Thursday, September 09, 2010

Guatemala must change its tax regime to stop children dying

From Hannah Richards at Christian Aid, in the Guardian Comment is Free section:

"Even though it is classified by the World Bank as a middle income country, the level of inequality in Guatemala is such that almost half its children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. This is the fifth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world, higher even than that in Haiti, which is by far the poorest country in the Americas.
. . .
This state of affairs is no accident. It is a direct result of the extremely regressive tax regime in Guatemala and many other Latin American countries. The poorest pay a far higher proportion of their income on the equivalent of VAT and other indirect taxes, whilst the business elite enjoy a very generous regime of tax incentives. As a result, one in 20 Guatemalan children does not reach the age of five due to infectious and diarrheal diseases that are easily preventable and treatable. Two-thirds of the country's children do not complete primary school on time and illiteracy levels are closer to the average for sub-Saharan Africa than to that for Latin America."

Read on. And for more details on tax justice in Latin America, see our September 2009 edition of Tax Justice Focus.

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