The Maya have many cool nicknames. The Greeks of the New World. Men of Maize. But you can add a more unfortunate moniker – the Children of Scorched Earth – to explain why they’re suddenly one of Florida’s fastest-growing immigrant communities.
The Maya are the largest indigenous group in the Americas, descendants of the glorious pre-Columbian civilization that occupied southern Mexico and northern Central America. Most live in Guatemala – where in recent decades they’ve faced one violent plague after another.
The last time I spoke with former Guatemalan strongman Efraín Ríos Montt, in 2003, he was running (unsuccessfully, thank God) for President—and he was delusional as ever.
Every bit as unhinged from reality as he’d been two decades before, during the darkest days of Guatemala’s 36-year-long civil war, when as military dictator from 1982-83, he led a “scorched earth” campaign that killed thousands of mostly indigenous Maya peasants.