The thing about organizing and carrying out a massive rally attended by tens of thousands of protesters—most of them Guatemalan peasants and manual laborers—is that you need money. Money for buses. Money for breakfasts. Money for water. Then there’s the money the protesters lost that day because they’re not selling tortillas, picking corn in the fields, or fixing potholes.
Yesterday morning, a reported 20,000 people came together in Guatemala City, the country’s capital, to demonstrate against the construction of hydroelectric power plants. They came from villages just an hour or two outside the city and from much, much farther away—six hours one way from Quetzaltenango, or eight to ten hours one way from the distant reaches of the department of Petén. They came crammed into old American school buses, as many as 100 to a bus. Many of them were coming to the capital for the first time in their lives.