It looks like the United States is again looking to become involved in the affairs of Guatemala. Our past involvement was a disaster of nearly epic proportions, with the CIA backing an insurgency against a democratically elected official that lead to 36 years of war and the loss of more than 200,000 lives. This time around we’re not supporting the revolution, but looking to put 200 Marines in the field to help fight against drug traffickers.
These troops will be patrolling the western coast of the country, looking for drug shipments. They will not, however, be actively engaging drug traffickers, instead reporting them to the Guatemalan navy so that they can move in and catch them. But despite this obviously different goal from the previous coup, America is catching some flak from critics who question their motives in the region.
Many believe that due to our past involvement in the horrors of the decades-long war, we simply don’t belong there. Others are saying that the corruption of Guatemala’s government and their poor record of human rights issues should prompt us to separate ourselves from the country’s government. Still others are claiming that this movement of troops was done without going through the proper channels, making it an illegal act. There are also rumors that Guatemala was in the process of making the move to legalize drugs but U.S. pressure prevented them.
It’s fairly obvious that our involvement is in the self-interest of our own anti-drug policies. But is it right to become involved with a country that violates human rights, even if it does further our own agenda? How much worse is this when we have no plans to do anything about the numerous other problems, only looking to what is immediately useful to us? It seems that we are doing little other than continuing our program of ignoring the plight of other people in favor or our own needs.