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Wed Jul 30, 2014, 04:52 PM

How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis

AlterNet / By Gabriel M. Schivone

How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis

American policy in Guatemala has turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin.

July 28, 2014 |


For once the Republicans got it right. But not in the way they think. Indeed, President Obama carries the representative blame for the debacle (including reports of sadistic abuse by U.S. Border Patrol) of largely Central American migrant children long overwhelming shelters at the border. But the guilt is much broader, ranging from successive administrations all the way down to us, as American taxpayers.

Decades of U.S. policy in Guatemala alone have turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin. This is the ultimate reason migrants have been crossing into the United States in increasing numbers in recent months. Harsh immigration enforcement policies, such as the ones the Obama administration has been championing, add insult to injury as the U.S. punishes migrants when they arrive when it should be paying people like those of Guatemala massive reparations.

"They Owe It to Us"

It is indisputable that the U.S. shares significant responsibility for the genocide of tens of thousands of Guatemalans--mainly indigenous Mayans who comprised a majority of the (at least) 150,000 killed in the 1980s alone. A 1999 UN Truth Commission blamed Guatemalan state forces for 93 percent of the atrocities. That same year, former President Bill Clinton admitted the wrongness of U.S. support support for Guatemalan state violence.

U.S. culpability for Guatemala's plight endures to this day. The problem is--then and now--the United States is in denial as a nation over what to do about its complicity.

More:
http://www.alternet.org/world/how-us-backed-genocide-guatemala-drove-child-refugee-crisis

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 04:54 PM

1. Thank you, Judi Lynn, for being so faithful in

giving us something other than domestic news.

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Response to merrily (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 05:43 PM

3. I really hope some of them are useful, merrily. No reason politics should keep us ignorant

of what happens with our fellow human beings south of our border, most especially when what has happened to them to make their lives so much more painful has been accomplished using US tax dollars, and aided by across the board whitewashing by the US corporate "news" media.

Thank you for your kind words.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #3)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 05:45 PM

4. Your posts are both useful and interesting.

And you and posters like you have more than earned kind words. You are most welcome to them.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 05:40 PM

2. This goes back to Clinton, and earlier. It's not, however, for all of us US citizens to pay...

 

...there are a select few who profited from these atrocities and who engineered it.

Efforts should be made to bring them to justice and let any reparations come from their coffers.

It does, however, fall on us to be humanitarian and not xenophobic, the Maya are a proud people, it's truly a crime what's been done to them in the name of progress.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 05:54 PM

5. In the case of Guatemala, US gov't interests and commerical interests were combined

in 1954 when Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary of State and the head of his CIA, the Dulles Brothers were also totally invested, involved in the US corporation, United Fruit, (now known as Chiquita Banana) which literally controlled Guatemala, land, resources, railroads, etc.

The population of Guatemala elected their President Jacobo Arbenz, whom the United Fruit Company despised as he set about reforms which benefited the PEOPLE rather than United Fruit. You might want to look up the overthrow of President Arbenz by the United States military in 1954.

From that year on, a civil war ensued, during which time relentless persecution, torture, terrorism of the native population continued, using US-funded and provided weapons, artillery, helicopters, airplanes, military instructors, advisors, etc., etc., etc. in a constant program of genocide against the people of the country. Entire villages were invaded, burned to the ground, citizens tortured, raped, bludgeoned, burned alive, thrown live into wells to die, etc., etc., etc., creating a vast, screaming hell which lasted and lasted and lasted, and still lives on in the broken hearts and minds of those unlucky enough to have lived through even a moment of it.

What remains of that country today is a wreckage of a long-running war on humanity, and all done for greed and the abjectly vicious exercise of power against broken people who were struggling for their lives to not be destroyed.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 05:57 PM

6. Unfortunately, it is not always so easy to separate all citizens from the smaller sub-group of

"evildoers."

We bombed Afghanistan for allegedly harboring Osama, even as we admitted (claimed?) there were many "sleeper cells" withing the US and we ourselves had tried to chase Osama with lots of fancy technology not available to Afghanistan and we still lost him.

I don't think the people of Afghanistan got to vote on harboring Osama, though. But we held them accountable.

Bottom line: Even if it is not fair, we've been answering for the actions of the USG at least since 911 and may well continue to do so. And maybe, because we do vote, and do stand by, it is for us to answer.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 06:04 PM

7. And today, Ukraine is the new victim

 

and Ukraininans, with a touching naivete, are willing participants in the debouching of their nation, patrimony, hope and trust.

I do not want my country to be first among war criminals. This state of affairs must be changed.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 06:05 PM

8. Last week it was because of the Honduran coup n/t

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 06:38 PM

9. And the Salvadoran Civil War

All three acts have created a very violent atmosphere that lasted in two of those nations for decades later.

Is that hard to understand?

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 05:33 AM

10. The children are mostly Guatemalan AND Honduran!

This article is talking about the Guatemalans! Does that offend you--that most of these children are from countries where U.S. "war on drugs" militarism and U.S.-supported fascist governments have devastated civil society and the economy?

Can't face the facts, so you nitpick an article that lays out the facts on one of the two countries from which most of these child refugees come? Got anything substantial to say? Or is this just another one of these "hit-and-run," one-sentence posts that say nothing?

The children are coming mostly from two countries BOTH of which have suffered gross U.S. interference--a U.S.-supported fascist coup in Guatemala in 1954, and a subsequent genocidal fascist war, and a U.S.-supported fascist coup in Honduras in 2009, the coups compounded by brutal, on-going U.S. "free trade for the rich" and brutal, on-going U.S. militarism. In both cases, ELECTED, populist presidents were overthrown, because they supported labor rights for the poor--and the rightwing murders began, in order to eliminate obstacles--labor leaders, organized peasant farmers, community activists--who advocated for the poor. These societies have been destroyed, for the benefit of the United Fruit Company (Chiquita), and John McCain's telecommunications interests, and U.S. transglobal clothing corporations, and other rapacious financial and corporate interests.

Deliberately, systematically destroyed, by our own government in collusion with local fascists--and, if the truth were known, the corrupt, murderous, failed U.S. "war on drugs" has not only been used to militarize the police in order to protect corporate interests, it has also been used, a) to deliberately disrupt society and destroy human rights, and b) to keep the filthy lucre flowing through U.S. transglobal banksters and, very likely, through the CIA, the DEA and other "war on drugs" perps.

Another percentage of these child refugees comes from El Salvador--another scene of bloody mayhem perpetrated by the U.S. and U.S.-supported fascists. These kinds of wounds to society and to economies are not easily healed. They linger on from generation to generation, with legions of young people now living in bitter poverty, with no good choices and no hope.

Oh, yeah, they have ONE good choice and hope--TO GET OUT!

And you sneer at them for seeking a shit job in the United States--for seeking to bury themselves in obscurity here, with no citizenship and no rights, until, somehow, their countries, their homes, are safe again, and until, somehow, jobs are created, land is given back to peasant farmers, and it becomes possible to go home to something--other than poverty punctuated by brutality? You sneer at the emphasis on one or another--Honduran children, Guatemalan children, El Salvadoran children?

It is all these children, from very specific countries, each with a story of U.S. destruction of their society and its economy!

Is that what you're saying--that we should mention all of them, in every post? Have you done that? Please give us a link to your discussion of all the child refugees and where they come from and why?

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