Who drew the line?

In the few years I’ve been in the United States, I have seen many wonderful places and experienced a great life. I have learned why this country is so great — the people, the cities, the culture, the forests and lakes, the oceans and rivers, the technology…. While there are clear imperfections — political, social or otherwise — there are many great things that make up for them.

As I take a closer look at Canada, I see similar traits: great people, astonishing cities, natural wonders. It makes no sense to question why Canada or the United States have so many immigrants. Similarly, other world super powers like the UK, European countries and Japan also have a similar way of life. Their people have varied but high standards of living compared to the rest of the world.

When I look at Guatemala, however, I do not see those high standards of living. I cannot see progress or prosperity in the country’s near future. There is a lack of cooperation and social equity. There are high rates of crime, especially white-collar and hate crime. Yet Guatemala also has some of the world’s most wonderful natural places: Lake Atitlan, El Peten, Alta Verapaz. It also has many tourist attractions such as hot springs, deep forests, oceans, islands, lakes, rivers, culturally rich cities and diverse communities. All these attractions are key signatures of other countries — hot springs in Japan and Switzerland, mountains in South America and India, jungles and savannahs in Africa, culture in Spain and France — yet in Guatemala, they are sometimes forgotten and undeveloped.

In the U.S., a house by a lake or up in a mountain with a great view of a valley can cost millions. In Guatemala, such places are often seen as rural areas where only lower-class citizens should live. Big countries pride themselves in big cities. Guatemalans only have a few big cities and most are infested with crime. Egypt has marvelous pyramids that no one knows with certainty when or who built them; and yet, they receive worldwide credit. Guatemala has a small archaeological site called Tak’alik A’baj’ that is known to be the birth place of the Mayan calendar — the most accurate calendar ever designed — and yet the site receives less funding than even smaller archaeological sites in the country. The list about things Guatemala and super powers have in common is quite extensive, but somehow these things are meaningless in Guatemala but considered world treasures elsewhere.

World MapSo I cannot help but wonder — how did all these countries get where they are today? How come Guatemala never got there? What is so different in their cultures, politics and societies that allowed many countries to become super powers, and places like Guatemala to become third-world countries? How did this ever occur, and who drew the line separating the great from the challenged?

I sincerely hope with all my heart that countries like Guatemala can some day realize how far behind they are and work hard to improve the lives of all their citizens. After all, if countries that had no hope after fighting world wars did it — why can’t these smaller countries do it too?

About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.