Guatemala is a country located in Central America, bordering Mexico, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. Pacific Ocean is on one side and the Caribbean Sea is on the other side. The population of this country is approx 1,76,08,000 with 1,08,889 square kilometers area. The official language is Spanish. Ethnically 56% are Mestizo, and 41% Mayan. 11% have no religion, 88% are Christians; slightly more than half are Catholics, the rest are Protestants.
The Constitution clearly states, "All citizens have the right to do what the law does not prohibit; no one is bound to obey orders which is not based on law". The preservation, protection and improvement of natural heritage is declared to be in the national interest. The authority will control the quality of food products, drugs, chemicals and everything that can affect the health of citizens. Equality of salary for the same work in conditions, productivity and seniority is the main basis for making laws. The Constitution clearly mentioned which are state-owned resources.
These are positive aspects. Now let's discuss the negative aspects. 
There is a constitutional validity to retroactive enforcement of the law, which is a serious threat to human rights. The Catholic Church has its own judicial powers, parallel to Parliament. Everyone has the right to bear arms, which only the police and military should have. Every person in the world is equal, but in Guatemala the so-called "indigenous" groups have special status. A university is vested with its own judicial powers, in addition they can propose to the legislature to make any new laws or to amend existing laws.


 Constitution of Guatemala


Admirable Articles of Guatemala's Constitution

Article 4. Freedom and Equality

In Guatemala[,] all [of the] human beings are free and equal in dignity and rights. The man and the woman, whatever their civil status may be, have equal opportunities and responsibilities. No person can be subject to servitude or to another condition that diminishes his or her dignity. The human beings must exercise [guardar] brotherly behavior among them.


Article 5. [The] Freedom of Action

All persons have the right to do what the law does not prohibit; [the persons] are not obligated to obey orders that are not based in law or issued in accordance to it. Neither may they be persecuted or harassed for their opinions or for acts that do not imply an infraction of it.


Article 8. Rights of the Detained

All detained [persons] must be informed immediately of their rights in a form that will be understandable, especially [of the right] to use a defender [defensor], who may be present at all police and judicial diligences. The detained [person] cannot be obligated to testify except before a competent judicial authority.


Article 23. Inviolability of the Home

The home [vivienda] is inviolable. No one may penetrate the dwelling of someone else without the permission of the resident who inhabits it, except by the written order of a competent judge in which the reason for the diligence is specified and never before six or after eighteen hours. Such diligence will always be carried out in the presence of the interested party, or his [or her] representative [mandatario].


Article 28. Right of Petition (Part of it)

The inhabitants of the Republic of Guatemala have the right to direct, individually or collectively, petitions to the authority, who is obligated to process them and resolve them according to the law.

In administrative matters the term to resolve the petitions and to notify the resolutions may not exceed thirty days.


Article 35. Freedom of Expression of Thought (Part of it)

The expression of thought through any means of dissemination, without censorship or prior permission, is free. This constitutional right may not be restrained by [the] law or by any governmental provision. [The person] who by using the freedom should fail to respect private life or morals, will be held responsible in accordance with the law. Whoever may feel offended has the right of publication of his [or her] defense, clarifications, and rectifications.

The publications which contain denunciations, criticisms, or accusations [imputaciones] against functionaries or public employees for actions conducted in the performance of their duties[,] do not constitute a crime or a fault.

The functionaries and [the] public employees can request a tribunal of honor, composed in the form determined by the law, to declare that the publication that affects them is based on inaccurate facts or that the charges made against them are unfounded. A court ruling [fallo] that vindicates the offended, must be published in the same media of social communication where the accusation appeared.

The activity of the means of social communication is of public interest and in no case may they be expropriated. They may not be closed, attached [embargados], interfered with, confiscated, or seized [decomisados], nor may the enterprises, plants, equipment, machinery, and gear [enseres] of the means of communication be interrupted in their functioning, for faults or crimes in the expression of thought.

The access to the sources of information is free and no authority may limit this right.


Article 40. Expropriation

In specific cases, private property can be expropriated for reasons of duly proven collective utility, social benefit or public interest. The expropriation must be subject to the proceedings specified by the law, and the affected asset will be appraised by experts taking its actual value as a basis.

The indemnification must be prior and in an effective currency of legal tender, unless another form of compensation is agreed upon with the interested party.

Only in [the] cases of war, public calamity, or serious disruption of peace can a property be occupied or intervened, or be expropriated without prior compensation, but the latter must be made immediately following the end of the emergency. The law will establish the norms to be followed with enemy property.

