Rule By Terror

“The shoes, the belts, were piled two meters high and wide, you could see the traces of people that were killed there. They tied me up and left me sitting in their blood.”


– Tiburcio Utuy, Ixil victim at Rios Montt’s trial.1


              Rios Montt was the reigning dictator of Guatemala during the one of the bloodiest junctures of a decades long civil War. From 1981-1983, approximately 200,000 indigenous peoples were killed2. Montt was the last living leader from the Guatemalan Civil War’s heyday, and his subordinate general was found innocent of all the similar charges presented.3 According to an analysis of the Guatemalan tribunal, his killings of helpless villagers were more intense due to a perceived sense of superiority by the State4, possibly in terms of race.

              The impetus for this investigation was manifold, but centers around the execution of a request made to the United Nations, and a three-person panel assigned to summarize their findings for prosecution. Note that the entirety of the document created by the The Commission for Historical Clarification does not mention Montt, except during the timeline of the appendix. It states the heads of state, although technically separate from the military, were aware of the atrocities being committed.

              While Lucas Garcia, Montt’s predecessor, had focused on targeted assassination within cities (and was successful), the new president was focused on stamping out resistance outside of the walls — and much more effectively. 43% of all mortality occurred within the first nine               In addition to procedural gymnastics, Montt’s defense was that of “Show me the money.” Victory 82 and Firmness 83 (released just in the mid-2000s) were genocidal in practice but were much more vague, mostly focusing on verbiage regarding quelling the rebel threat and not overtly racist in the slightest. In summary, Montt was indicted mostly on eyewitness testimony and acquitted due to a procedural error regarding inadequate representation. In 2006, procedures by the Montt defense were successful at disallowing a Spanish judge from in person testimony. This was overturned and allowed, the primary factor in his conviction.5

              Despite frequent usage, detailed accounts do not suggest scorched earth per se. Rather, they exemplify internal terrorism, with the operating definition being “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” The killings were simultaneously wanton and calculated, with what amounted to basically triaged torture, interrogation and public killing with designated bases or posts for the aforementioned.6

              The Rand Corporation offers a short apologetic on Guatemala’s oppressive tactics. Tidbits included the Guatemalan Army’s training from US Green Berets and the role the 1976 earthquake took on distracting said army from combat operations against guerillas.7 A newly-minted Jimmy Carter in Washington exponentially weakened that frailty, as he did not favor the authoritarian rule of Guatemala.8
The government’s objectives were essentially achieved by Montt’s terror spree. By the 1980s, rebels controlled almost half of Guatemala with only a maximum of 6,000 regulars, yet had the support of up to 500,000 citizens.9 After Victory 82? Effectively zero regulars. And the citizenry? They were desperate for peace and accepted the winners, despite their distaste for the state’s constant assassinations and lack of transparency. Without citation, the third act of the case study mentions the following: “COIN force [the Guatemalan state] collateral damage not perceived by population in area of conflict as worse than insurgents’”.10

              Naturally, criminal proceedings with regards to human rights violations are substantive. Despite the sturm and drang, Montt is a free man and will remain that way, and such an eventuality of justice is symoblic gesture. While powerful nations may view it as internal matter, it still very much raw for the Guatemalan populace. As an external observer it is easy to see how international financial support could offer a better chance of re-conviction. What is unclear is the benefit that would provide said powerful nation.



1  Brett, Roddy. The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide:: Political Violence in Guatemala. Springer, 2016. p. 6

2  Higonnet, Etelle. Quiet Genocide: Guatemala 1981-1983. Routledge, 2017. passim.

3  Sanford, Victoria. “Violence And Genocide In Guatemala | Genocide Studies Program”. 2017. Gsp.Yale.Edu.

4  Schmidt (ProPublica), Krista Kjellman. “Guatemala: Memory of Silence, The Commission for Historical…” Accessed November 8, 2017.

