Whether They Want To or Not, Guatemalans Embrace the Elephant to the North

El Presidente signs CAFTA, and sleeps soundly when people take to the streets

| March 2005 Issue

"America," the taxi driver confides in me with the shit-grin of a child who is just about to get away with stealing from the candy jar. "I'm going to America. I don't care if I have to get mojado (wet) or not."

We are driving through Zone 10 in Guatemala City, an area so wealthy and clean that it could easily be Beverly Hills. Lush, green trees line the boulevards and the sleek vehicles passing us in the left lane are all Swedish and German sports cars, presumably owned by Guatemala's ruling elite -- the Ladinos: whites of Spanish descent who will always have the upper hand over the poor and downtrodden Mayan Indians who make up the majority of this country. Our taxi is the only clunker on the road.