Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Guatemala Hires Otto Reich

So it seems the Guatemalan government is hiring Otto Reich to help change its image.

Otto Reich Assocs., under a subcontract with Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart, is working to "improve the perception, reputation and the understanding of the reality of Guatemala," according to the contract. 
Reich will help devise a strategy to "move forward on the change of narrative from Guatemala to Washington, allowing representatives of both North American political parties that are willing to abandon the reference of the Guatemala of the 1970s and 1980s," according to the pact, which is referring to the era when the country was rocked by civil war and rampant abuses of human rights. 
Reich also will advance military cooperation between Guatemala and the US.

There are multiple layers of irony here. Reich was a part of Ronald Reagan's Central America policy, which helped produce the problems we see today, and now he's being hired to make everyone forget that fact. He was also part of a 1980s policy of strong military engagement, and he's being hired to resurrect that, at least to some degree.

It makes sense, though, for Otto Pérez Molina to hire someone who has experience putting Central America on the policy map. That the outcome was disastrous for Guatemalans is not mentioned, though OPM assuredly considered it necessary in the war against Marxist subversion.

CEPR also links to the disclosure document. Somehow the Cold War just never fully goes away.


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