If you ask people in Guatemala they will tell you that seven families run their country. For decades s series of revolts led by descendants of the Mayan people have been met with CIA/Mossad orchestrated brutality. Many have given up and headed north for a better life.
What follows is excerpted from my travel book The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries:
Chi-chi pinas y cocos, sweeper keeping it clean all night
Gringos drowning poverty dressed in rainbows
It’s a 24-hour ordeal when you’re an Indian
Assassination in the paper, tranquilo aqui, alone
The table cloth, Quiche colors, a cigarette hole, laughing Texan
Study Espanol on Daddy in barrio, oil exploration Alta Plano
Little baby in a sack on her back strolling by, old man stumbling behind
Local brew got the best of his pants below his knees or wearing a dress
As we disembark the vessel at San Francisco de Atitlan, a handful of old men wearing brilliant purple and white-striped dresses come out to greet us. Guatemala is like an intense mushroom trip – colorful beyond imagination. But this takes the cake. The people in this village glow with intense light and beauty as they eagerly carry out their daily subsistence tasks. Is it this intense light that compels the dark Aryan rulers to wipe these people off the face of the planet? Is it their simple free way of life – one that neither produces nor consumes for Big Business – that threatens to break the chains through which global monopoly capitalism holds most of the earth enslaved? Is it their pantheon of animal spirits and gods that threaten to expose the Big Lie of organized religion – the epistemology for monopoly capital? Or is simply that these miserable rulers cannot bear to see such happiness in their fellow human beings?
We travel back across the lake, the sun bathing us as we ride a magic azure blue carpet embraced by the smoldering volcanoes that created it. The school hoard is gone. After a bite to eat, we stick our thumbs out on the steep road leading out of Gringotenango. Soon we are heading back down the Pan American Highway with a girl with tiny hands named Eve whom we met on the boat. Back in Antigua, we stop at the popular Mio Cid’s for a beer. Here I meet Belisario. He is the first Antiguan I have met who is willing to engage in a political discussion regarding the brutality of the US-backed Guatemalan government.
Belisario has just gotten out of prison. He had been tossed for lacking the proper paperwork on his bike. The cops told him that if he gave them his sunglasses and his knife he would be set free. He refused, so they impounded the bike and threw him in jail for 15 days. It cost him $400 US to get his bike back after he got out of prison. Belisario believes the police had a political motive for hassling him. He promises to take me to his village tomorrow to show me what so irked the authorities.
We set out in the morning by pickup then hitchhike the rest of the way into San Andres Ixtapa – a Kaqchikel village in the mountains northeast of Antigua.
For the past three years Belisario has been working with Steve Gaskin and his fellow members of The Farm – a Tennessee-based self-sufficient commune formed by Haight-Asbury refugees in the early 1970’s. The Farm has been helping San Andres in the construction of decent housing and in setting up a soy-based planting and processing system that will yield such products as soy cheese, soy milk, soy yogurt and soy ice cream. One pound of soybeans will yield one gallon of soy milk. Just one 8 oz. glass of soy milk contains one person’s daily requirement of protein. The Sandinistas were trying to implement a similar soybean-based agricultural program for the whole country of Nicaragua when I was there.
The Farm began helping San Andres in 1976, when the village was rocked by a huge earthquake. Gaskin came to visit the area to find out how his people could help in the relief effort. After securing a $4 million grant from the Canadian government, he returned with fifty-four other “Farmers” to launch Plenty, a group that today operates in numerous Third World countries, providing technical assistance for projects aimed at self-sufficiency. The Guatemalan military junta saw Gaskin as subversive and eventually forced the entire Plenty organization out of the country by denying them visas. The soy dairy remains half-done and needs more funding. The Guatemalan oligarchy has bought up many parcels of land in the area upon which the villagers had hoped to grow the soybeans. Instead, the land now grows snow peas and broccoli for export to the US.
A group of women saunter by in colorful skirts, carrying bundles of firewood on their heads. Firewood has become so scarce that villagers have begun to dismantle the wooden roofs of vacant huts to burn. The streets of the village are washed out and a murky solution runs off the hills beside the road. There is no sewer system in San Andres. Belisario’s mother gives us a glass of muskmelon juice. We sit outside watching the colorful villagers desperately working their remaining fields.
