It became an industrial suburb and one of the principal economic engines behind Xela’s late 19th-century prosperity with the establishment of the Fábrica de Hilados y Tejidos de Cantel, which was somewhat like a modern- day sweatshop providing European technology and production methods to an already established weaving tradition. It began operations in 1883 and once employed 500 workers from Xela’s total population of 30,000 inhabitants.
The textile factory closed in 2008.
Today the town is better known as the site of the Copavic Glass Factory (Carretera al Pacífico, Km. 217.5, Cantón Pasac II, tel. 7763-8038, www.copavic.com), found along the road to Zunil and producing outstanding hand-blown glass made exclusively from recycled materials and exported around the world.
The factory is open for tours 10:30 a.m.– 1:30 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The sales floor is open 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday and 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com