What we're up against (lessons from Guatemala)
What we're up against (lessons from Guatemala)
There are many battles being fought in the name of social justice...some more pitched than others. In general, however, these struggles do not result in victory thanks to a petition, a candlelight vigil, or a ballot pull. In other words, those seeking peace, justice, and solidarity should never underestimate the relentless and brutal power of what they are up against. I am reminded of this every time I re-read "
Krauss went on to tell of chickens "sacrificed...to...pre-Columbian gods" and "bizarre" religious cults (Krauss' tactics are indeed for those seeking to absolve the
He has a point. It was at a February 1945 conference that State Department Political Advisor Laurence Duggan called for "An Economic Charter of the
In a landslide victory, Jacobo Arbenz was freely and fairly elected president of
The CIA put Operation Success into action. "A legally elected government was overthrown by an invasion force of mercenaries trained by the CIA at military bases in Honduras and Nicaragua and supported by four American fighter planes flown by American pilots," explains Howard Zinn. Operation Success ushered in 40 years of repression, more than 200,000 deaths, and what William Blum calls "indisputably one of the most inhumane chapters of the 20th century." These chapters could never have been written without permission from the
"The Israelis may be seen as American proxies in
Who are these governments so willingly snapping up weapons manufactured in the
What type of policies did the Guatemalan government pursue with the help they received from a nation populated with thousands of Holocaust survivors? This question brings us back to Harbury's book...a book filled with the "inhumane chapters" Blum mentions. One member of the Guatemalan resistance Harbury interviewed was Lorena and her story provides a good example of what happens in a
Lorena's lover, a compaÃ±ero named Daniel, was out with a small unit to engage Guatemalan soldiers when he was hit by enemy fire. Lorena tells what happened next: "The other compaÃ±eros ran to where Daniel had fallen and found him dying there, quiet but very clear-minded. He refused to let them try and bandage him up, telling them to first go and find the others who had a chance of surviving. The he gave away the things in his pack, the food, the blanket, his small book. He writing a note, shaken but determined, when they left him. The note was for me, but I never received it."
When Lorena learned of Daniel's injuries, she and a comrade named Roberto ran to find him. "Roberto and I arrived, breathless, at the place where he had left Daniel," Lorena said, "but at first we could see nothing." When Roberto tried to shield her from looking in on particular direction, Lorena broke away to see. "Daniel was not there," she said. "His body had vanished, with his pack, his boots, his book, and the note for me. There on the ground lay only his brain, bloody and intact." Lorena concluded: "The soldiers had found Daniel first."
(Aside: Can anyone imagine Americans organizing under such onerous conditions? We throw a hissy fit if someone brings 11 items to the supermarket express lane.)
As another resistance fighter in "
Similar stories can be culled from countries throughout the region, but apparently have had little effect on the foreign policy of the
Any moral reservations of such an arrangement are dismissed with a vague "national security" excuse that should sound familiar to any American. "The welfare of our people and the state supersedes all other considerations," pronounced Michael Schur, director of Ta'as, the Israeli state military industry in the August 23, 1983 Ha'aretz. "If the state has decided in favor of export, my conscience is clear."
One Jewish figure that might be expected to find fault with such policy is Elie Wiesel. An episode from mid-1985, documented by Yoav Karni in Ha'aretz, should put to rest any exalted expectations of the revered moralist. When Wiesel received a letter from a Nobel Prize laureate documenting
One is left to only wonder how Wiesel's silent sigh might have been received if it was in response to a letter not about Jewish complicity in the murder of Guatemalans but instead about the function of Auschwitz during the 40s.
In 1951, Guatemalan president Juan JosÃ© ArÃ©valo (whose term gave that country a ten-year respite from military rule during which he provoked U.S. ire by modeling his government "in many ways after the Roosevelt New Deal") stepped down to be replaced by his ill-fated successor and kindred spirit, the aforementioned Arbenz. This to what ArÃ©valo had to say about the aftermath of a war known as "good": "The arms of the Third Reich were broken and conquered ... but in the ideological dialogue ...the real winner was Hitler."
Never forget: This is what we're up against.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.