This link in MR (Between Parenthesis, reading list) takes us to an article on Latin American fiction writers.
Being myself from Guatemala it calls my attention the description of three Guatemalan writers:
Miguel Ángel Asturias, Augusto Monterroso, and now Rodrigo Rey Rosa, three giant writers from a small, unhappy country.
Is Guatemala really an unhappy country? Bad news are in the media, no question about it, but are we really an unhappy country?
According to this ranking on subjective well being (1995-2007), Guatemala is among the top 20 (out of a sample of 97), below the US, and above Mexico.
According to the "Happy Planet Index" (2009), Guatemala is number 4 out of 147.
Once you have lived in Guatemala for some years you know that people make jokes even out of the most tragic events. International news are misleading. Generalizations and claims about happiness of countries without looking at some data is indeed unfortunate.