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Reply #108: The Dea, CIA, DoD, & Narcotrafficking [View All]

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PhilipShore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-10-07 01:04 PM
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108. The Dea, CIA, DoD, & Narcotrafficking
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The U.S. Military and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are at it again, this time in Guatemala. The State Department’s recently released 2003 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report states that Guatemala has become “the preferred Central American staging point for cocaine shipments northwards to Mexico and the United States.” That Guatemala is a major transport route for illegal drugs is nothing new and neither is the DEA’s presence here. However, what is new and troubling is the U.S. government’s recent overtures of military aid towards Guatemala and the reimplementation of Plan Mayan Jaguar, a joint DEA-Department of Defense project that sets no limit on the number of U.S. military and DEA personnel that could be deployed in Guatemala on joint anti-narcotrafficking operations. Add to this the familiar irony that many of the drug kingpins in the country benefited from previous trainings by either the DEA or the CIA and all the pieces are in place for more chaos and disaster in this latest chapter in the war on drugs.

What role does the DEA and the U.S. military have to play in this debacle? During the 1980s, the U.S. military and the CIA played an active support role in Guatemala’s transition from military to civilian rule. This transition was orchestrated by the Guatemalan military seeking to maintain power behind the scenes while creating a sense of legitimacy for the Guatemalan government through the appearance of democracy. The Guatemalan military was aided in this project by U.S. agencies whose main objective was not to do anything about the Guatemalan military’s continuing human rights abuses, but rather to “professionalize” the force. This idea of creating an efficient, though not necessarily just, military apparatus and later police force, was taken up by the DEA in its attempts to control the flow of drugs through the country. This desire for efficiency led the DEA, the CIA, and the DoD to collaborate with the country’s military intelligence, a move that proved to be the equivalent of striking a deal with the devil. The criminal element in the country’s military intelligence—a Guatemalan institution that has excelled in the art of forced disappearance, torture, and assassination—used the support of these U.S. agencies to their own benefit, becoming heads of narcotrafficking cartels and key players in the hidden network that is the real power in Guatemala.

This power dynamic had become so entrenched and the government’s relationship with narcotrafficking so obvious that at the beginning of 2003 the U.S. government decertified Guatemala as a country active in the fight against drug trafficking. Plan Mayan Jaguar appeared to be suspended indefinitely and even the continuation of a type of military aid known as Expanded IMET seemed to be in jeopardy. Guatemalan human rights activists cheered the move as a condemnation of the country’s rampant corruption and deteriorating human rights situation. But the decertification lasted less than a year. By September 2003, Plan Mayan Jaguar was back on track. By February 2004, the Guatemalan Congress broadened the mandate of Plan Mayan Jaguar to allow more U.S. troops in Guatemala to conduct joint counternarcotraffic patrols with Guatemalan officials, a move that was opposed by some Guatemalan politicians who see the plan as a threat to Guatemalan sovereignty.
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