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Non-Political Reactions to Bush's Visit to Guatemala

riot police

Photo of protesters and police officers by R. Scott Lamorte (More here).

Touring this week through Guatemala's blogosphere, it was interesting to read the reactions to President Bush's recent visit, which differed from the usual pronouncements against U.S. policy. Some Bloggers discussed the Hollywoodesque display of security agents, how protests interrupted their activities, and how the non grata visit to a sacred place was fixed with a “limpia” (purification) by indigenous groups.

CARPE DIEM said that to go inside his own house he had to identify himself. He also described his street during Bush's visit:

Mi calle está sitiada. Hay una malla de metal en un extremo y un obstáculo de concreto en otro. Hay Policías Nacionales, Policías Municipales, SAAS, Antimotines, soldados chapines y gringos, perros, bomberos, periodistas, curiosos y quién sabe qué más.

My street is surrounded. There is a metal fencing at one end and a concrete obstacle at the other. There are National Police, Municipal Police, SAAS, Anti-riot officers, Guate and Gringo soldiers, dogs, firemen, journalists, curious observers, and who knows what else.

In her post titled “Men in shorts”, journalist and economist Marta Yolanda Díaz argues that she was confused when, in the place of Sunday joggers and families, she saw a couple of fellows pretending to be Guatemalans, when it was obvious that they were members of the US secret service of US:

A pesar del coraje que me inspira la violación flagrante a nuestro derecho a la libre locomoción que impunemente cometen los gobernantes con tal de facilitar la visita de George W. Bush, no pude evitar sonreírme, sin necesidad de ningún químico estimulante, al pensar en la ingenuidad de los duchos miembros del servicio secreto estadounidense, quienes creían pasar desapercibidos en un país donde el individuo promedio no es, precisamente, un hombre blanco, musculoso, de estatura arriba del 1.80 metros y rubio. No obstante, ellos se sentían un paisano cualquiera. Qué risa.

In spite of the anger inspired in me by the flagrant violation to our right move freely that with impunity the politicians commit to facilitate the visit of George W. Bush, I couldn't help but laughing (with no need of stimulants), when thinking about the naivete of the skillful members of the American service secret, who thought they could move around unnoticed in a country where the average individual is not a white man, muscular, six feet tall, and blonde. Yet, they thought they were just like any other Guatemalan. What a laugh.

In the blog of professor, poet and journalist Ana, she is waiting until Bush is gone, and she is angry because half of her university students did not attend her lecture:

Más de la mitad de mis alumnos faltaron hoy a clase porque la libre locomoción se ha acabado en esta ciudad hasta entrada la noche, cuando el kaiser, digo el presidente Bush se haya ido a México.

More than half of my students missed class today because free movement has been suspended in this city until night comes when the Kaiser, I mean, president Bush has left for Mexico.

I was walking out my favorite bookshop in the city, at the same time with two blond American girls. They bought books in Spanish, and were learning how to say Gracias! I can’t help thinking that all is relative, and that everything can help us in ways that we cannot measure, even an uncomfortable and useless visit by Bush. Perhaps those girls will some day become American politicians.

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