A top DEA official is claiming that Guatemala is at risk of becoming a "mini-Colombia."
In addition, the recent arrests of Guatemala’s top drug investigator and two of his deputies, along with evidence that suggests Guatemala’s military is involved in drug trafficking and running cartels has led to calls from Guatemala’s government to the U.S. for help.
"Guatemalan government officials have seized on this to suggest that the country needs a ‘Plan Guatemala’, akin to ‘Plan Colombia’, the U.S. counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency initiative that has ploughed millions of dollars into Colombia."
Guatemalan President Oscar Berger is also asking for a permanent DEA station in the country as well as an extension of an agreement that allows the U.S. military to conduct anti-narcotic operations in the country. There are already plans for U.S., Colombian and Canadian agents to train 200 members of Guatemala’s National Police.
Ironically, despite all of the crime and impunity associated with Guatemala’s military and police regarding drug trafficking, the country is already the largest recipient of U.S. aid for counter-narcotics and law enforcement in Central America and serves as the regional center that provides technical support, training and equipment to neighboring countries.
These recent developments in Guatemala, along with the plans to open a counter-narcotic "School of the Americas" in El Salvador and talk of a regional rapid deployment force to combat drug trafficking and terrorism, reveals that the region could return to its bloody, militarized past. Innocent people, often poor and indigenous, will run the risk of being killed and tortured in the name of fighting terrorism and drugs, which replace the "threat of communism" that served as an excuse for murder and human rights violations in the 1980’s.
But who knows, with the recent shift to the left in many Latin American countries, fighting "communism" could even be thrown back into the mix.