Rights Action public service:
Correcting deceitful New York Times article about U.S. government promoting democracy in Central America
By Grahame Russell, Rights Action
Another misleading article has been published in the New York Times, again censuring any reporting about actual U.S. policies and actions in Central America (past and present), censuring reporting about the profound changes needed in U.S. military and economic policies towards the region.
Here, I set out a few of the more egregious deceits in this article.
The article opens with the misleading statement that President Biden’s government is working to end corruption and impunity in Guatemala.
Since 2016, Trump and Biden administrations have done fundamentally nothing as the corrupt, military-backed regimes of Presidents Jimmy Morales (2016-2020) and Alejandro Giammattei (2020-current day) “methodically dismantled the last vestiges of independent institutions. One by one, [these governments have] jailed, exiled or silenced the very people the United States said would underpin its efforts to make Guatemala a more fair and ultimately more livable society: independent judges, prosecutors, journalists and human rights activists.”
Dating back decades, and continuing today, the U.S. government (along with the governments of Canada and western Europe, the World Bank, IMF and numerous global companies and banks) refer to successive Guatemalan regimes as “democratic allies”, maintaining mutually beneficial economic, military and diplomatic relations.
This U.S.-led “international community” effectively is enabling Guatemala’s corrupt economic, political and military elites to destroy the capacity of the legal system to provide any accountability or justice for organized crime groups (including drug traffickers) that have infiltrated most branches of the government and State, and for crimes against humanity investigations into the U.S.-backed war crimes committed by the Guatemalan regime in the 1980s and early 1990s.
At the same time, these same Guatemalan regimes continue to relentlessly – oftentimes violently – ensure that the richest lands of the country are controlled by wealthy, ‘for-export’ producers of bananas, African palm, sugarcane, coffee and minerals resources. Over 40% of Guatemalan exports go to the U.S.
“If you are not careful, the press will have you hating the people being repressed
and loving the people doing the repressing.”
The article grotesquely suggests the U.S. aided the return to democracy in January 2022, with the election of President Xiomara Castro.
Since the U.S. and Canadian backed military coup of June 28, 2009, the U.S. (and Canada, Spain and the EU, the World Bank, IMF and countless global companies and investors) maintained mutually beneficial military, economic and diplomatic relations with 12 years and 7 months of military-backed, repressive, exploitative regimes that directly operated (using the executive branch, government institutions, the military and police) a drug-trafficking cartel responsible for producing and/or trans-shipping hundreds of millions of dollars with of cocaine through Honduras, on towards U.S. (and Canadian) cocaine markets.
During these 12 years, 7 months, more Hondurans desperately fled home and country, joining forced migrants and refugee caravans fleeing north through Mexico than ever before since the worst years of U.S. backed military regimes in Honduras in the 1980s.
It was the courage and dignity of the Honduran people alone that enabled President Xiomara to oust the U.S.-backed regime headed by President Juan Orlando Hernandez and the National Party.
The article openly lies about U.S. policy towards Nicaragua, stating the “Biden administration has largely stopped short of using financial sanctions in Central America.” Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. has imposed illegal economic sanctions against successive governments of Nicaragua almost continuously, through to today. These illegal sanctions have been, more often than not, dutifully copied by the governments of Britain and Canada. The purpose is to squeeze and harm Nicaragua’s tiny economy, with the intent of creating social-political upheaval in the country.
Thus, at the same time that the U.S.-led “international community” has been demonizing and attacking the government of Nicaragua politically and economically, they have maintained full diplomatic, economic and military relations with successive corrupt, repressive, military backed governments in Guatemala and Honduras, holding them out in the media and international forums as “democratic allies”.
“Propaganda is as powerful as heroin;
it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.”
Gil Courtemanche, “A Sunday at the Pool in Kingali