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The Super Chivos Have Got Their Mojo Back!

XW 124 Portada Small JPEGFor all you sports fans looking to get your fix while you’re in town or those just wanting to get a taste of local culture, Xela’s own football/soccer team the Super Chivos (Super Goats) have got their mojo back this season. The boys in red and blue are currently leading Guatemala’s National Football league by quite a distance – a shock to anyone who watched more than 15 minutes of the Superchivo’s performances last season.

From their stellar performance in 2011-2012 which led Xela to be Guatemalan champions, the Chivos crashed out of La Liga Nacional de Guatemala last year, winning just 8 games all season and missing out on the play-offs. In a dramatic turnaround, Xela have won 9 games already this season with 8 more to play. So play-offs here we come, the Chivos are back!

When the Chivos are doing well, checking out a home game is a must do for anyone passing through Xela. Mario Camposeco Stadium is the ancestral home of the Superchivos and is a convenient 5 minute walk up the road from Parque Central. Tickets can be bought at the door for around 20 Quetzales which won’t break the bank and a cool litro de cerveza will set you back just Q15. Tip: If you want to go to a big home game or final, get you tickets early in the day otherwise they’ll sell out.



P o p p i n g


On the 25th of October, Guatemala ushered in a new era of political optimism with the election of Jimmy Morales to the highest office in the land. The newly elected president beat opponent Sandra Torres in a run-off election with the convincing slogan “not corrupt or a criminal.” How can you argue with that! Jimmy is a former comedian and is a fresh face in Guatemalan politics.

Guatemalans everywhere are crossing their fingers that Jimmy keeps his election promises and is a positive influence on Guatemala’s political system that has long been plagued by corruption. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and no one gets to power in Guatemala with scratching a few backs along the way. Let’s just hope the backs Jimmy scratched weren’t too hairy!

Donald Trump’s Immigration “Truths”

by Richard Brown

Donald J. Trump recently held an event in the Donald J. Trump grand ballroom of the Donald J. Trump Conference Center at the Trump National Resort in south Florida where all the entrances are bestowed with Trump’s name in golden letters and all the plastic cups and paper towels also bear His name. He attempted to make up to Latino voters, after having claimed in June, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” In the aftermath, Trump explained, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” and “I can’t apologize for the truth. I said tremendous crime is coming across. Everybody knows that’s true.”

Ixcanul: a film with the power of a volcano

By Diana Pastor

Rarely after watching a film do I feel encouraged to say that the movie was great, unless it manages to meet my rather strict criteria for qualifying to deserve such praise. Coming out of the cinema after watching Ixcanul, however, was most definitely one of those times. Like a volcano that slowly builds in pressure, Ixcanul (which is the name of the volcano next to which the movie is set) is a vibrant story that has caused major eruptions for contemporary Guatemalan cinema.

Ixcanul is a different kind of production to many other Guatemalan films of recent years in several respects. Firstly, the emphasis of the story is on everyday life. This does not make the plot seem insignificant, however. Quite the contrary: by using an ordinary story focusing on everyday lives that are similar to those lived by many Guatemalans, the film was able to make a piece of cinema that manages to engage the viewer through its deeper meaning and its  beautiful unfolding.

Xela Comes 2nd in Urban Design Competition

by Julio Urizar

The recent Urban Lab 2015 was the first university competition organized by the Interamerican Development Bank through their Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative. The competition required the development of an integrated urban design plan that would be transformative and sustainable for the neighbourhood of Curundú in Panama City.

The Urban Lab is a three phase competition that happens over a 6 month period. In the first phase, teams present an initial proposal. This year, 176 teams from 65 universities from all over Latin America sent proposals. Of these proposals, 30 were selected to go on to the semifinals. Three Guatemalan teams qualified, two from Xela and one from Guatemala City. From the semifinalists, three projects were selected to participate in the third phase: “Curundú: Sustainable City Model” from Huancayo, Peru; “Emerging Curundú” from Panama City; and “Connected Curundú” from Xela.

Recipe of the Month: Boozy Black Bean Burritos

by La Salsa Inglesa

Black beans are an integral part of the Guatemalan diet. I usually cook a pound of beans in the pressure cooker on a Boozy Bean Burritos La Salsa InglesaSunday and live off them for the rest of the week. A typical day may look like this:

1) Desayuno: huevos revueltos con frijoles y chirmol,

2) Almuerzo: sopa de frijol con tortillas

3) Cena: nachos con guacamole y frijoles volteados.

