Monday, June 16, 2008

Visit to Santiago

Sarah and Jamil

Wednesday, we went to Santiago by boat. We walked through the market to get to the Peace Park, and got a sense of what was there. It was a very touristy market, and also was our first market. On our way there we saw men in weaving factories weaving traditional clothing. They were kind enough to let us in, and see what they were working on. On our walk we turned a corner and saw a scenic view of the lake and the mountains. It was gorgeous and unforgetable. It was about a twenty minutes to get to the Peace Park in Santiago.

When we finally got there we were pretty worn out. Goyo (Our trip organizer from foundation Solar) told us about the history of peace park. During the war, Peace Park was a site of a massacre. The government was capturing Mayan family members and farmers. Villagers gathered in front of a millitary outpost in a peaceful protest. The military there massacred the protesters without a second thought. The military also killed villagers in the village behind where the protesters were.

Two people from San Juan were captured by the military, one of whom is our hotel owner Louis. You can still see the scars on his wrists from where he was bound. Goyo was a little hesitant to explain that our government helped fund this genocide.

It´s horrible to think about it at all. None of us could believe that our government, the land of the free, would support this at all but they did and it makes it that much harder to think about. This was not the only place in Guatemala that these things happened. It made us all very sad to think about the horrible atrocities that happened here.

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