INTRODUCTION: Guerilla violence in Guatemala is increasing.
GV TILT DOWN & SV Tourist hotel.
SV Cars outside hotel.
CU PULL BACK GV Another hotel, with swimming pool and tables. (2 SHOTS)
GV Tennis courts with one game in progress.
CU PULL BACK GV Costa Del Sol Restaurant and bar with no customers.
SV INTERIOR Band playing to empty restaurant.
GV Roadside steak houses. (3 SHOTS)
GV Restaurant entrance.
GV TRACKING SHOT Empty pavement.
GV TRACKING SHOT Traffic on street.
GV PAN Policeman searching vehicles while police with riffles stand guard.
GV Armed police on guard on roadside.
GV Police search more vehicles. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Guerilla violence in Guatemala is increasing. A wave of beaming and shooting attacks by left-wing guerrillas has been met with a violent counter-campaign by government and paramilitary forces. Military communiques have spoken of as many as 50 deaths in a single day. Among those to die in recent attacks was the country's chief of police. Last year, political violence claimed about 3,000 lives. This year, there are fears the figure will be higher. The troubles are causing serious economic problems. One of the hardest-hit sections of the economy is Guatemala vital tourist industry.
SYNOPSIS: In better times ,hotel like this could expect to be nearly full,as thousand of tourists, mainly American, went south for a holiday of summer sun under the palm trees. In 1979, more than half a million tourists came to Guatemala, bringing with them valuable foreign currency. But 1981 has seen the collapse of this lucrative trade.
The reason is the resign tide of guerrilla violence. And as the tourists stay away, restaurants like this prepare for hard times.
The band sets the scene, but no-one is there to enjoy it. In a country with a per capita income of just 900 dollars a year, restaurateurs badly need foreign customers. Tourism has been traditionally Guatemala's third largest foreign exchange earner after coffee and cotton.
In the first six months of this year, tourism was 40 percent lower than during the same period in 1979. And there were widespread fears the it will continue to decline. The American State Department has officially warned North American tourists not to go to Guatemala because it is unsafe. In August, an American businessman an American priest were murdered here. There have ben reports of guerrillas capturing tourists and lecturing them on politics. One such indecent occurred at the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, and was followed by a shootout during which two guerrillas died.
Armed police are trying to contain the rebels. But violence is continuing. But violence is continuing, as uncertainty hangs over the nation.