Sunday, November 11, 2018

What US Aid Does in Guatemala

Great story by Sandra Cuffe at The Intercept on U.S. military aid to Guatemala. Ostensibly it's just about jeeps, but that reveals a deeper problem. And not really new. The U.S. pours money into small, less developed countries, and ends up making things worse, in no small part because the aid ends up helping authoritarian forces.

Roughly two hours after the jeeps were first spotted outside the offices of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala — CICIG, by its Spanish acronym — Morales stood inside the National Palace flanked by military and police officials and announced that he would not renew CICIG’s mandate, sparking legal challenges, protests, and an ongoing political crisis. The deployment of the jeeps deepened concerns among many Guatemalans about Morales  — all the more so when the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala revealed that the vehicles had been donated by the United States for use in border regions, not the capital. Morales and his backers have been courting the support of the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers against CICIG, and there are signs that the U.S. government’s longstanding support for the commission is weakening.
Jeeps alone are not the point. It's more about what green lights the U.S. government, meaning the Trump administration, is giving. These days the message is that you can use our aid to fight against democracy. We don't mind. In fact, we do not particularly like fighting corruption anymore.

Jimmy Morales is a sycophant to Trump and so this and other incidences will go unremarked by the administration. Guatemalan democracy--already in tatters--will suffer as a result.


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