Legal framework


It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Guatemala.



The cooperative legislation of Guatemala in its global context is represented first by the "General Law of Cooperatives", Decree No. 82-78 of the Congress of the Republic, approved by the aforementioned entity, on December 7, 1978 and published in the Official Journal of the Republic of Guatemala, "Diary of Central America", on December 29, 1978, volume CCX, number 27, a legal body whose characteristics are framed within specialized, proprietary and general application regulations for all cooperatives in the country, without exception of class or type of cooperative. There are no special laws for specific cooperatives.


Cooperative Friendliness

Tax laws do not recognize the nature of cooperatives and they are treated similarly to lucrative enterprises, even though the Political Constitution of the Republic and LGC itself determines the obligation of the State of Guatemala to protect cooperatives and promote the cooperative movement. 


Key recommendations for improvement

  • Separate the cooperative legislation, which exclusively regulates aspects concerning cooperatives, from the rules that create and regulate public bodies responsible for them
  • Identify cooperatives with legal precision as special legal persons of a private nature, of deep social interest, founded on solidarity, mutual aid and self-effort, with the purpose of carrying out socio-economic activities, to meet individual and collective needs of non-profit partners.
  • Extend the principle of adhesion to cooperatives of legal persons, those that are in line with the principles and values that inspire the cooperative movement, preferably service-inclined entities rather than for-profit.
  • Establish clear foundations on the registration of cooperatives and consequent recognition of their legal status and develop simplified and expeditious procedures on this subject.
  • Seriously promote within the policies of the State, rather than recognizing in a factual way, within the legal framework, embodying situations conducive to the true promotion and protection of the cooperative movement.



Guatemala's cooperative legislation evidences serious deficiencies and inadequacies. It is necessary to update the general regulatory framework of legal situations that generate economic and social development, in the consolidation of the National Cooperative Movement.
National legislation in the cooperative field has unfortunately been unable to achieve substantial reform, a product of the absence of necessary coordination, with consensus criteria of the prevailing cooperative sectors, coupled with the absence of the political will of the government sectors, truly committed to the cooperative movement.


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