President Bush is using his Latin American tour to voice a spirit of cooperation but the Mayans of Guatemala say he is the bearer of "evil spirits."
As Mr. Bush arrived in Guatemala City, local news reports said modern day Mayan priests planned to cleanse ancient ruins following his visit. Mayan leaders were quoted as saying a ceremony would rid the place of "bad spirits." While the president's visit has sparked protests at each stop, the Mayan response was the most unusual. One Mayan spokesman said his people were offended "by the wars he (the president) had provoked." Priests planned to burn incense and place plants and water in the area where Mr. Bush walked to "clean out the bad energy." The spokesman said "spirit guides" would perform the ceremony so their ancestors could rest in peace.
In a rare sightseeing trip, the president was touring the archaeological site known as Iximche. The pyramids were part of the capital of the Mayan people before the Spanish conquest in 1524. Modern Mayan angst with Washington also goes back to U.S.support for military governments during Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war. Entire Mayan villages were destroyed during the long conflict.