5  “Efrain Rios Montt & Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez.” Accessed November 8, 2017.

6  Brett, p. 136.

7  Paul, Christopher, Colin P. Clarke, Beth Grill, and Molly Dunigan. “Guatemala, 1960–1996: Case Outcome: COIN Win.” In Paths to Victory: Detailed Insurgency Case Studies, 134-46. RAND Corporation, 2013.

8  Ibid.

9  Ibid.

10  Ibid.

El Salvador Saliendo

              Much like the Central American nations discussed to this point, the 1980s was an eventful decade for El Salvador. The first source for this turbulence is “Aqui Estoy”, an ethnobiographical account about the civil wars in El Salvador from the perspective of a woman recruited to be a guerrilla. She was not able to fight on the front lines due to her eyesight, but was friends with well-trained women fighters. The end of the video is a recollection of being shot during Oscar Romero’s funeral.1 Romero was a priest who advocated for the poor and was assassinated in 1980. Nominally, he was not a liberation theologist like his future Jesuit counterparts, and the assassination was likely state-sanctioned or protected2.

              Roberto D’Aubuisson was blamed for and likely was one of the many middle-man involved in the death squad organization and requisite assassination. The 1989 El Salvador murder of four Jesuit priests and two others in the building was a leading news story in the United States. Jim McGovern talked about the discussions of US Congress at the time, and the brutality of the murders. This incident was one of the catalysts for international peace talks.5 Much like Panama’s invasion (and despite 75,000 total dead throughout the El Salvadorian civil war), US intervention efforts reached critical mass over this singular event.

The violence was tempered by the Chapultepec peace accords in 1992, which fully disarmed the rebel faction FMLN while reducing the grip of the Salvadorian government.6

              A vulnerable economy remained. Surpluses of unskilled labor caused a diaspora during the civil war, peaking between 1985 and 1990.7 If El Salvadorians were working in the fields for low pay at home, surely they could do it abroad for more money and send remittances. Thus, remittance are the savior of the economy, representing 15% of the gross domestic product in 2006.8 Indirect profits to banks are made from remittances, skimming from a patchwork of money transfer services, none of which hold more than 20% of market share.9 In addition to these electronic services, the majority state controlled airline reaps profits from viajeros, or entrepreneurs physically carrying the money into the United States.10

              Hecht and Saatchi note the visible reforestation may be correlated with the slow rebound of El Salvador’s stability. Note that Costa Rica had exceptionally pervasive deforestation finally quelled by the World Bank’s injection of capital to support other industries.11 This crisis occurred even in the absence of major conflict within its own borders, but concurrently with the El Salvadorian turmoil discussed here. Protecting the environment in has just recently been an area of focus for El Salvador. Even after conflict ended there, commercial fisherman were using explosives to easily catch their prey.12 The exceptive difference is modern El Salvador does not have much ancillary industry other than agricultural, while tourism and white collar business pick up the slack with Costa Rica.

            If the state were to develop a remittance service, they might get more profit, although the private sector may do this more efficiently. One wonders how this liberalization brings cash into the coffers of El Salvador, especially considering 60% of the workers their worked under the table in 2006.13

1  MAJOR Magazine. Aqui Estoy – Surviving The Civil War in El Salvador. Accessed October 25, 2017.

2  “The Jesuits Massacre Case.” Accessed October 25, 2017.

3 Gibb, Tom. “The Killing of Archbishop Oscar Romero Was One of the Most Notorious Crimes of the Cold War. Was the CIA to Blame?” The Guardian, March 23, 2000, sec. World news.

4  Chomsky, Noam. Turning the Tide: U.S. Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace. Haymarket Books, 2015. p. 135.

5  Ignatian Solidarity Network. Congressman Jim McGovern on the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador. Accessed October 25, 2017.

6  Gammage, Sarah. “Exporting People and Recruiting Remittances: A Development Strategy for El Salvador?” Latin American Perspectives 33, no. 6 (2006): 75-100.

