Crime is rampant in Guatemala. Vehicle robberies are so common that we couldn’t even get theft insurance. Murders and assaults are also through the roof. While Guatemala is a wonderful place to visit, we must never forget to pay attention to our security. One of our friends lost a car a few years ago in broad daylight outside a coffee shop that had an armed guard.
I went to a mechanic today to install a shutoff switch for the car. Many people in Guatemala do this to make their cars more theft resistant. In my case I tapped into the line running to the fuel pump. When the switch is off, the fuel pump is disabled, which means the motor will turn over but not catch. The switch is hidden in the cab.
I told the mechanic about some of the work we were doing with GlobalGiving. His reaction was interesting.
“There is a lot of poverty in Guatemala,” he said, “but Guatemala is not a poor country. We have tremendous natural resources. Our problem is bad government. If we do not improve our government then there is nothing we can do to permanently solve our problems.”
It is an interesting point. We have seen time and time again how countries that liberalize their economies and establish a good legal system prosper. South Korea, for example, lifted itself out of poverty in a generation. Is there any reason why Guatemala could not do the same?