Guatemala came to standstill on March 16, 2020 and with a single declaration of state of calamity and lockdown a large number of the population lost their way to earn an income. Only essential jobs were allowed to continue.
The government of Guatemala started providing economic assistance at the end of May and first week of June in the form of Q1000.00 or about US130 per month under the program Bono Familia [Family Bonus]. That’s about a third of the monthly minimum wage salary and in Guatemala, most families need at least two minimum wage salaries to make ends meet.
So, assuming most employed workers still received a salary in March, that means two full months without a salary. Of course, most people in Guatemala work in the informal economy [some claim as high as 70% or the work force], meaning they are not employed and only earn daily income based on whatever work they manage to do or sell for the day. Since, most non-essential work was forbidden under the lockdown measure, that means most of the work force lost their ability to earn an income the week of March 16, 2020.
Understandably, by April some people to turn to the streets to wave a white flag, which stands for I need help to feed my family; anything you can provide will help my family. As time passes by under the lockdown, more white flags are seen on the streets and roads of Guatemala; the Municipality of Antigua Guatemala is no exception.
© 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.