Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No country for old men?

Ten men died in a big shoot out near Teculután (about 60 miles east of Guatemala City) yesterday. Afterwards Guatemalan police captured six heavily armed characters in a vehicle, three of them Mexicans. They also recovered 10 automatic rifles, 10 handguns and two grenades from the crime scene, where they found five abandoned cars, two of which had been set ablaze.

Based on the current murder rate in Guatemala, close to 30,000 will have died violently there since the start of the Iraq war. Compare that to the 46,000 deaths in Baghdad in the same period, much utilised as a shock statistic (or indeed compare it even to the stats often used to make the 30-year civil war in Guatemala sound especially brutal) and you get a better sense of the comparative levels of bloodletting...which contrasts rather strongly with their comparative attractiveness as tourist destinations.

Teculután is said to be a perfect location for growing cantaloupe. Last night V watched a broadcast of the President of Honduras tucking into a big juicy melon grown (apparently) just over the border. This performance was intended as an act of brave defiance against the gringos who have accused Honduras of exporting melons carrying salmonella bacteria.

"I eat this fruit without any fear," Zelaya said with his mouth full. "It's a delicious fruit. Nothing happens to me!"

14 people have been hospitalized in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, claim the FDA.

Er...that's 16 states. "Logically, we believe it is an error"?

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