De Guatemala a Guatepeor. (From Guate-bad to Guate-worse.) The acid Spanish pun captures the reflexive pessimism this beautiful, tormented Central American country evokes. The central event of modern Guatemalan history, a 1954 CIA-backed coup that halted land reform, precipitated a 36-year civil war, during which 200,000 people, many indigenous, were killed or disappeared. The repercussions still play out, de mal a peor, in poverty, drug violence, corruption, and impunity.