It is always something here in Guatemala; there is always some problem with causes (and more importantly, solutions) unknown. At the moment there seems to be a shortage of cash in the country. ATMs are out of it, and banks are rationing the amount they will give out to people to Q500 (about $65) per day. On my budget that is little more than an inconvenience, but I imagine there are some tourists who are in a bit of a bind.
Some think tourists, and other ATM users, are to blame, that they have simply withdrawn too much, too fast. Others think it is a conspiracy to make the current administration look bad. Presidential elections are less than a year away, and already candidates are campaigning. Weird things happen in election years.
I asked the guy at the bank what the cause of the cash shortage was and he simply shrugged and said it was a national problem. He was confidant that the flow of money would resume after New Year’s.
In the meantime, the newspaper suggests people use cash sparingly. Residents and upscale tourists can use their credit cards, but the places budget travelers frequent often do not take credit cards. It is almost like the old days when credit cards and ATMs weren’t even available here. Two steps forward, one step back.