The history of Guatemala is dominated by authoritarian and conservative governments. It is said that the country is presently transitioning toward democracy, yet the government, as well as the democratic system itself, continues to be structurally colonialist and racist. Guatemala's leaders have not realized the implications for the government and for civil society of the constitutional and political recognition of the country as multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multicultural. Further-more, Guatemalan political elites ask and expect that individual and collective members of society be multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, even when the government and its organs are not. The necessary transition, public as well as private, from mono-nationalism to multi-nationalism can be achieved, but it would be more efficient and consistent if the government would take heed of civil society.