Photographer's Note

San Pedro La Laguna, a town in Guatemala which has been called the "naughty village" or the "marijuana capital" of Lake Atitlán. The reason San Pedro La Laguna is considered the "naughty village" is because it has a very active night life with lots of parties, while most of the other villages around the lake are more about nature and meditating. But that's not all that goes on in town, many travelers visit to study at one of the Spanish schools, take time out in a solar pool, or a horse-ride to the top of Volcan San Pedro. This is also a coffee growing area and a backpacker destination.

But look around, and it's clear that it hasn't always been a place of party and leisure. As seen here, bullets have sprayed this home in the past. The Guatemalan Civil War spanned the years from 1960 to 1996, During this time San Pedro La Laguna remained relatively unaffected and unharmed by the surrounding violence despite. However, from the years of 1980 to 1982 there were a series of kidnappings and murders that took place and shook the community. At first the community was completely fear stricken as they didn't know who was behind these disappearances. As town gossip began to spread and tongues began to loosen it became known that the local military commissioners were, in fact, behind these actions. The local military spent their days in uniform posing as protectors of the community and their nights blacklisting and carrying out murders and kidnappings of local Pedranos. However, instead of blacklisting villagers for disloyalty to the army or for suspicion of collaborating with guerrillas (as was common), most often locals were blacklisted out of vengeance and greed. The military commissioners tried to fool the community by spreading guerrilla type leaflets around the village at night and placed guerrilla graffiti throughout the town. This continued for nearly two years and while it was known who was behind it, little could be done. However, in August 1982 the higher military suddenly came into the village and removed all of the military from the village. Not surprisingly to the locals, calm was quickly restored after their removal.

San Pedro La Laguna is located on the southwestern shore of Lago de Atitlán. The town is located beneath Volcan San Pedro. This volcano towers over the lake at 9,905 feet and is an attraction for climbers and hikers. The town of San Pedro La Laguna sits on a plateau and has roads running down either side of a steep ridge towards docks on the lakeshore. The dock on the west side of the plateau is called muelle municipal and has boats arriving from and departing to the town of Panajachel. The east side has a dock named muelle santiago which has boats arriving from and departing to Santiago Atitlan. The east side is also home to la playa (the beach) where people enjoy snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking

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Additional Photos by Alex Von Hagen (AVH) Silver Note Writer [C: 3 W: 0 N: 27] (120)
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