Mayan Priests to purify site after Bush visit


Richard Moore

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Priests to purify site after Bush visit
Updated: 2007-03-10 09:35

GUATEMALA CITY - Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to 
eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with 
close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the 
United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred 
lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the 
director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan 
religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday
in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site
Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country 
populated mostly by Mayans.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be 
necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that
their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites -- which entail 
chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles-- would prepare the site for the
third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Bush's trip has already has sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, 
including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. 
In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush will visit on Sunday, 200 masked students 
battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.

The tour is aimed at challenging a widespread perception that the United States 
has neglected the region and at combatting the rising influence of Venezuelan 
leftist President Hugo Chavez, who has called Bush "history's greatest killer" 
and "the devil."

Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City, was founded as the 
capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.

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