It’s incredible to live in a country where it’s acceptable to eat beans with every meal; embrace it during your time in Guate.

This recipe combines two all-time favourites: black beans and beer. Here, the stew is used as a filling for burritos but alternatively you can also serve it with rice.

Grow Your Own: Weeds with a Purpose

by Juan Jardinero

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
? Ralph Waldo Emerson


As gardeners we spend much of our time going through our fields, backyards and pots pulling out weeds. These persistent pesky plants grow everywhere, competing for water, sunlight and soil nutrients with the plants we do want to grow. However the more we understand nature and its interconnectivity we find that some of these so-called weeds do have a purpose and a use. It is important for first time gardeners to run a site analysis of their space to be planted. During this analysis you must identify the existing plants in your garden, weeds included. Having done this, we will be able to separate the useful plants from the less useful ones and gradually figure out how to preserve and use these once called weeds.

Trendy: Finger on the Pulse of Guate’s Social Media Buzz

Tragedy struck Guatemala on October 1st with #TragediaElCambray when a huge landslide engulfed the small mountain town of Cambray II, leaving at least 266 people dead. Guatemalans decided it was #EsTiempoDeAyudar (time to help) and mobilized online and offline to support the #RescateElCambray. The search & rescue operation quickly ballooned into a 1,800 team of firemen, NGO workers and volunteers, whilst thousands more participated in fundraising efforts, either by donating their own money or by organizing a multitude of street collections and benefit events across the country. Millions of quetzales were raised in the space of a couple of days.

A few days later, Guatemala made the international headlines again for a #LinchamientoAlcalde, when the mayor of Concepción, Sololá, was lynched and killed by an angry mob who accused him of  ordering an assassination attempt on a political rival, who had recently accused him of corruption. The events caused a furore online from shocked and outraged Guatemalans: @BrandonEstuardo  tweeted: “Nothing justifies these actions, no one has the right to take the life away of another, the courts should be responsible for dealing with these issues” whilst @DeZenteno  remarked “we´ve lost a sense and understanding of humanity, we´ve lost the right to life. It´s moment for us to reflect upon.”

Guatemala’s Political Underdogs Hit the Big Time!

Portada XW123 smallIf you’ve been in Guatemala for more than a couple of days, you’ve probably realised it’s an exciting time to be in the Land of the Mayas. While trying to survive the week long Quetzalteca-binge to celebrate Guatemalan Independence you might have caught that there is a tectonic shift happening in Guatemalan politics. As XelaWho’s hard-hitting journalists reported last month, ex-President Otto Perez Molina and his second-in-command Roxana Baldetti were brought down in the biggest corruption scandal in recent Guatemalan history, leaving a void open for a new political class in Guatemala.

The nation-wide protests against Molina under the banner #YoNoTengoPresidente (I don’t have a president) stirred 100,000s of Guatemalans to take to the streets and social media. This momentum has carried over into the recent elections in which several Underdogs fought against the odds (and cashed-up opponents) to be elected.

In the lead up to the presidential election, Manuel Baldizon – lawyer and well-documented corrupt strongman – bragged about being unbeatable but was taken down by Jimmy Morales, a former comedian who has donned blackface to get a laugh (photos on p29). By spending an incredible 54 million Quetzales ($7 million US), Baldizon and his party Lider blew past the spending cap imposed on political parties in the election to spend almost as much as all the other parties combined. Much of the cash was spent on buying votes by giving away free laminas (plastic roofing), chickens and mattresses in exchange for votes. Baldizon even went so far as to create a fake mirror website of Guatemala’s largest newspaper, Prensalibre, under a slightly different web address to pedal his propaganda against the other candidates.



P o p p i n g

Rising from the ashes

It was hard to see anything positive coming out of the tragic fire that consumed 11 businesses in the Centro Historíco in June, causing millions in damage, leaving five people hospitalized with serious burns. But Xela is always one to surprise with its indefatigable community spirit: after the fire, local group Sacándole Brillo a Xela (SBX) commenced the beautifully named “Operación Fenix” (Operation Phoenix), during which they succeeded in fundraising a whopping Q60,000 from generous local residents, which they donated to the victims of the fire and to the Oficina del Centro Histórico to help with reconstruction efforts. The operation finished last month 60 posters that were distributed throughout the Centro Histórico advising local businesses how to prevent fires. Let´s hope they work.