Saturday, October 23, 2010

Calavera no llora

This week on October 20 Guatemala once again marked the anniversary of its half-arsed*1944 'Revolution', which heralded in the kind of social reforms more akin to what happened in the UK one year later when Churchill got his marching orders and the Labour government of Clement Atlee came to power in a landslide, than a proper blood and guts displacement of the Ancien Régime.

Demonstrators passed down the newly-uptarted Paseo de la Sexta (which I photographed last month) and, apparently not seeing all those placards advocating responsible citizenship, proceeded tp cover the walls, pavements and those rather random street sculptures in graffiti and other painted symbols manifesting anti-capitalism and anti-americanism at their most moronic.

As you can imagine, this did not go down at all well with Ex-Prez. In fact he and Mrs Ex-Prez were bleating about the damage quite loudly on Facebook the next day.

Back in the UK however, this whole incident would have been regarded as a failure of the local authorities and the police in particular. And guess who's in charge of those in Guate?

The freedom to hold public demonstrations and march around the capital has long been held by my compatriots, but the cops agree the routes in advance and follow alongside the demonstration to prevent this kind of vandalism from occuring. Only occasionally, as we saw in the 1990 Poll Tax riots, do things get out of control, and when they do, the Police Commissioner usually has some explaining to do.

It's also worth adding that before he starts going all David 'we're all in this together' Cameron on us and pontificating about the sense of social responsibility in Guatemala, Ex-Prez would do well to fix those three broken drain covers right outside his house, which on a moonless night are nothing less than cruel mantraps.

* England had a half-arsed revolution too in 1688, which we somewhat mysteriously refer to as the 'Glorious Revolution'; the real revolution having occurred some thirty years previously when we chopped off our king's head. This is more usually described as the 'civil war'.

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