Rio Dulce, Guatemala
This day trip with Belisario peaks my interest in the daily struggle of Guatemalans. Antigua is beginning to look tame and touristy. I want a less sanitized view of Guatemala. Ironically, a Mercedes Benz bus out of Guatemala City is just the ticket.
We freeze our asses off as the air-conditioned beast chews up the highway connecting the capital with the Caribbean banana port of Puerto Barrios, where John Morrell and Chiquita banana owner United Brands runs the show. The mafia-founded company was known as United Fruit when – with help from the CIA – it overthrew the democratically-elected populist Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. Arbenz had threatened to expropriate their extensive banana plantations and give the land to the poor.
A pretty stewardess brings us ham sandwiches and colas. We drive through burning sugarcane fields toward the coast. We think she would like to marry one of us and go to the United States – land of shopping malls and soft beds.
The surreal luxury bus scene gives way abruptly to a lift in the back of a pickup as the sun begins to set on the crossroads that leads to the town of Rio Dulce. We aren’t complaining. At this hour we are lucky to catch a lift the few miles into the sleepy river town. The driver of the pickup is Carlos, a Guatemalan Special Forces Captain. We arrive at dark. Music blares from the cantinas that line the highway – a pot-holed nightmare and the only land route into northeastern Guatemala – home to the Tikal ruins, the indigenous Guerrilla Army of the Poor and the Belizean frontier. Rio Dulce is a Wild West way station for truckers, smugglers, military personnel and adventurers heading into the rebel-infested untamed jungles of El Peten and Alta Verapaz.
Carlos takes us to a restaurant that serves a mean chicken dinner. He tells us proudly that he has traveled all over Central America with the US Marines, taking part in both training exercises and actual combat with left-wing guerrillas. He says that on certain days the Guatemalan military rolls unannounced into the poorest villages throughout the country with flatbed trailers. Young boys are tossed onto the trucks and kidnapped for military training. Their parents are only notified days later. Boys who attempt to run away from the ambush are frequently gunned down. Recently Guatemalans have become wise to this “recruitment” tactic and have developed an elaborate advanced warning system that enables them to hide their young boys just as the trucks roll into town. The military has countered by conducting its raids during big fiestas when they know people will be celebrating in the streets.
Make believe mechanic living for coffee breaks
Right-wing shop owner giving chocolate hand-out to best friend
Hard work is all it takes
To take over daddy’s billion dollar crime ring
Bankers at happy hour laughing at drunken savages
Fear parades itself, chest extended, into tunnels of delusion festering
Courage lies confidently, shattering fairy tales, salvaging truth
We board the long narrow dugout mail boat at 5:00 AM for the trip downriver. There is a heavy mist upon the still river, which narrows as it passes through a spectacular gorge on its way to the Caribbean and the settlement of Livingston – a Garifuna village only accessible by boat. Both riverbanks come alive with the songs of tropical birds and the screams of howler monkeys. We pass a national park entrance. The jungle is dense, giving way to the occasional house perched precariously on steep cliffs. Women wash clothes as small naked children toss feed to chickens. We pass below magnificent waterfalls cascading from mysterious jungles. It is no wonder they chose this location for the filming of Tarzan.
The river empties into the Caribbean Sea and we are soon motoring into the Port of Livingston. We amble up the hill into town and take a room at a rundown hotel with a balcony overlooking the main street. The Chinese owner is a pain in the ass, but the evening sunsets over the Caribbean are unbelievable.
We go for breakfast in Guatemala’s only black majority town. A man playing the role of Rastafarian guru quickly befriends us. Soon we have bought him breakfast and a few beers. We greenhorns are as of yet unaware that a more genuine Rasta would never touch this white man’s poison. Livingston gets its share of backpacker visitors and every tourist town has its home-grown cons. We soon shake this pseudo-Selassie, having become the wiser for his presence.
We stroll down the Caribbean coastline seeking solitude. After about two and a half miles we come across a stream flowing out of the jungle. There is a trail following the river upstream so we set out upon it. Soon the river is transformed into a series of cascading waterfalls, each forming a pool of deep icy crystal-clear water below it. We climb further, find an inviting secluded pool, strip down and dive into the frigid water. It is refreshing in the oppressive jungle heat. We climb out and lay naked on the huge flat rocks, smoking ganja and drinking from a coconut we’d found on the beach. A primal feeling overcomes me.
