Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Maya Denounce Expulsion From Sacred Site Over Bush Visit / Maya leader: Bush's visit an insult to humanity

Mayas Denounce Expulsion From Sacred Site Over Bush Visit

Guatemala's indigenous Maya leaders were furious Monday after protestors were expelled and arrested at an archeological site being visited by US President George W Bush.

"It is outrageous, an aberration that we are thrown out of the sacred land of our ancestors and that we are not even given the chance to express ourselves," Maya leader Juan Tiney told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Tiney said two demonstrators were arrested after a group managed to get past the police cordon at the Iximche site.

"We feared for their physical wellbeing, since other expulsions (in the past) have led to the unlawful execution of many of our comrades. But they were released after this man (Bush) left," the Maya leader said.

Together with Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, Bush briefly visited the sacred site, the capital of the Kaqchiquel kingdom (one of Guatemala's Maya peoples), in the western province of Chimaltenango.

Maya leaders said they intend on Tuesday to "purify" the parts of the Iximche site that Bush visited, to protect it from his "aggressive spirit."

On his return to Guatemala City, Bush was met by further protests, although police and army units kept demonstrators at a distance of some 200 metres of the building where Bush held talks with Berger.

In a prior protest in the capital's historic centre, thousands of people took to the streets and burnt an image of the US president and several US flags.

"President Bush is not welcome, and impoverished workers, informal vendors and the people in general are marching together to the presidential residence to express our repudiation of the policies that make us poorer everyday," Jorge Pu, executive secretary of the General Guatemalan Workers Union (CGTG), told dpa.

After visiting Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia as part of a five- nation Latin American tour, Bush arrived in Guatemala late Sunday. He is set to travel to Mexico late Monday (early Tuesday GMT), and will return to the United States on Wednesday.

Maya leader: Bush's visit an insult to humanity Wed, 14 Mar 2007 10:06:38

After U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Iximche, Guatemalan Mayan spiritual leaders are doing a ritual cleaning of the sacred site, where the indigenous summit will be held this month, to get rid of evil spirits.

"For our people, Bush's visit was an insult to humanity and our dignity as human beings, because he is one of the great militaristic leaders of this world," National Maya Convergence leader Juana Batzibal told Prensa Latina.

A group of spiritual leaders is performing a ritual for peace and harmony to return to the place where the third Continental Indigenous Summit will be held, gathering some 2,000 national and international delegates from March 26-30.

Batzibal confirmed attendance to the meeting of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeno and other figures.

Land and territory, natural resources, autonomy and self-determination, integral development, impact of neoliberal globalization on indigenous people, and participation of women in politics will be the summit's main debate issues.


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