the president of Guatemala is both head of state and head of government, and of a multiparty system. The main language of Guatemala is Spanish and its people are primarily Christians (Both Catholics and Protestants). The name “Land of Trees” was coined by Spanish soldiers who had invaded Guatemala and had to travel and wage wars through its forests.
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