7  Ibid.

8  Ibid.

9  Ibid.

10  Ibid.

11  Rosero-Bixby, Luis, and Alberto Palloni. “Population and Deforestation in Costa Rica.” Population and Environment 20, no. 2 (1998): 149–85.

12  Nahill, Brad. “Protecting El Salvador’s Largest Wetland From the Bottom Up,” October 14, 2013.

13  Gammage, 2006.

Red Central

Prior to US intervention in Guatemala, neo-liberal policies were proliferating during the 1940s, popular reforms braced by Guatemalan people. In response to this phenomena, the United Fruit Company began a successful lobby of the US government to crackdown on today’s “terrorism”, or communist sympathizers [1] . What is clear throughout the literature is that the Civil War was due to classic Banana Republic actions. What is not immediately clear is why either faction was unable to win the conflict over the period of 40 years. Part of this may be to the comparatively small scale of operations — the United States wanted first class results from a bare-bones investment, with “large-scale” operations having less than 500 people involved. [2]

The Catholic elite investigated the genocide ostensibly because it was an organized entity without fear of reprisal; that fear had diminished since the 1980s. From Peacemaking, this desire is based on “God’s will to repair the world through taking its sin upon himself”. [3] Due to the respect and dominance of the church in the region, it has a far larger impact than its dioceses in Eastern Europe with regards to genocide. Guatemala is one of the few exceptions were Catholic investigation was helpful at attracting worldwide attention.

Genocide is common enough that I rarely see it used incorrectly or in an exaggerative manner. Genocide did not occur in Guatemala semantically but words evolve over time to possibly integrate the usage here to include “collateral damage”. Clue used to mean ball of yarn, after all. One has to look at the etymology of the word “genocide” to decide. It means elimination of “gen” by “cide”, or essentially elimination of a race by killing. It does not factor in the rationale of these deaths. This was the argument of Guatemala’s far right. An international commission’s rebuttal was the race here was actually an economic class

Like homicide, the rationale can affect the punishment, but it is materially still killing, and is interesting why of diverting death of individuals into a lexical exercise.


Manuel Noriega was Panamanian dictator who was the ultimate middleman of drugs, being both a physical intermediary. He was a general during Torrijos’ reign until the latter’s death in 1981, and became leader of the Panama Defense Forces in 1983.1 Noriega was protected by both the canal’s interests and his tacit support of Contra activity in neighboring Nicaragua during the 1980s. In turn, the Central Intelligence Agency determined him an asset and looked the other way in terms of his involvement in smuggling.

While US sanctions deteriorated the economy and savaged the average Panamanian citizen, Noriega survived under a shadow economy, his pockets lined with the drug money from US insatiable appetite for cocaine.2 After the US supported repeated failed coups by to Panama Defense Force underlings, Noriega was deposed by swift military intervention called Operation Just Cause.

Rosenberg3 aggregates the three given U.S. common wisdom rationales as to why the occurred, but one notable exclusion exists. In an unheralded masterpiece, Cramer4 dissects the intervention as strictly diversionary warfare. The untrained eye is a double-edged sword, but even prior to reading this takedown, a creeping feeling of agent provocateurs existed throughout the text of the official account. The critical impetus for invasion was US officers violating a roadblock of Panamanian forces, leading to the shooting death of a Lt. Paz.5

What was not listed in the account (but by Cramer) is that during the shooting, multiple provocations were being carried out in concert. The official account is the car’s occupants were going to a meal at the Marriott in Panama City. Perhaps they were tired of being harassed by said checkpoints and decided to ignore it despite imminent threat.
However, in less than 12 hours, the President was recommended to exercise one of four plans already in the hopper, called Blue Spoon.
6 Not surprisingly, the official version of the decision-making process is riddled with the word “Cheney”at particularly critical junctures.

