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Trendy

With the highest number of Facebook users in Central America and a Twitter population growing by the thousands every month, social media can be a great place to find out what’s buzzing in Guatemala. Of course, there’s also a whole lot of nonsense posted online too, but at XelaWho we like nonsense so here are some of last month’s social media trends, with the interesting & the informative alongside the vacuous & the ludicrous.

Now into its third month, the #RenunciaYa movement is still hot on the social networks; although, in case you missed the newsflash, they’re now called #JusticiaYa and they even have their own Twitter account which you can follow on @JusticiaYaGT. And it looks like they still have the vast majority of Guatemala on their side: in June a sister movement called #HagamonosElParo organised a blockade in Guatemala City during which they passed round a survey to over 1,300 people, 84% of which agreed that Otto Perez Molina needs to resign.

The Guatemalan Spring

XW 119 smallWell, if there’s one thing that can be said about the Guatemalan government it’s that they’re not one to do things by halves. But then, if you’re going to steal money from your fellow citizens there’s little point in just skimming a few pennies off the top; you may as well go the whole hog & steal as much as you possibly can so you can book yourself an early retirement on a private island somewhere far away from Guatemala where those pesky corruption investigators can’t reach you.

This, it would seem at least, has been the logic of the majority of people that make up the current government administration. And it’s a good strategy, as long as you don’t get caught. But then, in a country like Guatemala where those in power can safely get away with looting the nation’s coffers 99% of the time, that’s not something that tends to cross many people’s minds. Until now.

Stuff

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P o p p i n g

Whitewash

We were glad to find out this month that we’re not the only people in Guatemala that are already fed up with the ridiculous amount of party propaganda that is plastered across every single surface across the country for the run-up to this year’s elections (do they really think that one more Líder logo painted just half a meter after the last one is going to make us more likely to vote for them?).

Last month Movimiento Ciudadano GT organised the event Limpiando Xela which brought together 80 people to reclaim the streets of Xela by whitewashing the political propaganda that had been painted all across the city. Nice work guys! However, we do feel that this will be an uphill battle – Guatemala´s political parties seem more than capable of mustering together small armies of minions to plaster their propaganda everywhere, so Movimiento Ciudadano certainly have their work cut out for them in the upcoming months.

The Ten Year Guatemalan Spring

By Diana Pastor

In these days of mass protests one is reminded of a time in Guatemalan history when the country went through an unsurpassed period of civic and political blossoming. It all started after the revolution on the 20th October 1944, when a movement of students, workers and labourers organised huge protests to demand the resignation of President Jorge Ubico, a despotic dictator who had curtailed freedom of expression and acted as a puppet controlled by the powerful international interests that essentially ruled Guatemala at the time. Following immense pressure from all sectors of society that yearned for a change for the country, General Ubico resigned and in so doing paved the way for the first democratic elections that would be held in the country after a period of tyranny and injustice that lasted over 14 years.

That moment will forever remain in the history books of the country: the moment when ordinary Guatemalans won the battle against the powers-that-be. Better times were fast approaching for the country.

Rethinking the Past: Re-imagining the Now

by Alba Carrasco

“After Guatemala: Rethinking the Past, Reimagining the Now” is a collective exposition that, after visiting New York last April will be exhibited at Ciudad de Imaginación (5 Calle, 14-101, Zona 3, Quetzaltenango) from June 6th to July 5th. This exhibition is the result of a year long collaboration between Guatemalan artists, scholars and thinkers and includes a series of collective projects that aim to rethink the country’s history from different perspectives. The Project is a collaboration between the Guatemalan Independent Cultural Institution (City of Imagination) and an US academic institute (The New School, one of the leading institutions of art and design education in the world) that have come together to make visible the work of these artists. The exposition also demonstrates the ties with the US and how local artistic research can transform the ways in which historical memory is understood and examines theories such as utopia or dystopia in Guatemala. The whole exposition will comprise of 10 teams that bring together around 40 artists.

