Friday, December 21, 2012

The Mayan apocalypse 2012

In BBC news, this photo by Reuters was captioned, “Indigenous people in Guatemala have taken advantage of international attention to highlight their plight,” with no explanation of what that “plight” might be. The Mayan apocalypse didn’t occur in the sense of a final destruction of the world but in the other sense of the word--destruction of a catastrophic scale--the Mayans have been enduring it for centuries. In the last 60 years, this apocalypse has the character of holocaust & genocide involving paramilitary death squads & a murderous Guatemalan army trained by US special forces, the CIA, US soldiers, & backed to the hilt by the US Pentagon in the form of equipment, technology, & training.

The BBC didn’t bother to identify that the Mayans in this photo are standing in front of Tikal, one of the largest archaeological sites of Mayan civilization located in the Petén Basin of northern Guatemala. US military policy in Guatemala in league with the Guatemalan military, has made the country a “killing field,” with Petén being an epicenter. For decades, extreme violence against Mayans has been the norm but in the 1980s, the Guatemalan military & paramilitary executed & gunned down tens of thousands, disappeared tens of thousands, raped & tortured tens of thousands of women & children as a weapon of war, perpetrated crimes too unspeakable to describe, & dispossessed thousands from their lands. Using a scorched earth policy, buildings were vandalized & demolished, crops destroyed, livestock slaughtered, water supplies contaminated, & sacred places & cultural icons violated.

The latest US military ventures in Guatemala include the deployment of US combat troops along with mercenaries hired by the Pentagon (Aug 2012) under the guise of the so-called war on drugs. Under the deployment agreement signed with the Guatemalan government, US soldiers & mercenaries are granted immunity from prosecution in Guatemala if injury or death to civilians result from the operation. In other words, they can slaughter with impunity--& they will.

Now the hitch in the official narrative is that the Guatemalan army is widely documented to be long involved in drug trafficking--including the top brass, intelligence officials, &  an entire catalogue of subordinates. Since some of this documentation is from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), it’s unlikely the Pentagon is unaware of this. So rather than disrupting cocaine trafficking routes from Colombia through Central America & Mexico to the US, perhaps the US troops are there to facilitate trafficking.

Guatemalan activists are especially concerned about three new military bases. They have serious cause for concern: the location of the bases is in regions of fierce opposition to land grabs for the purpose of major extraction projects like mining, oil exploration, & hydroelectric dams. Communities actively resisting these projects & the consequent displacement of thousands of people are labeled as “narco-communities,” centers of drug trafficking to justify the presence of the military. In Petén, they are sustaining an expansion of oil exploration by multinational companies.

The people of Guatemala, including especially the Mayans, have stood alone long enough. The forces of solidarity in the US are far too small to stay the hand of a US military policy which sanctions & abets genocide. The media reports about Guatemala being the rape & femicide capital of the world are part of justifying that genocide by making it appear the men of Guatemala are all savages. But we now know rape is a weapon of war & the perpetrators are soldiers & mercenaries trained & bankrolled by the US Pentagon. It is time for large numbers to demand the US get out of Guatemala & out of drug trafficking. It is time to prosecute & hold to account those in the Pentagon & White House who carry out these unspeakable crimes in the name of the American people.  (Photo by William Gularte)

1 comment:

  1. I have learned the people in this photo are Q'eqchi' (or Kekchi) from Cobán, Alta Verapaz, the department/province south of Petén. The Q'eqchi' are one of the Maya peoples of Guatemala. Over the centuries they have geographically dispersed as a result of colonial and imperialist pressures. What the BBC did not note is that in this photo they are not merely ‘drawing attention to their plight’; they are protesting that plight, which given the history of genocide against them is an extremely courageous thing. They came to the Tikal Mayan ruins a day before the Oxlajuj Baktun celebration in order to hold this protest.