Dozens of people gathered outside the United States embassy in Guatemala to send a message of protest to George W. Bush. The US President will be in Guatemala within days. But a warm welcome won’t be on offer from this group, who expressed anger over issues ranging from immigration to the war in Iraq.
“We are not in favour of this visit because he represents the interests of the empire here in Guatemala,” said one demonstrator.
“He has only done damage to this country.”
The president is also travelling to Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil, his first stop. Before setting off, he evoked the plight of the poor in Latin America and announced a US social aid programme for the region.
“The millions across our hemisphere who every day suffer the degradations of poverty and hunger have a right to be impatient,” he said.
Bush will be hoping to improve his reputation and influence in a part of the world where anti-American voices are on the rise. During his tour, Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez – a staunch Bush critic – is set to take part in anti-US protest rallies in neighbouring countries to those being visited by the president.