The form of payment of the indemnifications due to the expropriation of idle [ociosas] lands will be determined by the law. In no case will the deadline [término] to make such payment effective exceed ten years.


Article 60. Cultural Heritage [Patrimonio]

The paleontological, archeological, historical, and artistic assets [bienes] and values of the country form [part of] the cultural heritage of the Nation and are under the protection of the State. Their transfer, export, or alteration, except in the cases determined by the law, is prohibited.


Article 64. Natural Heritage

The conservation, protection and improvement of the natural heritage of the Nation[,] is declared [to be] of national interest. The State will promote the creation of national parks, reservations, and natural sanctuaries [refugios], which are inalienable. A law will guarantee their protection and that of the fauna and the flora that exists within them.


Article 96. Quality Control of Products

The State will control the quality of food products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and of everything that can affect the health and the well being of the inhabitants. It will see to the establishment and programming of the primary attention to health, and for the improvement of the conditions of the basic environmental sanitation [saneamiento] of the least protected communities.


Article 102. Minimum Social Rights of Labor Legislation (Part of it)

The minimum social rights that form the basis of the labor legislation and the activity of the tribunals and [the] authorities [are]:

a. The right to the free choice [elección] of work and the satisfactory economic conditions that guarantee a dignified existence for the worker and his [or her] family;

b. That all work be equitably remunerated, except with what the law determines in that regard;

c. The equality of salary for the same rendered work in equality of conditions, productivity, and seniority;

f. The periodic establishment [fijación] of the minimum salary in accordance with the law;

g. The ordinary effective workday [jornada] can neither exceed eight hours of work per day, nor forty-four hours per week, equivalent to forty-eight hours for the exclusive purpose of the payment of the salary.

The ordinary effective workday on the night shift can neither exceed six hours per day, nor thirty-six hours per week. The mixed ordinary effective workday can neither exceed seven hours per day, nor forty-two hours per week. All work effectively performed outside [of the] ordinary working hours, constitutes an extraordinary workday and must be remunerated as such. The law will determine the very qualified situations of exception where the provisions relative to the workdays are not applicable.

Those that by provision of the law, by custom or by agreement with the employers work less than forty-four hours per week during the day, thirty-six hours during the night, or forty-two hours in mixed-schedule workdays, will have the right to receive the weekly salary in its entirety.

j. The obligation of the employer to grant[,] every year[,] a bonus [aguinaldo] of no less than one hundred percent of the monthly salary, or the one already established if greater, to those workers who may have worked for an uninterrupted year prior to the date of the payment. The law will regulate the form of payment. For those workers with less than one year of service, such bonus will be covered proportionally to the time [of duration] of [the] work;

k. The protection of the working woman and [the] regulation of the conditions under which she must render her services.

There may not be differences established between married and single women in terms of [the] work. The law will regulate the protection of the maternity rights of the working woman, who may not be required to [conduct any] work that may require an effort that puts her pregnancy in jeopardy [gravidez]. The working mother will enjoy a compulsory rest [period] [descanso forzoso] paid on the basis of one hundred percent of her salary, during the thirty days prior to giving birth and [during] the subsequent forty-five days. During the period of lactation she will have the right to two periods of extraordinary rest, during her workday. The prenatal and postnatal rest periods will be expanded according to her physical conditions, by medical prescription;

l. Minors under fourteen years of age may not be employed in any type of work, except for the exceptions established by the law. It is forbidden to employ [ocupar] minors in works that are incompatible with their physical capacity or that endanger their moral formation.

The workers older than sixty years of age will be the object of a treatment [that is] adequate to their age;

m. The protection and [the] promotion [fomento] of the work of the blind, the disabled and the persons with physical, psychic, or nervous deficiencies.

p. It is the obligation of the employer to provide to the spouse or partner, the minor children or the disabled [relatives] of a worker who may die while in service, a benefit [prestación] equivalent to the salary of one month for each year worked. This benefit will be covered by monthly payments and its amount will not be less than the final salary received by the worker.

If death should occur for a reason of which risk is entirely covered by the social security regime, this obligation of the employer will cease. In case that this method should not cover the benefit completely, the employer must pay the difference;


Article 118. Principles of the Economic and Social Regime

The economic and social regime of the Republic of Guatemala is based on the principles of social justice.

