I am deeply grateful to the people who are at the heart of this book: the
girls and boys, young women and men, parents, street educators, social
workers, and neighborhood residents in Guatemala City with whom I have
spoken and spent time over many years. I particularly wish to acknowledge
the Barrios Santos and the Estrada Sulecio families in Quinta Samayoa,
Zone 7. In addition, talks with psychiatrist Rodolfo Kepfer as well as the
observations of the late Padre Manolo Maquieira, sj, have been fundamen-
tal, as my notes suggest. I especially give my appreciation to three passion-
ate and thought- provoking researchers with whom I worked in the mid-
1980s: Julio César Cano, Marta Yolanda Maldonado Castillo, and the late
Nora Marina Figueroa.
I thank Guatemala City. Its sights, sounds, secrets, protests, jokesters,
gimnasios, calles, corners, and avenidas—and most of all that rowdy queen of
avenidas, La Sexta before it got all fixed up—have had a part in this. I could
not have written a word or had one idea without my incessant imagining of
interiors and exteriors and the forever- renewed coming and going of people
and traffic, rain and sun.
I wish to thank Clara Arenas, Avi Chomsky, the Guatemalaquistas Diane
Nelson, Jim Handy, Greg Grandin, and Carlotta McAllister, U.S. historian
Lynn Johnson, and medievalist Robin Fleming for graciously reading and
commenting on drafts of this manuscript and giving me excellent advice,
most of which I took. Of course, the errors are all mine.
I also want to express my thanks to Mercedes Barrios, Álvaro Caballe-
ros, Juan Carlos Martínez, Herbert Sánchez, Álely Pinto, Liz Oglesby, Paula
Worby, Luis Solano, Aníbal López, José Santos García Noval, Gustavo Palma,
Linda Green, Davarian Baldwin, Beth Rosen, Anneliza Tobar Estrada, Arturo
Echeverría and the staff of Casa Alianza, Helvi Mendizábal, Juan Carlos Ma-
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