Waiting for government aid
The Guatemalan government has borrowed billions of dollars from the International Monetary Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and The World Bank to fund various natural disaster relief programs and other programs. These programs aim to support the Guatemalan populations who are struggling financially and health wise due to restrictions on mobility and commerce in response to the global pandemic. The government has designated around Q11 billion (quetzales) to fund three programs: The Employment Protection Fund, The Capital Credit Fund, and The Family Bonus. Some features of this program include providing some families with Q1,000 a month, easing some credit payment charges, making loans more readily available, providing funding for pension plans, and protecting employment of certain employees. However, these programs have not been executed with transparency and many people have not seen the benefits. The programs also leave certain vulnerable populations completely out of the picture. Families can access one of the programs, for instance, by showing a low level of electricity usage on their bill, leaving families without electricity without access. Rural communities continue to wait for agricultural products promised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food.
Communities organize locally
In the absence of government aid, many Guatemalans are taking up the torch and supporting their neighbors without help from the federal government. Doctors are buying much of their own equipment, churches and community members are gathering and distributing food supplies, non-profit and private organizations are donating much-needed financial and material support to help in efforts. Sister Parish Inc.’s community leaders are also doing their role in providing food baskets with basic grains and other food to help families through these tough times. So far, Tierra Nueva 2, Tierra Nueva 1, Chontala, San Andrés Itzapa and Chichipate have organized efforts to help their neighbors.