Fighting Over the Crumbs…

Snapshots of internalized class warfare in Colomba Costa Cuca, Guatemala:

    -In August, when I was last in Guatemala, a 13-year old classmate of my brother-in-law’s was kidnapped when gang members tried to take his dad’s motorcycle. 3 days later, his body was found in a creek in a whole other state of Guatemala. His arms were cut off, he was decapitated, scalped, and his jaw was cut from his skull.

    -Around that same time, my oldest brother-in-law, the head bookkeeper and supervisor at a large coffee finca, started getting phone calls from extortionists threatening his family. He changed his number. Two months later, a group of men were waiting for him as he left a bank nearby. They put a pistol to his back and told him that they hadn’t been playing around on the phone. I don’t know how he found the–what was it?–$4,000, but he did pay them. He had been too scared to tell anyone, so he didn’t ask Glendi or I for the money. We only found out because his wife found a bank receipt in his pants.

    -During this Christmas, just up the street, gang members used the late night fireworks to cover the sounds of their gunshots as they killed a young man and dumped his body near the cemetery.

    -Today, up the street at a streetside cell-phone card stand, assailants beat the clerk and stole about $1,500.

    -Last week, when my family went up to our school land where there is coffee growing, people had already stolen most of the coffee beans for themselves. You can forget about the bananas…they always are stealing our bananas.

    -Almost every night, we have to listen outside to make sure no one will sneak in to the back yard and steal our New Year’s turkey. It’s happened plenty of times before.

    -Oh, I didn’t even mention last summer, when I personally was stuffing bundles of $2,000+ cash into a red bag in order to pay off some mysterious people threatening Glendi’s sister….that’s a much longer story there.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi