IN THE NEWS A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE

Hope for new progress in Guatemala

When Alvaro Colom takes office this month, he will be the first president of Guatemala to have won an election primarily through support from the rural population, including the 26 different Mayan groups that constitute 55 percent of the country's population.

Colom, an industrial engineer, who is also one of the few non-Indians to be trained in the rites of Mayan shamans, sees the spiritual and cultural diversity of his country as an asset. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, he said: "We need to learn to live together .... People see the existence of so many cultures in our country as a threat. But it's a resource and source of strength." These are hopeful words as he prepares to lead Guatemala to greater peace and social equality.

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