Not-so-welcome reception of Americans in Guatemala

Americans are not always well-received in other nations, and Guatemala is no exception.

While I’ve heard many locals are friendly enough, the majority believe that Americans traveling to their country are all loaded.

Some Guatemalans take this to the extreme, such as in this recent news story where an American was hacked to death. I’m a little worried for my safety in the upcoming trip…

But I think Guatemalans have some good reasons to feel animosity toward Americans (though I don’t believe anyone ever deserves to die by machete).

Let’s have a quick history lesson.

So the (American) United Food Company started a business using cheap Guatemalan labor to harvest melons and bananas, etc. They overtake much of the land. Then, this president named Arbenz wants the land back for the Guatemalans.

And the Americans are (surprise!) not pleased. So the CIA launches this secret mission approved by President Truman to launch a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Arbenz in their so-called Banana Republic.

And a long and bloody civil war starts in the nation, which wasn’t so much a result as a major side effect of the turbulence.

To make matters worse, Chiquita Banana is what the United Food Company now calls itself. I heard on the phone from a girl who’d been to Zacapa that some people think they are involved with the prevalent drug trade.

While the groups I’ll be working with in Zacapa are there to help, my crash course in history during my FlyIns class yesterday made me feel like I might not be welcomed with open arms.

UPDATE: (Two hours later) I just realized what day it is. Strange day for this post…

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Filed under Guatemalan Political Issue

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