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Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:16 PM

US Marines and the Drug War in Guatemala

US Marines and the Drug War in Guatemala
by Dawn Paley, Toward Freedom

GUATEMALA CITY — The news broke in the United States during the lazy summer days of late August: 200 US Marines were stationed in Guatemala as part of the war on drugs. The deployment of US combat troops to Guatemala was part of Operation Martillo, a military plan meant to disrupt cocaine trafficking routes that pass through Central America on their way from Colombia to the United States.
Fighting organized crime and drug trafficking is the most recent justification for US incursions in Guatemala, also serving to justify the increased activity of Guatemalan military around the country. This militarization is taking place in areas where there are fierce social and land conflicts related to the imposition of mega-resource extraction projects, such as in mining and oil industries. In addition, communities that resist displacement and the extractive industries have been tarred with accusations that they are involved in the organized crime; in some cases entire peasant villages have even been labeled "narco-communities."

"We have the sense that (fighting narcotrafficking) is a pretext to return to the level of military deployment that was maintained during the height of the armed conflict, which resulted in acts of genocide," said Iduvina Hernandez Batres, of the Guatemala City-based NGO Security and Democracy (Sedem). The Guatemalan army, which is still formally ineligible for receiving US military assistance, was responsible for the vast majority of the 200,000 killed and the 50,000 disappeared during the internal armed conflict, which officially ended in 1996.

The Guatemalan army was called upon "to put an end to the external threats and contribute to neutralizing illegal armed groups by means of military power," by Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina the day after his inauguration in January 2012. Pérez Molina, a former General and head of army intelligence, also promised to increase military spending. So far, he has kept his promise. According to Plaza Publica, a Guatemalan investigative journalism outlet, projected spending on military and security equipment in 2013 alone will surpass all such spending between 2004 and 2012.

The arrival of US Marines in Guatemala represents more than a military maneuver to disrupt drug trafficking. It demonstrates that in allied countries like Guatemala, the US can champion a military invasion under the discourse of the war on drugs with little fanfare or criticism. The deployment of US troops to Guatemala is arguably the most blatant example of an evolving strategy that the US military establishment is betting on in order to expand and exercise control in the hemisphere, all within an international framework of formal democracy and law and order.


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Reply US Marines and the Drug War in Guatemala (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
pscot Feb 2013 #1
Peace Patriot Feb 2013 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 04:31 PM

1. It just never stops

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 11:11 PM

2. The U.S. "war on drugs" is evil, evil, EVIL! There is NOTHING good about it!

It is not only corrupt and murderous, it is a FAILED POLICY. It's been going on for forty years now--at the cost of trillions of our tax dollars and tens of thousands of lives, whether by unjust imprisonment, or direct U.S. murder (such as the DEA agents who recently blew away some innocent Indigenous tribespeople boating down a creek in remote Honduras), or U.S. murder by proxy for certain aims (for instance, the thousands of labor union leaders and other advocates of the poor murdered by the U.S. funded/trained Colombia military, as prep for U.S. "free trade for the rich), or U.S. murder by proxy to create social mayhem (for instance, to disrupt civil life and leftist political organizing in Mexico) or dozens of other major harms, at home and abroad--and with all this expense of treasure and life, there is no letup in the flow of illicit drugs or the criminal organizations that control this revenue and commit other crimes as well (murder, terrorism, "protection" rackets and so forth). One such organization in Colombia put their mafia boss, Alvaro Uribe, in power as the president, with the help of the Bush Junta, the U.S. military and the U.S. "war on drugs."

It is a completely failed and egregiously evil policy. It DOES NOTHING to reduce crime; it fosters crime by orders of magnitude. And it is made to order for egregiously evil purposes--including the brutal displacement of FIVE MILLION peasant farmers from their lands in Colombia (more prep for U.S. "free trade for the rich", the "training" of "foreign persons" IN COLOMBIA, by Blackwater, "for use in Iraq and Afghanistan" (for which they received a slap-on-the-hand fine a couple of years ago), the militarization and smashing of democracy in Honduras, the use of cocaine-funded rightwing death squads to kill labor union leaders and others in Colombia, Honduras and probably elsewhere, the above-mentioned use of the "war on drugs" to criminalize entire communities and regions that are fighting the good fight on environmental and resource issues, and--one of my theories--the Bush Junta's use of the "war on drugs" in Colombia to consolidate the cocaine trade and better direct its trillion+ dollar revenue stream to U.S. banksters and others.

Totally failed. Totally corrupt. Totally evil. No redeeming features. None!

It should be no surprise that the Pentagon has a use for it.

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