Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Country Readings - Guatemala 19.01

Well, I just finished reading about Panama, and thus concludes the subregion of the world Central America.  As such, I feel I should repeat some of my knowledge to make it stick better, and highlight a few of the interesting factoids.  Flags, capitals, and a few tidbits.

Central American comprises Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.  I'll do separate posts on the others in the future when I've tried more foods.

Guatemala: Country name means "Place of many trees", the capital is Guatemala City
Main crops - coffee, sugar, textiles, vegetables, bananas.  Mines produce gold, silver, zinc, cobalt and nickel.

 File:Flag of Guatemala.svg

Invaded by the Spanish, became independent in 1821, separated from the First Mexican Empire and formed a Federal Republic of Central America (including all but Belize), which disbanded in 1838.  There were mostly democratic elections up through 1954, when the US CIA orchestrated a coup against the government - officially to prevent a socialist Soviet government from being established, but historians attribute it to agrarian reform that would make US companies, particularly the United Fruit Company, lose profits.  Several coups and assassinations took place after, and in the 1970s two major guerrilla organizations formed - Guerrilla Arma of the Poor (EGP) and the Organization of the People in Arms (ORPA).  From the seventies until 1996, Guatemala was in a state of civil war.  Peace was brokered by the UN and millions of documents relating to crimes during the civil war have since come to light, which is challenging since many of the major players and perpetrators of crimes are currently in positions of power in the government still.  

Selected cuisines: I made Jocon, Hilachas, and Pepian de pollo, with fried plantains, corn tortillas, and black beans - the recipes weren't perfect but we got a sense for the flavors.  Tomatillos are definitely a big component!  Our favorite was the Jocon (with chicken).


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