Panama, like Belize, does not have a rich historical vein to mine from a bilateral-US perspective until 1903, when the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed. This machination yielded a small portion of the canal land to the United States, rebuffing Colombia after settling accounts with the French.7 The floodgate of bounty did not necessarily open to Panama proper, largely boxed out of such windfalls. Many of the lavish investments were on American-controlled territory after all. The United States remained in control of the canal until the Carter–Torrijos treaty, sun-downing the ownership at 1999.8
The requisite story of the Panama Canal Treaty is a winding yarn; this is partially due to the complexities within Carter’s foreign policy itself and the extant hegemony existing within the State Department’s old guard and Carter’s appointees.
9 If Operation Just Cause was a diversionary war, the secession of the Panama Canal was a diversionary treaty. Carter’s worldview was still smarting from Vietnam, and he may have felt continued presence an over-extension of the US into foreign soil— perhaps the Panama canal was a token target to temper these feelings.

The canal was a symbol of a time when the US dominated worldwide mercantile exchange. Republicans, maybe correctly, took the treaty as an opportunity to create a wedge issue against the Democrat Carter for the 1980 Presidential campaign. The modern history of the “driving a wedge” was developed less than 10 years earlier as a codified political strategy. Nixon and his braintrust developed it to attract opposition voters opposed to busing-based desegregation in schools.10

While modern wedge issues may have direct impact (especially anecdotally) on the American citizens daily life viz. abortion, immigration, stem cell research; the Panama Canal treaty opposition movement was particularly genius because affected almost no one in any aspect of American society. Further, this implementing this plan would have no remarkable downside to its initiators.

As it has been shown, the relationship between Panama and the United States coalesces around two decades, the 1900s and the 1980s. The majority of bilateral relations here appear to be otherwise uneventful, especially when taken from a holistic worldwide foreign policy perspective. Noriega was charged, deported and then repatriated to Panama to serve his prison term before dying in 2017.

1 Archibold, Randal. 2017. “Manuel Noriega, Dictator Ousted By U.S. In Panama, Dies At 83”. Nytimes.Com.

2 Gilboa, Eytan. “The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era.” Political Science Quarterly 110, no. 4 (1995): 539-62. doi:10.2307/2151883.

3 “Panama and Noriega: Our SOB. Scott Rosenberg – PDF.” Accessed October 15, 2017.

4 Cramer, Jane Kellett. “‘Just Cause’ or Just Politics?: U.S. Panama Invasion and Standardizing Qualitative Tests for Diversionary War.” Armed Forces & Society 32, no. 2 (January 1, 2006): 178–201.

5 “Operation JUST CAUSE”. 2017. History.Army.Mil.

6 Operation Jus

Panamaniacst Cause.

7 “BBC News – Timeline: Panama”. 2017. News.Bbc.Co.Uk.

8 Zaretsky, Natasha. “Restraint or Retreat? The Debate over the Panama Canal Treaties and U.S. Nationalism after Vietnam*: Restraint or Retreat?” Diplomatic History 35, no. 3 (June 2011): 535–62.

9 Ibid.

10 McMahon, Kevin J. Nixon’s Court: His Challenge to Judicial Liberalism and Its Political Consequences. University of Chicago Press, 2011. np. “The President [Nixon] also made it clear to Chief Justice Burger that he preferred that the court not issue a major busing decision in the fall of 1972.”

Apache Slavery

The three causes for the proliferation of slavery by Spain against the Apaches and associated tribes includes delay, undercompensation and unenforceabilty. Delay refers to the physical delay of the Queen’s wishes to the New World, which may have taken a calendar year to receive let alone enforce or implement. Second, life on the frontier was harsh for the Spanish pioneers and the extra money from the slave trade made it slightly more worth it. Lastly, the pragmatic ideals of Queen Isabella were not practical from the perspective of leaders in the region, and were lip serviced but de facto ignored.

