Site, Modern Town
19th Century: The Finca
and Cultural Challenges
the Town Today
Cautions for Western Visitors
Employment and Other Needs
Tourism and Crafts
Community: Cautions for Western Visitors
need to be aware of religious practices and behaviors so as not
to offend. Customs, practices, or behaviors on the part of the project
staff and other visitors might be considered offensive to people
in the research area, including inappropriate attire, excessive
consumption of alcohol, conspicuous personal comportment, and uninvited
photography or recording of individuals, sacred or otherwise restricted
sites, structures, ceremonies, and social events.
In general, given the violent history of Guatemala, which fell to
the abyss of genocide in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it is advisable
that politics not be discussed except in the most general and innocuous
manner. One never can be sure who was on this or that side of the
bloodshed, and, as in America and probably everywhere, Guatemalan
politics very much is a local matter, and it is personal, in the
sense that political activity consists of disputes and grievances
between different kinds of power. Disputes mostly draw their life
from and are resolved within the immediate community.
said, one should never underestimate the depth and sophistication
of Chocolenses’ cultural memories and sense of history, both
of which reach so deep that we from the West can only penetrate
them but a little.
are divided into gringos—Americans—and Europeanos. Western
visitors to Chocolá should accept these classifications good-humoredly
not only because acceptance almost always serves to break the ice
but it also signals that non-Chocolenses understand that they are
different, unusual, conspicuous, and odd in many ways.
Guatemalan politics are complex and
best left to the people of Guatemala.
Western visitors can be perceived as conspicuous and unusual