Tag Archives: Guatemala

Guatemala: The Human Rights Nightmare That Is the US Drug War, by James Bovard

The wars on drugs, poverty, and terrorism have all been spectacular failures, which in Washington means they’ve developed a constituency both inside and outside the government that presses for their perpetuation and funding. From James Bovard at mises.org:

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala earlier this week to bestow millions of dollars in new foreign aid on that government. The Biden administration is pretending that giving more US tax dollars to Central American governments will miraculously reduce the surge of illegal immigrants that Biden’s appointees are welcoming in Arizona, Texas, and elsewhere. The purpose of Harris’s trip and the new handouts is not to solve that problem but simply to make the Biden administration appear to give a damn about the issue.

In her official statements during the visit, Harris included no admission of how the US drug war has been a pox on Guatemala. Her silence was no surprise considering Joe Biden’s nearly half century of fanaticism for that pointless crusade.

I learned about the wreckage of US drug policies when I visited Guatemala in 1992. I had been writing articles bashing drug prohibition for almost a decade at that point. But before that trip, I had only vague notions of the ravages being inflicted on hapless foreigners.

I went to Guatemala to give a couple speeches on the follies of protectionist trade policy, spurred by the publication the previous year of my book The Fair Trade Fraud (St. Martin’s Press). I was hosted by the president of Francisco Marroquín University, Manuel Ayau, a genial yet fearless fighter for free markets. I didn’t realize until I arrived that Ayau had recently been the presidential candidate of the “party of organized violence” and was on several left-wing “death lists.” Guatemala had shortages of almost everything except political assassinations. Ayau, a compact dynamo, was hepped up because he’d just gotten a laser sighting attachment for his Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry caliber .44 Magnum. As his chauffeur-bodyguard drove us around the capital city, Ayau trained that red dot on all sorts of targets. I was happy I was sitting behind him.

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Coming to Terms With the US Role in Central America, by César Chelala

The US doesn’t have clean hands in Central America, and its interventions there have something to do with the flow of people trying to cross the southern border.  From César Chelala at antiwar.com:

On March 11, 1999, President Bill Clinton took an unprecedented step. During a four-nation visit to Central America, he expressed regret for the role the United States had played in a brutal counter-terrorism campaign that had caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Guatemala’s civil war.

President Clinton’s apology followed the publication of the findings of an Independent Historical Clarification commission, which concluded that U.S. government support to the Guatemalan military was responsible for most of the human rights abuses committed during the 36-year war in which 200,000 people died.

The human rights abuses were also detailed in The Guatemala Truth Commission report which was coordinated by Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was brutally murdered. According to the report, children were killed, abducted, forcibly recruited as soldiers and sexually abused. Fetuses were cut from their mothers’ wombs and young children were thrown alive into pits.

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