During our orientation today, they talked about the history of Guatemala, almost all of which i was ignorant. A much condensed version of that history:
In the 1800s a Boston based man "discovered" bananas and commenced to start the United Fruit Company which soon made alliances with the dictator of Guatemala and soon owned over 40% of Guatemala´s land (WTF!! a US company owning nearly half a country!?!). Alliances passed from one dictator to the next because the dictator would enjoy a percent of the fruit company´s profits. Also, the local people here were forced to work 90 days per year, unpaid, on the land (!!). So in 1944 when a real democracy overthrew the dictatorship, there were 10 years when people had healthcare and education and things were going the right way. Of course, the fruit company executives were buddy-buddy with the head of the CIA, the secretary of state and some other high-up figures in America, and all they had to do was cry "communism!" to the Eisenhower administration (even though it was not communism, and in fact was a legitimate democracy for once), and that´s when America supported the coup (1955) to install a new president that would maintain some of the ties that were held with American companies before the "Democratic Spring". Civil war broke out in 1960, and peace accords were signed (but legally non-binding) in 1996, so many people still feel that the country may still as well be at war.
No wonder I´m confused at the security of the area.