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A view of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. (USAID Guatemala via Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I was standing on a hill overlooking Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in early March of 2020 when I first heard the word “remittances.” My guide and I were discussing the potential for the U.S. to invest money to help protect and restore the massive lake, a speculative idea in my mind, but one worth talking about. My guide then told me about remittances, and how the U.S. economy is already sending billions of dollars to Guatemala every year.

Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Surrounded by volcanoes, the massive lake’s high-altitude waters, and shores dotted with villages selling gorgeous authentic arts and crafts, make it an attraction beckoning tourists from across the planet.


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Unfortunately, the lake is also…

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