Great, great writing about a trek into the Peten with James Fitzsimmons, to save archaeological artifacts. Captures the atmosphere, the politics, ecological disaster, local tensions, ancient and modern history of the region. Masterful. Great work, Chris!
Another chapter in Ron Canter's work on Maya trade routes. Complete text can be read by clicking More.MORE...
The president of Guatemala said he will send the army to take back the biosphere reserve from the drug traffickers who have set up bases throughout the Peten. He did not say how many troops he would send.
A new essay by Ron Canter on the Soconusco trails (water and land) between present-day Chiapas and the Guatemalan Highlands. These were major trade routes in Classic Maya times. Click below for the full essay.MORE...
Discovered by Stephen Houston's team in May of this year.
(Latest notes from Ron Canter)
RIO TZACONEJA [Tzajalob] approx. 24 km, in two segments, may be navigable
Though the river is all whitewater in its several canyons, two
sections of the Rio Tzaconeja may have been navigable in the past. The
headwaters were not. They funnel into fault-controlled Encajonado Huistan,
which runs straight east for 30 km to Cerro Chajlib. In the last 10 km
from Naranjal to the Altamirano bridge, Class 3 and 4 rapids are frequent,
with a couple of portages at bad spots (Mayan Whitewater, 2010).
This dates back to the beginning of my involvement in the dam issue, and the beginning of this blog. But I don't think I ever posted it. Thanks to Ron Canter for bringing it to my attention.
Friedman's take on the changes needed in Mexico.
The state of the drug war in the north. In the Maya region, the traffic flows unimpeded around us, but we have not seen the violence of other parts of the country.
Guatemala has requested that the U.S. lift the embargo on military aid that has been in place since the 80's. They emphasize that they are not asking for arms, but for vehicles like fast boats with which they could patrol and intercept narcotraffickers.
Ron Canter continues his study of Maya watersheds with an important article on the Grijalva River, which begins near the Guatemala border, winds through the States of Chiapas, and Tabasco, to join with the Usumacinta and empty into the Gulf of Mexico. It has long since been exploited for hydroelectric power, drowning innumerable and now unknowable ancient settlements. It is a hint of what could happen if the Usumacinta dams are ever built.
Ron's full article can be read by clicking "More". The photo above shows the Grijalva, at the site of San Isidro, in 1981 as the river is rising due to new dams.MORE...
5 million pesos does not seem like much to clean up pollution and trash in the river, but it's better than nothing. The Usumacinta drains an enormous area of Guatemala and Mexico, getting contamination from trash and agricultural chemicals along the way.
The Zetas, Mexican ex-military drug traffickers, are training members of the Salvadoran gangs to work in drug transshipments through northern Guatemala. The training took place in Laguna del Tigre, the biosphere reserve in the Peten.
Via Elaine Schele
Friend ALonso Mendez just sent a dispatch from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where in the last 20 days an enormous "algae bloom" (actuallu mats of cyanobacteria) has covered much of the lake. It is a problem that has been coming for a long time, due to human sewage problems and neglect and corruption among the officials charged with improving the treatment plants.
They have come a long way but still need your help. Every donation will be matched by a challenge grant they have received.
Thanks to Charles Golden for pointing out the new, higher resolution imaging of the Usumacinta watershed in Google Earth. Downside? You can see clearly the extent of the deforestation around the Yaxchilan oxbow in the Sierra del Lacandon Park on the Guatemalan side.
An inspiring day yesterday at Open Mobile Camp 09, particularly meeting the team from Trinity College working on the POSIT system under HFOSS.
The President of Mexico will inaugurate an electrical station that will transfer power to Guatemala.
Story of Alpacka packrafts, like the one I had until we were robbed on the Usumacinta. But that's a long story. I did buy a new one. Great fun.
Yeah, uh, maybe not this year. But this is a good post for my little-used Scribe category.
Lawsuits against four companies, including Halliburton. This article has a good description of what happened, and the plaintiff's claims of why it happened - faulty consulting as to the condition of the seabed in the area the rig was installed.
Sarah Grainger of Reuters is doing some excellent reporting on Guatemala.
See the latest:
So said the president of Guatemala after a forum in Chile. A sidebar on this news page notes that he has also called for a quintupling of oil production in the country.