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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mayan Leaders to 'Cleanse' Site After Bush Visit

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala -- Mayan leaders will spiritually "cleanse" ancient ruins in Guatemala after a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush, unpopular here because of foreign policies going back to Central America's civil wars.

The leaders said they would hold a spiritual ceremony to restore "peace and harmony" at the Mayan ruins of Iximche after Bush tours the site Monday.

"No, Mr. Bush, you cannot trample and degrade the memory of our ancestors," said indigenous leader Rodolfo Pocop during a news conference. "This is not your ranch in Texas."

Bush is to arrive on Sunday night in Guatemala, his penultimate stop on a five-country tour of Latin America, where he has had low approval ratings. His visits sparked violent protests in Brazil and Colombia. Social groups are organizing marches against his visit to Guatemala.

On Friday, some 150 student protesters blocked off a street in Guatemala City near two U.S. fast food outlets, burning an American flag and setting off firecrackers.

The CIA helped overthrow a democratically elected socialist government in Guatemala in 1954 and U.S.-backed troops destroyed entire Mayan villages in a counterinsurgency campaign at the peak of Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war.

U.S. involvement in the war, which left nearly one-quarter of a million people dead or missing, makes Bush's presence in Guatemala offensive to the country's ethnic Mayan people, youth leader Jorge Morales Toj said.