Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guatemala: the latest expansion of our militarized foreign policy/drug war

Will Rogers once said the US would send the Marines to just about any country that could get together thirty people to ask for them.

I always thought he was kidding--should have known better.

President Obama is now sending 200 US Marines into "drug war" operations in Guatemala:
A team of 200 U.S. Marines began patrolling Guatemala’s western coast this week in an unprecedented operation to beat drug traffickers in the Central America region, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.
The US has a long, not very proud history of intervening in Guatemala, to the great sorrow of the people who live there:
The US has an ugly, bloody history in the region. In Guatemala, the Eisenhower administration imposed a military coup and then sent in the US military while fueling a violent civil war that left more than 200,000 people dead. The height of the bloodshed occurred under 1980s US ally and beneficiary RĂ­os Montt, during which the number of killings and disappearances reached more than 3,000 per month. Montt’s forces, with the help of his chief of staff Fuentes (recently brought to court for war crimes), slit the throats of women and children, beat innocent civilians and doused them in gasoline to be burned alive, tortured, and mutilated thousands of innocent indigenous peasants. The UN commission investigating the atrocities concluded it constituted acts of genocide. No inquiry into the culpability of US officials has been initiated.
Guatemala currently receives approximately $1oo million in aid annually from the U.S.despite a record of corruption and ties to the drug gangs. The former president, Alfonso Portillo, is in prison on charges of massive corruption. Scores of police chiefs, senior military commanders, and defense ministers have been indicted throughout an attempt to crack down on security forces with drug-trafficking ties.
The Kaibiles, the ruthless U.S.-trained Guatemalan state militia infamous for their role in killing civilians during Guatemala’s civil war, are being recruited in large numbers to violent Mexican drug gangs. Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel is paying large sums to a multitude of Kaibiles forces to pass on the training they received from the United States military. 
Of course nobody is going to talk about this during an election year, because the only criticism that Mitt Romney would make of this foreign policy is that we didn't send 500 Marines.

Even so-called right-wing "pro-defense" libertarians (who won't be covering this story) should be able to find little to love in an American foreign policy that does nothing for our national security except prop up our "war on drugs."

1 comment:

Dana Garrett said...

Outrageous. I can't wait for the day that some President will explicitly denounce the Monroe Doctrine and reverse it. If it happens, it probably won't be in my lifetime.