National Geographic : 1981 Jul
Bay of Campeche Gorda Belize Britain plans to grant full independence this year to Belize, formerly British Honduras, a jungle covered, self-governing colony of 145,000 people of mostly African or Indian descent. Guatemala has agreed to give up its long-standing claim to Belize in return for coastal access. AREA: 22,965 sq km (8,867 sq mi). POP.: 145,000. RELIGION: Roman Catholic, Protestant. LANGUAGE: English, Spanish. ECONOMY: Export crops: sugar, citrus fruits, timber. Domestic consumption seafood. PCI: $1,030. :colt UGARCAN Guatemala The Indians of Guatemala, who historically have kept apart in isolated villages, are being drawn into civil strife, some taking sides H with Marxist guerrillas against the government. Death squads, mostly from the right, have murdered thousands of people, moderates as well as extremists. Unequal distribution of wealth is at the root of the unrest: Two percent of the people control two thirds of the farmland. But a growing industrial sector and recent oil finds in northern rain forests may create new wealth and employment. AREA: 108,889 sq km (42,042 sq mi). POP.: 7,058,000. RELIGION: Roman Catholic, traditional. LANGUAGE: Spanish, Indian languages. ECONOMY: Export crops: coffee, cotton, sugar, bananas, meat. Industries: food processing, textiles, mining. Domestic consumption: corn, beans. PER CAPITA INCOME: $1,020. An isthmus in turmoil ChW El 8alvadop Government forces in Central America's smallest, most crowded nation fight a coalition of leftist guerrillas in a simmering war of terrorism. A military-civilian junta in 1980 nationalized banks and export houses and began to redistribute large estates among rural workers. But both rebels and conservative forces have tried to sabotage the land reforms with violence. In the northern highlands frequented by guerrillas, villagers have accused right-wing gangs and security forces of atrocities against Foo Die women and children. Elsewhere gunmen have killed suspected enemies of the government-among them three U. S. nuns and a lay worker last December. In an attempt to wreck the economy, guerrillas have kidnapped and murdered business men, bombed stores, and burned crops. To help offset this, the U. S. plans to offer 123 million dollars this year in nonmilitary aid. AREA: 21,041 sq km (8,124 sq mi). POP.: 4,805,000. RELIGION: Roman Catholic. LANGUAGE: Spanish, Indian languages. ECONOMY: Export crops: coffee, cotton, sugar, corn. Industries: food processing, textiles. Domestic consumption: rice, beans. PCI: $670. * Archaeological site A Volcano that has erupted since 1800 Pan American Highway System roads shown in darker red. Major product of each country shown in larger type. Hondura8 In the region's poorest country, a military regime has backed land reform and trade unions. A presidential election is planned for 1981. Long flayed Sas exploitive, two U. S. banana M companies-the country's largest landholders-now help raise living standards. The nation harbors thousands of Nicaraguan and Salvadoran refugees. AREA: 112,088 sq km (43,277 sq mi). POP.: 3,773,000. RELIGION: Roman Catholic. . . LANGUAGE: Spanish, English. ECONOMY: Export crops: coffee, bananas, timber, meat. Industries: food processing, textiles, mining. Domestic consumption: beans, rice. PCI: $530.