The White House isn't alone in doing advance work for the President's trip to Latin America. Associated Press is already finding negative angles to highlight the Ugly American President's critics. Juan Carlos Llorca writes from Guatemala City:
Mayan priests will purify an ancient archaeological sites 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.
AP's Bill Cormier also worked in Senor Tiney's protest of Bush, Persecutor of the Migrants in his story lining up all the Bush-haters along the trip route after he finished summarizing the views of Venezuelan leftist Hugo Chavez and his supporters:
Anti-American and anti-Bush sentiment run high in the countries on Bush's tour, particularly over the war in Iraq and U.S. trade negotiations.
During his first stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, riot police fired tear gas and clubbed some protesters after more than 6,000 people held a largely peaceful protest march Thursday. Brazil's streets were calmer Friday, though 150 protesters burned a Bush effigy with a swastika on its shirt and a Hitler mustache penciled on its face.
In Argentina, many still blame Washington for tolerating the country's brutal military regimes of 1976-1983, when thousands of dissidents were tortured and killed. The organizers of Chavez's rally included Mercedes Merono of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group still searching for sons and daughters who vanished after being arrested under military rule.
"This counter-rally is extremely important," she said. "Bush seeks to take advantage of Latin America while Chavez supports the region's independence."
Police put down violent protests in Colombia in advance of Bush's visit there, and in Guatemala, Mayan leaders announced that Indian priests will purify the sacred archaeological site of Iximche to eliminate "bad spirits" after Bush visits there Monday.
"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," Guatemalan activist Juan Tiney said.
Bush wraps up his trip next week in Mexico, where a handful of protesters demonstrated Friday outside the U.S. Embassy.