The slavery framework appears to be a balance of kinship and chattel. Spaniard captives were more integrated into tribes, but were generally bought and sold just like the Spaniards operated the principles of chattel on Native Americans. Hereditary slavery is not discussed, but the examination of this period was too small to draw a definitive conclusion. Slaves were not natally alienated by the Spanish until the mid-18th century which violated the old-school encomienda. This was out of rare fear instead of labor imbalance. The West Indies had extremely high slave to freemen ratios that fostered rebellion and eventually came very dangerous for the plantation management.

I wonder what the ratios were in New Mexico.

In one sense, religion acted as a carrot for the Native American to a better life. It also offered a rationalization for a servant of God to just be an indentured servant for God. The threat of enslavement was used from a position of leverage, and skirmishes were initiated by Spaniards as agent provocateurs to generate war captives for enslavement, sometimes via backroom deals to more powerful tribes. Many years after Cerrato, priests in the New Mexico region were bent on purchasing slaves despite the theoretical legal ramifications.

The presence of a foreign power on the Natives’ soil may have caused additional hardship, which caused additional and unforeseen debt, requiring otherwise solvent tribe-members to sell family members into catechism. Parallels to the drug trade exist, discussed elsewhere. Ultimately, the goal was colonization or increase of Christians for Queen Isabella (just like the reduction of communism or increase of capitalism for the Contras in Nicaragua etc.). Slavery, like cocaine, was just too profitable to not get a cut, especially considering the triumvirate of problems first mentioned in this discussion.

Cuervo and Morgollon issued writs allegedly making the practice more illegal, but a crisis was brewing. The other tribes in the west were consolidating and becoming more powerful, and a threat to land. Slavery came second to survival, until an accidental detente was reached. Please correct me if I am wrong, but essentially the Spanish and Comanches / Utes reached a power equilibrium during the mid-18th century. Slaves that were caught were sent elsewhere in the Spanish kingdom, namely Mexico.

Why do women study abroad more?

On average, because their parents are more inclined to finance this endeavour.

I sought to figure out the question why girls are more likely to study abroad than guys. I did this on my own volition, I reminded myself tacitly, after reading a doctoral thesis, and three journal articles about a topic I care so very little about, and one with no impact on my daily life and an extremely low percentage of the world’s population (and college students, too, given that ~1% follow through with it).

The obvious answers pervasive throughout literature is that it is major-specific, more women are in the languages and have classes more amenable to international transfer.

But why? Like why why.

– To increase mate availability. I do not see evidence this is the case, but how do you frame a study that says “Do you go overseas to meet hot French guys?” Self-report measures of this question would be unreliable, and actual data impossible.

This runs contrary to subjects being attracted to people that look and feel like them (narcissism dating theory). I wonder if the reported self-confidence improvement from traveling abroad would decrease that. There is also some currency being American, except in Western countries. Self-esteem among interracial daters appears to have similar to similar to other populations. The self-report of “sexy” accents is contravened by literature , maybe I will get to that later.

– As a marker or consequence of class.

– Because traveling abroad with a group is safer vs. privately. This issue was not addressed at length. Men still travel abroad at a similar rate, but outside of a college setting. It’s probably more cost-effective.

The raw data indicates that parents are more likely to support their daughter’s desires to go abroad. This can be construed as either “emotional” support, but what it probably means is “financial” support. At this point, if you are a researcher in the field, you are most likely saying money is not really a factor. Then, remember the caveat it is based on the students report of their parents income. I mean, adults do not even know their own parents income, and 45% of millionaires not viewing themselves as wealthy.

On the whole, maybe female college students traveling abroad have no idea how much money their parents make… nor do most students. The deepest stretch in a series of stretches is that male students are better able to guess their parent’s financial status.

Why do women find accents sexy?

A few easy answers spring to mind – to increase genetic drift for their offspring. This is most likely not true – people often look to in-group but not too in-group mating.

