After visiting Guatemala for the first time, I am totally convinced that Americans are led to believe that Central and South America are not only war riddled countries but full of drug crazed citizens who will kill anyone who looks their way. Such a misconception on the part of the American people.
Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries one can visit or live. Why are we made to believe that we have no business here? Is it because of the crime or is it to keep us from thinking for ourselves and seeking a simpler way of life?
Don’t get me wrong, countries such as Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala have their share of crime, protests and disruptions. Escalating cases of lynchings, rapes and murders are being reported throughout these countries, some very brutal. Many feel the indigenous people are fed up with their corrupt Governments that do not do enough to prosecute illegal activities and are taking matters into their own hands. Are our Government officials any less corrupt in their own way?
While meeting dozens of travelers here, in the city of Antigua, Guatemala, I found the majority of expats, backpackers and visitors come from all over the world, the minority comes from the U.S. Many Canadians, Europeans and especially Australians are here enjoying and learning the language as well as the culture. I can count on one hand the number of Americans I have met here, men and women alike, usually traveling solo, and they all have come to the same conclusion… Their friends were too scared to come with them.
My opinion is young Americans would rather take their vacations in the commercial cities like Cancun. They can party all night, buy cheap souvenirs made in China and return with no clue as to what they did beside pull all night drinking binges, all with their parents blessings. Not to mention the average American family save their earnings year round to spend a week in the over rated, over priced Disney World of make believe instead of enjoying history and culture.
After speaking to several prominent businessmen in Antigua, I am convinced that the drug problem does exist here, yes there are druggies, but the problem lies with the demand of the U.S. While these countries make billions, that money comes from American Citizens who will do anything for a fix. Sad to believe that America has fallen to such a dire state when it comes to drug abuse. Can you really blame the growers? Our drug habits are not their problem, it is their solution to a repressed way of living.