Wednesday, February 27, 2013

No US aid to Guatemala!

There is something so powerful & so moving about the human refusal to forget or forgive the loss of loved ones who died under tyranny. Even decades later, victims come back to haunt justice in photographic displays & we have seen this in country after country. They will not be laid to rest until justice is served. But just as uncompromising are government attempts to thwart justice & put on dog & pony shows as substitution.

This is a photographic tribute in Guatemala City to the 200,000 Mayans executed & gunned down, disappeared, raped & tortured, subjected to atrocities too unspeakable to describe, forced to relocate & dispossessed of their ancestral lands during the killing field of 1960-1996. It is often referred to as a civil war but in fact it was a holocaust & a genocide by Guatemalan military & paramilitary death squads trained & equipped by the US Pentagon & CIA. Using a scorched earth policy, buildings were vandalized & demolished, crops destroyed, livestock slaughtered, water supplies contaminated, sacred places & cultural icons violated.

A Guatemalan judge has just ruled the US-backed dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt can stand trial on charges of genocide & crimes against humanity. The next legal hurdle is a three-judge panel who will decide whether to proceed to trial or exonerate Ríos Montt who’s already had nearly 20 years of impunity. The ruling is a positive development but it is not justice. Ríos Montt is nearly 87 years old & unlikely to see the inside of a jail cell since those within the Guatemalan government who colluded with his crimes will put up all kinds of resistance & impediments to his prosecution.

Most importantly, any real prosecution would necessarily be filing genocide charges against the US Pentagon & CIA--who are still in Guatemala doing their dirty work. Without calling the US government & all of their Guatemalan henchmen to account, this prosecution is not much more than a dog & pony show & by no means justice for the tens of thousands of Mayans who suffered unspeakable crimes & who survive to see justice not just denied but mocked.

No US aid to Guatemala! Withdraw all US military & mercenaries from Guatemala!

(Photo by Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)

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