IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd August, 2023 Geography


Ongoing elections in Ecuador and Guatemala.

About Ecuador

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  • Location: Situated in South America, bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Ecuador is known for its incredible geographic diversity, including the Andes Mountains, Amazon rainforest, and Pacific coastline.
  • Galápagos Islands: Part of Ecuador, these islands are renowned for their unique wildlife and Charles Darwin's research on evolution.


  • Indigenous Heritage: Ecuador has a rich indigenous heritage, with various ethnic groups like the Quechua and Shuar playing a significant role in the country's cultural identity.
  • Languages: Spanish is the official language, but indigenous languages are also spoken. Bilingual education programs promote language preservation.
  • Festivals: Ecuador celebrates numerous festivals throughout the year, often blending indigenous traditions with Catholic influences. Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun, is one such example.


  • Megadiverse Country: Despite its small size, Ecuador is considered one of the world's most biodiverse countries, with a high number of species per unit area.
  • Unique Species: The Galápagos Islands are home to many endemic species, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and various bird species like the blue-footed booby.
  • Conservation Efforts: Ecuador places emphasis on environmental protection, with a significant portion of its land designated as national parks, reserves, and protected areas.


  • Dollarization: Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency in 2000 to stabilize the economy and attract foreign investment.
  • Oil Dependency: Oil exports are a major source of revenue for Ecuador's economy, making it susceptible to fluctuations in global oil prices.
  • Agriculture: Agriculture also plays a significant role, with products like bananas, flowers, shrimp, and cocoa being important exports.


  • Cultural Attractions: Quito, the capital city, boasts a well-preserved historic center and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cuenca is another city known for its colonial architecture.
  • Natural Wonders: The Andes Mountains offer opportunities for hiking, and the Amazon rainforest provides ecotourism experiences. The Galápagos Islands are a top destination for wildlife enthusiasts.


  • Socioeconomic Inequality: Despite economic growth, Ecuador faces challenges related to income disparity and access to basic services, particularly affecting indigenous and rural communities.
  • Environmental Concerns: Deforestation, pollution, and mining impact Ecuador's ecosystems, leading to conservation and sustainability concerns.
  • Political Stability: The country has experienced political instability in the past due to issues like corruption, economic struggles, and governance disputes.

About Guatemala

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  • Location: Situated in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize to the northeast, Honduras to the east, and El Salvador to the southeast.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Guatemala features a diverse range of landscapes, including volcanic mountains, dense rainforests, highlands, and a Pacific coastline.


  • Indigenous Heritage: Guatemala has a significant indigenous population, with many Maya communities preserving their traditional languages, customs, and practices.
  • Languages: Spanish is the official language, but over 20 indigenous languages are spoken across the country.
  • Maya Ruins: Guatemala is home to ancient Maya ruins and archaeological sites, such as Tikal, which offer insights into the region's rich history.


  • Rich Flora and Fauna: The country boasts a high level of biodiversity, with various ecosystems supporting a range of plant and animal species.
  • Rainforests and Reserves: Rainforests like the Petén rainforest and protected areas like the Maya Biosphere Reserve contribute to conservation efforts.


  • Agriculture: Agriculture is a key sector, with crops like coffee, bananas, sugarcane, and vegetables being major exports.
  • Textiles: Guatemala is renowned for its vibrant traditional textiles, handwoven by indigenous artisans using ancient techniques.
  • Tourism: Tourism contributes to the economy, with attractions like ancient ruins, colonial cities, and natural wonders drawing visitors.

Mayan Heritage

  • Ancient Ruins: Guatemala houses several Maya archaeological sites, including Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest ancient Maya cities.
  • Cultural Traditions: Many Maya customs, ceremonies, and art forms are still practiced today, showcasing the enduring influence of this ancient civilization.


  • Poverty: Guatemala faces high levels of poverty, particularly in rural indigenous communities, leading to social and economic disparities.
  • Political Turmoil: The country has a history of political instability, civil conflict, and human rights abuses.
  • Crime and Violence: Guatemala struggles with crime rates, including gang-related violence, which can affect safety and security.

Natural Beauty

  • Volcanic Landscape: The country is known for its chain of volcanoes, some of which can be hiked by adventurous travelers.
  • Lake Atitlán: A picturesque lake surrounded by volcanoes and indigenous villages, often considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.


Q)  Consider the following statements about Thailand:

  1. Both Ecuador and Guatemala share a border with Mexico
  2. Both Ecuador and Guatemala have a primarily Portuguese-speaking population and were colonized by Spain in the 18th century.

Select the correct statements using the code below:

(a)    1 only

(b)    2 only

(c)     Both 1 and 2

(d)    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: D