But women do find accents sexy, by self-report. But here is the gentle correction: women find native English or Romantic-language accents sexy. Save for this exception, people like an accent that sounds like them. 

I had been poring over the internet looking for the metrics of interracial dating and low-self esteem. Granted, hooking up with someone from England is not interracial, unless they’re from the West End, if you know what I mean*. I mostly encountered a ubiquitous survey on perceptions of interracial dating that asked the loaded question: do you believe interracial daters have low self-esteem? That question, if I had never pondered it before, would take me at least five minutes to answer in binary format.

They probably do have lower self-esteem. Why is that question put in a textbook then?

Heathen millennials tell Pew Research Center they do not care much about the dangers of race mixing.

This reminds me of the situation where women like “masculine” men when they are ovulating, and “baby-faced” men when they are not. Accents are dangerous like tattoos are dangerous, he spent $300 sitting in a chair while another man drew an octopus on his body. Oh yeah, baby the incredibly slight risk of increased hepatitis C, too. The tattoo guy not the British guy. The latter needs Vitamin C. 

As we go on, we remember a British accent imparts a sense of novelty to the listener that increases activation of D2 areas, and those are co-located with sexual endeavors, thus accents are sexy. But it is a sense of novelty and danger with almost no-reproductive downside – the only difference between a Brit and a guy from Long Island is a lot of differences, but you get the idea.

If you have ever seen an interview of London anarchists punks, these individuals sound like professors and look like London anarchist punks.

Hard to buy a mousetrap in Guatemala

The more deep you went into it, the more you realized it was the same as the beginning. A girl no more than six was selling flowers – and her indigenous ancestry made her look much younger – she could barely stand over the weight of the bouquet. She was a mixture of terrified and sleepy, probably riding the bus several hours to sell. I knew I had been played – someone sending their child out to sell flowers, most of which were on their death’s bed. I put 5 qs in her hand and she snapped out of a trance, reaching for one stem and missing like a boxer knocked out, pawing on the ground. I told her “Por favor, ten cuidado hoy”. What words of wisdom from a genius, what an ominous and creepy thing to say. What is there to say?

It was 100 degrees Farenheit and I had run out of water. I decided to steal my companions, a correctly surly and powerful Mexican, being about 5’6 and 220.

I was looking for a candle to burn at night, but the next too-young-to-be-working in a shop in a brick and mortar tienda didn’t speak Spanish either — “candela” “encendedor” “quema”, I took out my ramen noodles and lit an imaginary flame under them, to which she responded with five fingers splayed, which either meant five quetzales or “please stop doing that”. A hulk of a man appeared behind me in a manner that either suggested he wanted to purchase something as well, or that he was going to kill me.

A woman on her first trip outside of the country, stout, with a better phone than me and in her Sunday best, her wallpaper a heavily photoshopped version of herself and TSA pre-check asking me to translate the post-flight instructions, given from not a flight attendant, but what appeared to be a random man with both a perilous grasp of the English language and intense fear of public speaking, whose tone of voice was similar to being encircled by a chorus of colicky children in full diapers.

Trying to be helpful and failing, I tenuously explained the concept of customs before I was interrupted by an Asian woman with better English and Spanish than I. It was only shameful because she was not fluent. I was not listening at all to the man, so I was translating words I did not ever listen to. And being a true Guatemalan now, I attempted to help anyways.

Long flight, blue eyes, blonde hair, no coffee, surrounded by an international potporrui of polygots, and me? Que lastima.

I circled back around, passing a man with gas gangrene on his left leg – sprawled in the traditional manner of head down / hands up of the indigenous elderly, his former ambulator sprawled like a roadkill crab to reveal an insidious combination of both diabetic infirmary or a fulminating staphylococcus infection. He was in dire need of an amputation, and was ill in a manner that suggested he would shuffle the cosmic deck promptly. I wondered if it was a calculated decision, insofar as revenue was concerened, given that a clinic would be like “Yeah, we are going to cut that off. Start counting back from 100.”

