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Extra resources for Frommer's Central America
On November 4, 2007, Alvaro Colom of the center-left National Unity for Hope (UNE) party was elected president. However, his administration has had a rocky go of things, with little noticeable progress on the economic and security fronts, and several corruption scandals. Today, Guatemala struggles to find its footing on the road to recovery. Still, for those intrepid travelers who do visit, you will find a land of great physical beauty, diverse peoples, an abundance of color and craft works, and the almost perfectly preserved cities and streets of the ancient Maya and earliest Spanish settlers.
Sandino. He held out in the northern highlands despite an American offensive that included the first bombing of a civilian town, Ocotal. In 1933, the American-trained National Guard was created, led by Anastasio Somoza Garcia. The Americans withdrew, handing power to Juan Bautista Sacasa. Sandino accepted the government’s invitation to negotiate but instead was assassinated by the National Guard in 1934 in Managua. The murder was followed by a clampdown by Somoza, who took complete control in 1937.
See the individual country chapters for more on both subjects. Belize A LOOK AT THE PAST Before the arrival of the first Europeans, Belize was a major part of the Maya Empire. D. 900, their society entered a severe and rapid decline. Famine, warfare, deforestation, and religious prophecy have all been cited as possible causes. See Jared Diamond’s bestseller Collapse (Penguin, 2005) for more information and speculation. Unlike the Incas of Peru, the Maya had no centralized ruler. Instead, the civilization consisted of a series of independent city-states, usually ruled by hereditary kings, often at war with one another.