It is the obligation of the State to guide the national economy to achieve the utilizations of the natural resources and the human potential, to increase wealth and to try to achieve full employment and the equitable distribution of the national income.


Article 119. [The] Obligations of the State

The following are the fundamental obligations of the State:

a. To promote the economic development of the Nation, stimulating the initiative in agricultural, livestock, industrial, tourist, and other types of activities.

b. To promote in a systematic manner the administrative economic decentralization, to achieve an adequate regional development of the country;

c. To adopt the means that may be necessary for the conservation, development and exploitation [aprovechamiento] of the natural resources in an efficient form;

d. To see to the raising of the standard of living of all the inhabitants of the country, securing [procurando] the wellbeing of the family;

e. To promote and protect the creation and functioning of [the] cooperatives, providing them with the necessary technical and financial aid;

f. To grant incentives, in accordance to the law, to the industrial enterprises [empresas] that may be established in the interior of the Republic and who contribute to decentralization;

g. To promote with priority the construction of popular housing [projects], through financing systems which are adequate so that the greatest number of Guatemalan families may enjoy them in ownership. When concerning emerging or cooperatively-held housing, the system of possession [tenencia] may be different;

h. To prevent the functioning of excessive practices leading to the concentration of assets and means of production in detriment of the collectivity;

i. The defense of the consumers and [the] users with regards to the preservations of the quality of the domestic and export consumer products to guarantee their health, security, and legitimate economic interests;

j. To actively promote programs of rural development which tend to increase and diversify the national production based on the principle of private property and of the protection of family patrimony. The peasant [campesino] and the artisan must be provided with technical and economic assistance;

k. To protect the formation of capital, savings and investment;

l. To promote the ordered and efficient development of the domestic and foreign trade of the country, promoting markets for national products;

m. To maintain within the economic policy, a congruent relationship between the public spending and the national production; and

n. To create the conditions adequate to promote the investment of national and foreign capital.


Article 121. [The] Assets of the State

The following are assets of the State:

a. Those of public domain;

b. The waters of the maritime zone that border the shores of its territory, the lakes, the navigable rivers and their banks, the secondary rivers [ríos vertientes] and the streams that serve as the international limit of the Republic, the waterfalls and headwaters for hydroelectric exploitation, the underground waters and [the] others that are susceptible to regulation by the law and the waters not exploited by individuals to the extent and limit set by the law.

c. Those which constitute the patrimony of the State, including those of the municipality and of the decentralized or autonomous entities;

d. The terrestrial maritime zone, the continental shelf and the air space, in the extension and the form determined by the laws or the international treaties ratified by Guatemala;

e. The subsoil, the deposits of hydrocarbons and minerals, as well as any other organic or inorganic substances of the subsoil;

f. The archeological monuments and relics;

g. The fiscal and municipal revenues, as well as those of a private character which are assigned by the laws to the decentralized and autonomous entities; and

h. The radio-electric frequencies.


Article 127. Water Regime

All the waters belong to the public domain, [they are] inalienable and imprescriptible. Their exploitation, use and enjoyment are granted in the form established by the law, in accordance with the social interest. A specific law will regulate this matter. 

Facts of Guatemala's Constitution

Preamble (Part of it)



Article 15. Non-retroactivity of the Law

The law does not have retroactive effect, except in penal matters when it favors the defendant [reo].


Article 37. Juridical Personality of the Churches

The juridical personality of the Catholic Church is recognized. The other churches, cults, entities, and associations of religious character will obtain the recognition of their juridical personality in accordance with the rules of their institution[,] and the Government may not deny it[,] aside from reasons of public order.

The State will extend to the Catholic Church, without any cost, [the] titles of ownership of the real assets which it holds peacefully for its own purposes, as long as they have formed part of the patrimony of the Catholic Church in the past. The property assigned to third parties or those which the State has traditionally assigned to their services[,] may not be affected.

The real assets of the religious entities assigned [destinados] to cult, to education, and to social assistance, enjoy exemption from taxes, assessments, and contributions.


Article 38. Possession and Bearing of Arms

The right to own [tenencia] weapons for personal use, not prohibited by the law, in the place of inhabitation, is recognized. There will not be an obligation to hand them over, except in cases ordered by a competent judge.

The right to bear arms is recognized, [and is] regulated by the law.


THIRD SECTION. Indigenous Communities

Article 66. Protection of Ethnic Groups

Guatemala is formed by diverse ethnic groups among which are found the indigenous groups of Mayan descent. The State recognizes, respects, and promotes their forms of life, customs, traditions, forms of social organization, the use of the indigenous attire by men and women, [and their] languages and dialects.


