Skip to main content

Mayan priests to purify sacred Guatemalan site after Bush visit


By Juan Carlos Llorca -- Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - Mayan leaders announced that priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate 'bad spirits' after U.S. President George W. Bush's visit.

That a person like [Bush], with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture; Juan Tiney, the director of a national association of indigenous people and peasant farmers, said March 8.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America included a stopover late March 11 in Guatemala. The morning of March 12, he was scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the spirit guides of the Mayan community decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of bad spirits after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites - which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles - would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26 - 30.

Bush trip has already sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush visited on March 11, 200 masked students battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.

The tour is aimed at challenging a widespread perception that the United States has neglected the region and is combating the rising influence of Venezuelan leftist President Hugo Chavez, who has called Bush history's greatest killer and the devil

Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City, was founded as the capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.