P o p p i n g
It’s really not a good sign of the next four years to come when the political party that is leading in the polls shows such a massive disregard for the law. Early last month the TSE (the supreme electoral body in Guatemala) revealed that Líder had already passed the legal limit for campaign spending by a million quetzals. This is perhaps not surprising to anyone that´s stepped outside of their house in the last couple of months, although the sheer extent of their campaign financing is quite astonishing: they’ve spent more than double the next highest spending party (UNE), and very nearly more than all the other political parties’ campaign spending, combined. The TSE ordered an immediate halt to all of Líder´s campaigning activities, but a defiant Líder rebuked that they had done their own analysis of the figures and that they had come to the conclusion that they were still under the limit (funny that…) and so they completely ignored the order. Fortunately, students from Xela´s San Carlos University were quick to take things into their own hands: dressing up in yellow boiler suits and taking down all of the Líder campaign publicity they found in the streets. Bravo!
F lo p p i n g
We’re looking forward to pretty much everything about the upcoming festivities this month. Except, of course, for those terrible, headsplitting gomas (hangovers) that are quick to follow the all-night celebrations on the 14th and 15th (or every night for the whole week if you’re anything like us).
So if you find yourself crawled up into a little ball in your bed, afraid to face the sunlight outside, we can highly recommend the legendary Sueros to ease your suffering. They’re dehydration packs that are supposed to be for people suffering from diarrhea but work great for hangovers (and even better if you drink one before you go to sleep). They can be found in pretty much every tienda in Xela.
At 11.30pm on the 30th June, tragedy struck Xela. A faulty gas cylinder in the restaurant Ricca Burger that was leaking gas caught fire and exploded (the guilty company was Tropigas, supposedly; in case you wanted to make the wise move of stopping buying your gas from them). The explosion quickly caused a huge fire, leading to a chain reaction of explosions of all the other gas cylinders in the same block of buildings. The explosions were so strong they shook buildings located up to five blocks away.
The fire was quick to totally consume nearly all of the businesses in the block (11 in total), including the famous nightclub La Parranda, live-music hotspot Leyendas, and Café Baviera, home to countless invaluable artefacts from Xela´s history. The fire caused millions in damage but fortunately most people were able to escape, although five were sent to hospital with severe burns, one of which tragically died from her injuries.
The absolute heroes that are the Bomberos Voluntarios (the “voluntary” firemen – they are not an official state institution) managed to control the flames before they could spread to other blocks, despite numerous setbacks including not being able to reach the fire due to traffic and not having access to the main water supply when they first arrived.
The process of rebuilding the ruined block will be a long and arduous one, not least due to the fact that they have to go through numerous bureaucratic hurdles because the fire was located in the Centro Historico, which you are not allowed to build on – even if it has burned down, apparently (isn´t government bureaucracy fun?). But we know you´ll spring back from this better and stronger than ever, Xela. ¡Ánimo!