The War On Democracy: Guatemala & Otto Perez Molina

Although former Gen. (and SOA/WHINSEC graduate) Otto Perez Molina does not have enough votes at this stage he has support from the Empire (and The National Association of Evangelical Ministers of Guatemala!). That the Economist compares him to Uribe in Colombia while whitewashing his past kind of tells you where this is going. Worst of all Guatemalans who try to escape and find work in the US are being treated terribly and in some cases murdered. Some discussion here from Kyle & commenters at Immigration Orange-

Otto Perez has been using “Mano Dura” rhetoric to gain votes but it does the country no good. I love this letter the Guatemalan Solidarity Network published. In short, the author says that the frontrunner is a narco, Alvaro Colom, in second place is a human rights disaster, Otto Perez, and in third place you have the party of the elite bourgeoise, Alejandro Giammattei. Hilarious

‘Mano Dura’ is the right wingers strong arm ‘hard hand’ brand to say they will be tough on crime, they also favour an orange colour scheme (which rings some bells).

Guatemalans have cast their ballots in presidential and parliamentary elections, after one of the bloodiest campaigns in the country’s history. More than 50 candidates, activists and their relatives were murdered in the run-up to the polls. Mr Colom, who is running for the presidency for the third time in a row, promised to overhaul the security forces and the judicial system, which many criticise for being slow, corrupt and inefficient.

Mr Perez Molina pledged to increase the size of the police force by 50% and revive the death penalty. Of the 14 presidential candidates, Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchu is the best-known internationally, but she was trailing far behind the front-runners.

Guatemala has one of the most unequal distributions of income in the Western Hemisphere. Furthermore, in the wake of President Bush’s visit to the country in May, a new interest in large-scale ethanol production was ignited which is likely to lead to an even greater degree of the concentration of wealth….Guatemala is strategically positioned in the heart of the Western Hemisphere, with access to both the Atlantic and the Pacific…

COL Otto Perez Molina, 1985, Command and General Staff College
(Commandant’s List)
Assassination, 1994: Chief of the G-2 (military intelligence) and on the
payroll of the CIA, Perez Molina
was in charge in 1994, when the General Staff was implicated in the
assassination of Judge Edgar Ramiro
El?as Ogaldez. (Allan Nairn, The Nation, 4/17/95)

General Pérez Molina was a commander in the Guatemalan intelligence agency (known as D-2 or G-2) and the head of a covert branch of the Presidential General Staff known as the EMP. Both the G-2 and the EMP have been implicated in some of the worst human rights abuses perpetrated during the war, a fact well documented by human rights organizations around the world. Pérez Molina has been linked to several massacres and assassinations – including those of journalist and politician Jorge Carpio Nicolle, Judge Edgar Ramiro Elías Ogaldez, and guerrilla leader Efraín Bámaca.

Col. Otto Perez Molina, who now runs the Presidential General Staff and oversees the Archivo, was in charge in 1994, when, according to the Archbishop’s human rights office, there was evidence of General Staff involvement in the assassination of Judge Edgar Ramiro Elias Ogaldez. The third, Gen. Francisco Ortega Menaldo, who now works in Washington as general staff director at the Pentagon-backed Inter-American Defense Board, was G-2 chief in the late 1980s during a series of assassinations of students, peasants and human rights activists. Reached at his home in Florida, Jack McCavitt said he does not talk to journalists. When asked whether Ortega Menaldo was on the C.I.A. payroll, he shouted “Enough!” and slammed down the phone.

North American C.l.A. operatives work inside a Guatemalan Army unit that maintains a network of torture centers and has killed thousands of Guatemalan civilians. The G-2, headquartered on the fourth floor of the Guatemalan National Palace, has, since at least the 1960s, been advised, trained, armed and equipped by U.S. undercover agents. Working out of the U.S. Embassy and living in safehouses and hotels, these agents work through an elite group of Guatemalan officers who are secretly paid by the C.I.A. and who have been implicated personally in numerous political crimes and assassinations.