I hit on two Taiwanese girls. I assumed they knew each other, but they did not. I did it as a favor to my friend, one he did not ask for nor need. These girls were pros, like south side prostitutes in their heyday, insasmuch as they were running a tandem clinic on pretending to be interested — the older one on what to do, and the younger one on not to do. In return, lodging and food for free with a nod and a smile but paying for it in spades by having to talk with us. They were clearly uncomfortable the advance, as was I, and communicated this by having an iPhone for each finger.

“Are you drunk?” one of them asked me.

L’esprit de l’escalier, I’d need to be.

I wasn’t, and I slinked back to my room.

I was bitten by a mouse. The gentle nip of a mosquito coupled with the faint brush of a lucky rabbit’s foot lending its unsolicited strokes to my lower back. The all night “tsst tsst tsst tsssssssssssssst” of a rodent slithering through your bed. The incisions must have nicked a heavy capillary tree and I bled for 24 hours straight, straight through to the mattress, and then onto the next night. I had seen it for a few days but did not want to embarrass my lovely host, and realized I had left it shut in a room without food for that duration. Just wanted a snack.

I later learned the Taiwanese non-twins were stone cold famous – paid to travel the world, married even, to each other. I sat tacitly, cowed by my once-in-a-lifetime attempt to have a conversation with strangers. They cooked us dinner and it was really good.

Guatemala Nightlife

The People:

Guatemalan girls have the best worry eyebrows.

Guate City has 3 million people. Dancing is a huge part of the culture, people will dance in their house or go out dancing. Bajo Fondo and the Box were recommended and simultaneously panned. Proportionately, however, there is not a whole lot to do outside of your friend group. For example Maroon 5 comes once every decade, while in a similar sized city they may come once a year.

This is from the perspective of a tourist or expat, there’s all sorts of museum and festival things to do for the locals year round. is a perfect place to checkout, you can do something every day.

But if you want to meet someone and play tennis, it is very difficult compared to the United States.

Buying stuff:

Getting stuff like bedding was impossible for me to find. There is a distinct absence of chain stores that provide everything like a Walmart. I spent an hour driving to get bedding and a bottle of wine – at the same store.

Buying food is extremely easy. If you buy food in the street, it is extremely reasonable. I can buy a decent lunch for $2. Supermercado prices are comparable.

Pharmacies deliver, and so does pizza. Driver’s sometimes don’t accept tips, making my life confusing.

The Chicken Bus:

Getting around in Guate is kind of a pain in the ass. The bus times are unclear. You can rent a car, but I was not comfortable driving one in bumper to bumper traffic. Uber has decent penetration, but drivers will deny rides to poorer locations. Antigua to Guate in the Chicken Bus was fine. Give the person collecting money 10 qs for Antigua to the center of the city. You’ll know when everyone gets off. It’s a scary neighborhood I’ve been told, but there are plenty of taxis.

Bicycling is usually for people working, not going to work, and less frequently for leisure.


I spent most of my time in z10, z15 and that’s it. Antigua was safe. It made my life harder but I never had really more than 200qs on me at a time. I feel bad for any robber that risked their life to rob this guy.

What is true is that guatemalan people are more traditionally polite than other cultures. For instance in an elevator, people will have full conversations about nonsense.

guatemalan people are considered some of the nicest in Latin America – but this is directly proportional to how much money you pay them. I’ve found european guatemalan girls to be incredibly rude, for the most part. For the guys, well it’s been okay.

Dancing like freak dancing isn’t really done in the clubs. i made that mistake.

Living in Guatemala is not cheap actually. since it has the second worst income inequality in Latin America, living in a safe place or even finding accommodations at all with family ties was difficult. Further, rent in zona 10 for a 2 bedroom was about 300 dollars in 2012, it’s for sure more than $500 now.