Article 67. Protection of the Indigenous Agricultural Lands and Cooperatives

The lands of the cooperatives, [the] indigenous communities or any other forms of communal or collective possession of agrarian ownership, as well as the family patrimony and the people's housing, will enjoy special protection of the State, [and] of preferential credit and technical assistance, which may guarantee their possession and development, in order to assure an improved quality of life to all of the inhabitants.

The indigenous communities and others that hold lands that historically belong to them and which they have traditionally administered in special form, will maintain that system.


Article 68. Lands for Indigenous Communities

Through special programs and adequate legislation, the State will provide state lands to the indigenous communities who may need them for their development.


Article 69. Transfer [Traslación] of Workers and their Protection

The labor activities that involve the transfer of workers outside of their communities, will be the object of protection and legislation to assure adequate conditions of health, security, and social prevision that prevent the payment of wages [that are] not adjusted to the law, the disintegration of those communities and in general all of discriminatory treatment.


Article 70. Specific Law

A law will regulate the matters related to this section.


Article 82. Autonomy of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala

The University of San Carlos de Guatemala, is an autonomous institution with juridical personality. In its character of [being] the only State university[,] it exclusively corresponds to it to direct, organize, and develop the superior education and the professional university education of the State, as well as the dissemination of the culture in all [of] its manifestations. It will promote by every means within its reach the research in every area of the human knowledge and will cooperate in the study and solution of the national problems.

It is governed by its Organic Law and by the statutes and regulations that it emits, having to observe in the conformation of its directive organs, the principle of representation of its titular professors [catedráticos], its graduates and its students.


Article 83. Government of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala

The government of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala corresponds to the Superior University Council [Consejo Superior Universitario], integrated by the Rector, who presides over it; the deans of the faculties; a representative of the professional association [colegio], graduated from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala, which corresponds to each faculty; a titular professor and a student for each faculty.


Article 84. Budgetary Allocation for the University of San Carlos de Guatemala

A specific [privativa] budgetary allocation corresponds to the University of San Carlos de Guatemala [that is] no less than five percent of the General Budget of Ordinary Revenues of the State, which must generate an adequate budgetary increase sufficient to cover the growth in the student population or the improvement of the academic level.


Article 92. Autonomy of Sports

The autonomy of federated sports is recognized and guaranteed through its administrative [rectores] organs, the Autonomous Sports Confederation of Guatemala [Confederación Deportiva Autónoma de Guatemala] and the Guatemalan Olympic Committee [Comité Olímpico Guatemalteco], which have juridical personality and their own patrimony, being exempt from all types of taxes and assessments.


Article 110. Indemnification

When the workers of the State are dismissed without a reasonable cause, [they] will receive the equivalent of the salary of one month for each year of continuous service rendered. In no case will this right exceed ten months of salary.


Article 174. [The] Initiative of Law

The deputies of Congress, the Executive Organ, the Supreme Court of Justice, the University of San Carlos de Guatemala, and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal have initiative for the formation of the laws.


Article 233. Election of the Comptroller General of Accounts

The head of the Office of the Comptroller General of Accounts will be elected for a term of four years by the Congress of the Republic, by an absolute majority of the total number of deputies that comprise this Organ. He [or she] may only be removed by the Congress of the Republic in cases of negligence, crime, or lack of fitness [falta de idoneidad]. He [or she] will render a report of his [or her] management to the Congress of the Republic, whenever requested to do so and[,] of office[,] twice a year. He [or she] will enjoy [the] equal immunities as the magistrates of the Court of Appeals. In no case may the Comptroller General of Accounts be reelected.

The Congress of the Republic shall carry out the election to which this Article refers to from a nómina of six candidates proposed by a nominating commission integrated by a representative of the Rectors of the Universities of the country, who shall preside over it, the Deans of Departments that include the career of Public Accounting and Auditing of each University of the country and an equivalent number of representatives elected by the General Assembly of the Association of Economists, Public Accountants and Auditors and Business Administrators [Assemblea General del Colegio de Economistas, Contadores Públicos y Auditores y Administradores de Empresas].

The election of [the] candidates requires the vote of at least the two-thirds part of the members of the such Commission.

In the elections [votaciones], to make up the Nominating Commission as well as to make up the nómina of candidates, no representation whatsoever will be accepted.