These crimes are merely examples of a vast, systemic pattern; likewise, these men are only cogs in a large U.S. government apparatus. Colonel Hooker, the former D.I.A. chief for Guatemala, says, “It would be an embarrassing situation if you ever had a roll call of everybody in the Guatemalan Army who ever collected a C.I.A. paycheck.” Hooker says the agency payroll is so large that it encompasses most of the army’s top decision-makers.

“If the G-2 wants to kill you, they kill you,” former army Chief of staff Gen. Benedicto Lucas Garcia once said. “They send one of their trucks with a hit squad and that’s it.” Current and former G-2 agents describe a program of surveillance backed by a web of torture centers and clandestine body dumps. In 1986, then-army Chief of Staff Gen. Hector Gramajo Morales, a U.S. protege, said that the G-2 maintains files on and watches “anyone who is an opponent of the Guatemalan state in any realm.” A former G-2 agent says that the base he worked at in Huehuetenango maintained its own crematorium and “processed” abductees by chopping off limbs, singeing flesh and administering electric shocks.

Three recent Guatemalan heads of state confirm that the C.I.A. works closely with the G-2. Last year, when I asked Gen. Oscar Humberto Meiia Victores (military dictator from 1983 to 1986) how the country’s death squads had originated, he said they had been started “in the 1960s by the C.I.A.” Gen. Efram Rios Montt (dictator from 1982 to 1983 and the current Congress President), who ordered the main highland massacres (662 villages destroyed, by the army’s own count), said the C.I.A. did have agents inside the G-2. When I asked Rios Montt-a firm believer in the death penalty-if he thought he should be executed for his role in the slaughter, he leapt to his feet and shouted “Yes! Try me! Put me against the wall!” but he said he should be tried only if Americans were tried too. Specifically, he cited President Reagan, who, in the midst of the massacres, embraced Rios Montt and said he was getting “a bum rap” on human rights. Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo, civilian President from 1986 to 1991 (under whom the rate of killing actually increased), said “the C.I.A. often contracts with our military and G-2 people,” and that from what he knew they “very probably” had people inside “who have participated with our G-2 in technical assistance and advice. “

These C.I.A. operations are, of course, part of the larger U.S. policy. The Bush and Clinton State Departments, for example, in the midst of a much-touted “cutoff” of military aid to Guatemala after 1990, authorized-according to classified State Department records-more than 114 separate sales of U.S. pistols and rifles.

5 Responses to “The War On Democracy: Guatemala & Otto Perez Molina”

  1. Rafael Says:

    I am not surprised that the an evangelical organization is throwing its political weight around. They have been undermining the power of the catholic church in the the Americas, in great part because when the people of the region needed it, the late pope turned their back on them (and on liberation theology). So by backing the Empire (and its proxies) in the short term, the lost power and influence in the long term, thus enter the tentacles of the Pat Robertsons of the world.

    What, you thought all those ministries where actually helping people?

  2. RickB Says:

    Yes they are nakedly political and very opportunistic. Eerily similar to the conservative anti-lib theology catholics who allied with the fascist regimes elsewhere, fundies are even more directly tied to enabling right wing, pro imperial political hegemony. When Robertson called for Chavez to be assassinated it was more than an idle threat. Worst of all conservative yanquis go on missionary work and think they are doing the very work of God, as opposed to a political & cultural imperialist scam (although I think they sort of know that but never admit it, certainly when you argue with them they act as if they occupy the moral high ground).

  3. Ken Says:

    I wouldn’t call right-wing conservatives “fundies”. There is a more precise term for them – Christo-fascists. We should start usinf this term so that people understand the danger that they represent to society.

  4. RickB Says:

    Hi Ken, yes they certainly do fulfill the criteria, I actually think I am going to research and ponder on this a while, it deserves its own post. Certainly they are absolutely fine with deadly force being used to further their agenda and they are very authoritarian and corporate.

  5. Guatemala Rejects Fascist « Ten Percent Says:

    […] RickB Colom is no dream but at least he isn’t SOA graduate and the Empire’s place man Otto Perez Molina- Alvaro Colom, a left-leaning factory owner promising to end Guatemala’s desperate poverty, […]

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