Guatemala is a country of Desaparecidos (disappeared) and La Antigua Guatemala is not an exception. These colorful and friendly street vendors and their traditional carts vanished without leaving a trace or even causing a murmur. These honest and hard-working people simply desaparecieron (disappeared). They are missing… and missed.
My friend and colleague Miguel De León Soto, who’s also an Antigua Guatemala lover, send us these photos because he’s outraged the municipal government has removed these typical street carts without consultation. He believes these carts not only provide much needed services and products, such as fresh fruits, but they are also an integral part of our identity, and important ingredient of what makes La Antigua Guatemala rich and colorful.
I agree with him!
Come on, where are we going to buy these fresh fruits now?
It seems that in an electoral year, the Mayor Adolfo Vivar should be careful about the things he does and upsets. It looks like this is not the only steps backwards or in the wrong direction that Muni (short for Municipalidad or City Hall) has taken recently. Today I also discovered that they have taken a mayor leap backwards by replacing their nearly usable and friendly website which I reported back on August 2010 with a horrendous and user unfriendly flash website.
We live in a world that moved forward, away from the horrible and unusable flash websites, which gave us the Web 2.0 back in 2002 and then the Social Media Networks back in 2005. We are humans and we love to communicate and share and that’s why websites that provide the tools and the means for these basic needs are very successful, websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, just to mention a few examples. On the other hand, most of the time flash websites are unusable, unfriendly, horrible to navigate and inhibit communication. The prevention of a dialogue should be reason enough to take down a flash website right away, especially if it’s a government office which is incompetently serving its constituents communication needs.
The reason I checked the Muni’s website in the first place was because I wanted to grab the mayor’s email address so we can write to him and let him know we are not happy with the removal of the traditional street carts as suggested by Miguel de León, but believe or not there’s no contact form or email for any of the offices or branches of the municipal government. In fact, the only email address available anywhere on the website is for the web developer.
I promise I will get the mayor’s email address so we can write to him. Stay tune, I will update this entry with his email address.
This is what reported on August 24, 2010:
New Blog and Twitter presence of Municipalidad de La Antigua Guatemala Aside: Finally the Municipalidad de La Antigua Guatemala is sporting new presence in Twitter as well as a new website. If you are in Twitter you can follow @MunideAntigua for all the latest official buzz.
Now, the new web site found at MunicipalidadAntiguaGuatemala.com leaves much to be desired. The new web site is poorly executed, with awkward navigation, horrible animations, partially translated into Spanish menus and a poor structure all around. There is no English version of the website to better serve its foreign community. In my humble opinion, the new web site is almost as bad as the one it replaces.
Furthermore, it’s my professional opinion that the Municipalidad de La Antigua Guatemala was poorly advised regarding its web site, its Twitter account, its new domain, et cetera.
Yes, even the new domain is the wrong choice. Instead of having a FREE or inexpensive .GOB.GT domain they have a U.S. commercial domain. Instead of having something simple as AntiguaGuatemala.gob.gt they have this cumbersome municipalidadantiguaguatemala.com business domain.
Nevertheless, I welcome the new steps the Municipalidad is taken to have a better web presence and communication with its citizens and the world. I just hope next time they hire someone with sufficient experience and knowledge to give them the website and presence that will benefit its citizens the most.
Photos by Miguel De León Soto. Check out Miguel’s Flickr gallery where he shares with us so many beautiful and touching images of La Antigua Guatemala.