We lay quietly, watching the jungle for signs of life. A huge fruit bat swoops down to say, “Hello”. An iguana emerges on a neighboring rock. Howler monkeys swing wildly between the sagging tree limbs, seemingly ecstatic at our presence. A toucan flies overhead. We feel as though we are honored guests.
We grudgingly head back to Livingston, where the evening brings a sense of peace. Travel paradoxically makes me yearn to stay put in one place for awhile so that I can get to know the people who live here. One can remain sedentary and mentally rot. One can live as a nomad – traveling to many different places – and still learn absolutely nothing. Or one can choose to simply learn, regardless of one’s situation.
Punta Gorda, Belize
I am sitting on a huge bag of potatoes, surrounded by a sea of snack food cases and other people’s luggage – my feet dangling starboard. There must be over 100 people on this rickety old crate they call the Livingston-Punta Gorda ferry. A boat – I am learning – is to the Caribbean people what an airplane is to the Alaskans – rickety or otherwise.
We clear customs in Punta Gorda and head into PG, as this southern-most outpost of Belize is affectionately known by its residents. We wander into a local bar where two enormous Garifuna women are pounding out a mysterious rhythm on two equally enormous kettle drums. People drinking large quantities of alcohol begin to dance. At the bar I meet a man named Trick. He is drinking mango juice. Trick is a dread farmer, a real Rasta man who once served in the US military. In his time at Ft. Leavenworth he had seen the American “disease” up close. He decided to reject the fruits of Babylon for a life as a self-sufficient Rastafari in the mountains of Belize.
“There is no longer any morality in America,” Trick says. “They keep trying to infect the rest of the world with their materialism and their money. Sometimes I want to blow the transmitter (a Voice of America relay station just outside Punta Gorda that blasts propaganda throughout Central America) sky high. I support Fidel Castro. He is a good man.”
Trick goes on to explain Rastafarian philosophy, stating, “Haile Selassie is our prophet and he came from one God. This is why the Ethiopian flag is worn by the Rasta people. Ethiopia, which Selassie ruled, was the only country in Africa never colonized by the Europeans. We believe Haile Selassie is a descendant of King David and that one day a descendant of his shall return to lead us out of Babylon. Rasta means ‘man’, while fari means ‘as far as the eye can see’ and denotes God. We believe each person has the responsibility for his or her own spirituality, his or her own visions, and that every man should look as far as his eyes can see.”
Don, who also sits at the bar, is Trick’s antithesis. It is hard to believe I can meet them in the same town. Adorned with a spear gun and with his Doberman by his side, Don has anchored his yacht in PG’s harbor, along with an armada of like-minded wealthy foreigners. The numbers don’t seem to diminish his fear. He has set sail from Miami bound for Nicaragua, where he is to meet some old “company” pals from Vietnam and advise contra regiments around Puerto Castillo. I play right-wing wacko. He bites and sings like his dog. Trick smiles and listens in.
Don tells me that if I am interested in “mercenary work”, I should talk to Duke at the Europa Bar in Guatemala City. Duke is a friend of Barry Sadler, he explains. Sadler writes reactionary war novels and sings patriotic tunes based on real-life events going down in Central America. Don says Sadler has recently swung a deal between a San Diego arms dealer and the Guatemalan government for twenty attack helicopters. Sadler has gone stateside for awhile to drink away his cut. Don tells me he has done parachute jumps with the Guatemalan military in the Altiplano guerilla-held regions, where the CIA is battling leftist UNRG Indian rebels who organized following the 1954 CIA putsch.
He snickers at the Central American Peace Plan now being discussed in Costa Rica, saying he can’t believe the Sandinistas have fallen for such a lopsided deal. “The Soviets will go home because they can no longer get $.10 per gallon gas for their tanks. We’ll thank them for everything, while the Sandinistas will grovel before US corporations for economic development aid,” the old pirate laughs cynically. Don had been with Special Forces on the Cambodian border during the Vietnam War. His mind is totally warped. His soul is dark and beyond salvation. I don’t have the heart to tell him that there never were any Soviets in Nicaragua.
Dean is the author of six books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Stickin’ it to the Matrix, The Federal Reserve Cartel, Illuminati Agenda 21: The Luciferian Plan to Destroy Creation & Nephilim Crown 5G Apocalypse