I had planned to go in to Puerto Barrios this morning on the Marina Van but the trip has been canceled. There are more demonstrations planned for today in Livingston, Fronteras and, rumour has it, Puerto Barrios. Given the current situation the decision was made to abort the trip. Fair enough, I can't argue with that!
There is a lot of talk and gossip amongst the cruisers as to what is happening, how it affects the boaters, the rights and wrongs of the situation and so forth. What is clear is that the indigenous people are mightily upset. Politically it is only a few months since the new president, Alvaro Colom, was elected and it is highly probably that they are utilizing this period of a new administration to underline how seriously they want and expect the new Premier to take their concerns about their position within Guatemala.
It is difficult to sort out the wheat from the chaff in situations like this. What with the language barrier, Spanish and Que'chi, the lack of firm information and the gossip mill it is important to maintain a balanced viewpoint.
The view on the local rag, www.riodulcechisme, appears to take the line that there is not much to be concerned about and that the tourists should stay well away. And that seems to be what is happening today, there is little traffic on the river and with no check in or out down at Livingston until Friday there is no reason to move around if you don't need to.
It has been confirmed that Ramiro Choc, the leader of at least one group of protesters, is still being held in jail. I have been unable to assertain whether the three representatives of the group that took the police hostage have been flown to the City for talks with the Government.
Guatemalans gathered on Monday to remember the victims of the country's civil war
There is a small but growing unrest across the country. The consequences of the civil war which only ended in 1996 are very evident.
As we sit here, guests in this nation, it really makes you ponder on the inhumanity of man. The appalling cruelties that are perpetrated in the name of progress.
I find myself saddened at the iniquities of power and the unfair wielding of massive force against peoples who are simply trying to live their lives peacefully .
When I think about the consequences of war, especially in the light of the repercussions of American 'War on Terrorism', the results of Rumsfeld's campaign of shock and awe, I despair.