Not So Magic Formula

Frequent readers of XelaWho (we´re hoping you guys still exist) will remember our cover story of April this year about the “magic formula” that was touted to miraculously clean the grotesquely polluted Lake Amatitlán within a mere 10 months.

In case you missed it, a quick recap: in March AMSA and the now ex vice-president Roxana Baldetti decided to take it upon themselves to clean up Lake Amatitlán near Guatemala city, a lake so polluted that it wouldn´t be far stretched to imagine Godzilla rising up out of its radioactive-looking waters. Their ingenious plan was to spend Q137 million on 93,000 litres of a “fórmula mágica” (yes, they actually used those words) which would then be dumped into the lake in order to magically clean it of all its pollutants.

Spain’s Pissed Too

by Fathouse Production

Q90 billion absorbed by corruption in less than a decade; Q100 billion in cuts to education and healthcare; a dictator’s legacy enjoying impunity; a female number two leading a corruption ring. Sound like Guatemala? Actually, we’re in the mother country, Spain! In 2013, government agencies investigated over 1,600 potential cases of corruption, mostly involving the country’s two main political parties. Only around 20 people have been sent to jail for the recent corruption wave. This past Sunday, May 24th, Spain voted in municipal elections. The new political party that grew out of the 2011 15M movement, Podemos, won control of Madrid and Barcelona. 15M was Spain’s Occupy Wall Street four months prior to its American baby cousin. Unlike their baby cousin, their motto was, ‘We’re going slow, because we’re going far.’ Podemos’ leader is a professor in his 30s with a goatee, ponytail, and kickass holy name: Paul Churches (Pablo Iglesias).

Recipe of the Month: Pollo a la Moza

by Simone Riddle

As the political climate changes here in Guatemala, I’ve decided to break away from lo traditional for this month’s recipe. There is a plato tipico in Guatemala which roasts chicken in beer, but as I find myself without an oven at the moment I decided to mix it up a bit; apologies for all you die-hard tradicionistas. However, this recipe does feature an essential Chapín ingredient: Moza, la cerveza oscura. Make this for la banda and they cannot fail but to be impressed.

Grow Your Own: Why Organic / Why Local?

by Juan Jardinero

“Natural, organic and unrefined foods speak a language your genes understand.”

Thorbjörg Hafsteinsdottir

Following the footsteps of many cities around the world, Xela is taking part in the organic food trend.

Organic shops have opened up; organic markets are now a monthly event at Parque Central. Even events like the Biggest Organic Salad of Guatemala, which was recently organized in Xela, aim to promote and bring awareness about the food we consume and the way it’s being produced. Organic food and buying locally produced food have a huge impact on your health, on the economy, on politics and on the lives of those producing it. So here area few reasons why incorporating more and more organic food into our diets can be beneficial to all.

Trendy

With the highest number of Facebook users in Central America and a Twitter population growing by the thousands every month, social media can be a great place to find out what’s buzzing in Guatemala. Of course, there’s also a whole lot of nonsense posted online too, but at XelaWho we like nonsense so here are some of last month’s social media trends, with the interesting & the informative alongside the vacuous & the ludicrous.

With the gamechanging news this month surrounding corruption in the government, social media over the past few weeks has been going crazy over the news. #RenunciaYa displayed pictures of Guatemalans around the world showing their support during the demonstrations on  the 16th of May. Demonstrators in New York, London, Sydney, Barcelona, Canada and Switzerland shared pictures of themselves being involved in this historic event. RenunciaYa replied simply with “thank you so much for you support”. Short but sweet. With a constant stream of politicians exiting the cabinet in either disgrace or handcuffs many feel that enough still has not been done. Andrea Ichiu tweeted that resignations were insufficient and that people wanted justice and reform.  One of my favourite pictures was of footballing legend Diego Maradona. Known for his (genius) hand of god goal, the Argentine posted a picture online offering his support. One followers comment simply said “Legend”. My thoughts exactly.