U.S. responsible for strife in Guatemala


On December 29, 1996, the Civil War officially came to an end in Guatemala. Guatemala's 26-year Civil War was the longest and deadliest in Central America, claiming the lives of up to 150,000 unarmed civilians.

The U.S. needs to take responsibility for its role in the Civil War in Guatemala. In 1954, the CIA ousted the popularly elected government of Jacobo Arbenz. The U.S. involvement effectively ended the era which Guatemalans yearningly refer to as the "10 years of springtime", when their country was actively involved in a democratic and modernizing capitalist revolution. The U.S. involvement ended the governmental progress due to the business interests of an American banana company. The U.S. ushered in the storms to put an end to the Guatemalan's "10 years of springtime" for an overwhelmingly important national security issue ... BANANAS?!

In response to the military regime, empowered after U.S. involvement, the Guatemalans, feeling lost and disenchanted, began their Civil War six years later. Up until 1995, the U.S. supplied the military with the arms partially responsible for the deaths of 150,000 unarmed, innocent civilians.

The U.S. is the only international player with the leverage in Guatemala to push for demilitarization and investigations into the myriad of human rights abuses. Even after the signing of the various peace accords insuring safety to abuse investigators, the investigations are repeatedly hindered by security forces and even state agencies responsible for the investigations. Prosecutors, juries, human rights workers, victims' families, and police involved in the investigations continue to receive death threats, to be physically attacked, and even to be murdered.

As citizens of the U.S., we have a responsibility, due to our history of involvement in Guatemala, to ensure that the lives lost in the Civil War are accounted for and investigated and that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice.

By (letter)
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 16, 1997

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