Demons, out! All traces of President Bush’s upcoming visit to the sacred Guatemalan site Iximché will be chased away with a ritual purification by Mayan priests—yet another sign of his less-than-enthusiastic reception in Latin America. Mayan NGO leader Juan Tiney explained the necessity for the purification process by noting that Bush’s track record vis-à-vis undocumented workers and the Iraq war makes his presence at the holy site “an offense for the Mayan people and their culture.”
Bush’s seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.
Tiney said the “spirit guides of the Mayan community” decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of “bad spirits” after Bush’s visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites—which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles—would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.