Thursday, February 26, 2015


Not in principle a sovereign territory, dependent state, foreign colony or any other part of American suzerainty, politics in Guatemala, as in most other countries in Central America, is determined in Washington, and not at home. 

Once upon a time, however, in the epoch of innocence and purity, Guatemala was the home of the Mayan people, a great and glorious civilisation in its own terms, which unfortunately were not the same terms as those employed by Catholics in Rome and Spain, who brought them out of their heathen state of sin by burning them at the stake, or other methods of redemption and salvation advocated by the enlightened European synods (yes, enlightened - how else do you get an auto-da-fé to burn, except by enlightening it?). Go Jesus! 

(Can someone please explain to me why picture above-right is inferior to or even different from picture below-left? And no, I don't mean the quality of the picture; I mean the what-is-depicted.)

Spain mercifully quit in 1821, after which Guatemala wavered between attempts at proto-democracy and outright dictatorship for a hundred and sixty years. Twenty-two of those (1898 to 1920) were under the despotry of Manuel Cabrera, a fact I only mention because he was secured in power by the American United Fruit Company, the same company by a different name that Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about in "One Hundred Years of Solitude". The 1950s saw Jacobo Guzman elected President on a platform of land reform, credit for the poor and literacy for all, the sort of liberal values that Americans cherish for their own people because it manifests Judeo-Christian ideology at its best, but not apparently for those in other countries, because there it manifests socialist and communist ideology at its worst. Guzman lasted three years, only because the CIA tend to be slow and stupid, and it took them that long to plan and execute the coup that overthrew him. 

Of course, it may not have been the fear of Communism; the United Fruit Company was still in business, albeit renamed Chiquita Brands International by this time, and land reform and credit and literacy were a threat to its dominance, which is to say its profits, all of which were taken back to feed the poverty-stricken citizens of the USA, rather than being wasted on the pampered, spoiled, over-indulged affluenciados of Guatemala. The man the Americans installed, Carlos Armas, turned out to be a fascist pig of the worst kind, and no one was bothered or surprised when one of his personal guards assassinated him in 1957. After that, rigged elections brought the military to power, until another military coup, and then another, this one backed by the Kennedy administration, and then right wing death squads, and left wing death squads, paramilitaries, secret armies, the presence of American Green Berets to train this side, or it might have been that side, it wasn’t always clear which side was which, or even what anyone was fighting for, but they went on fighting, for thirty-six long years, until virtually the entire country collapsed into the hole left by an earthquake in 1977, and then the same-old same-old resumed again, and as you can imagine there are few more poverty-stricken places on Earth, because how can you plant fields or cultivate trees or run businesses with all this crap going on around you all the time, and the rates of illiteracy, infant mortality and malnutrition are the worst in the region, while organised crime has been taking advantage of the anarchy for decades, and the street gangs fill in the holes that they leave. Geographically the place is very beautiful, and the ancient step-pyramids and megalithic alignments are absolutely fascinating, but do you really want to go there for a vacation?

Support my online campaign to "Bring Back The Mayans" by putting your name in the comments box below. When we reach a sufficient number, we shall take our case to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and have the Pope impeached for crimes against humanity!

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