By Charles Leslie Jr.
Let us look at the Devil we continue to dance with, and I will add, continue to dance for.
1960 to 1996
The Guatemalan civil war lasted from 1960 to 1996 or 36 years. It was said to be a fight between mostly the Government of Guatemala and various leftist rebel groups supported chiefly by ethnic Mayan indigenous people and Ladino peasants, whom made up the rural poor, however it was a fight, it was the Guatemalan government slaughtering poor indigenous Mayans. It was genocide and a gross human rights violation against these civilians.
1944 – 1954
The United States backed a coup d’état in 1954, usurping the power from the popular leftist government that was brought to power via democratic elections during the Guatemalan Revolution in 1944 and 1951, and installing their puppet military regime of Carlos Castillo Armas. Armas was followed by a series of conservative military dictators.
There was a wave of discontent that gave root to the rise of a series of armed leftist movements coming from among the large populations of indigenous people and peasants.
Guatemalan security forces responded by initiating for the first time “forced disappearances” against the opposition and dissenters. 10s of thousands disappeared by the end of the war.
The first of many military rulers backed by the Institutional Democratic Party took power, and repression increased.
Almost absolute government power attained by Guatemalan military for five years. Every socio-political institution, including the political, social and intellectual classes were successfully infiltrated and enemies eliminated.
The final stages of the civil war saw the military developing a parallel, semi-visible, low profile but high-effect, control of Guatemala’s national life.
The civil war was mainly a large-scale campaign of one-sided violence by the government against the Guatemalan civilian population, including indigenous activists, suspected government opponents, returning refugees, critical academics and students, left-leaning politicians, trade unionists, journalists, and street children.
Up to 200,000 people died or went missing during this genocide, including 40,000 to 50,000 people who “disappeared.”
Fast forward to 1999
Now please pay attention to this part. The United Nations-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) stated that the state was responsible for 93% of the human rights violations committed during the war, the guerillas for 3%. They peaked in 1982. 83% of the victims were Maya.
Both sides used terror as a deliberate policy. However, the CEH stated that at NO time during the internal armed confrontation did the guerilla groups have the military potential necessary to pose an imminent threat to the State. The CEH went on to say that the State and the Army were well aware that the insurgents’ military capacity did not represent a real threat to Guatemala’s political order, and concluded that the State deliberately magnified the military threat of the insurgency, a practice justified by the concept of the internal enemy. The inclusion of all opponents under one banner, democratic or otherwise, pacifist or guerrilla, legal or illegal, communist or non-communist, served to justify numerous and serious crimes. The State resorted to, by using military operations, to physically annihilate or use absolute intimidation to deal with this opposition. It was genocide of innocent civilians. Period.
On December 17, 2014 in Placencia, Belize and Guatemala, on the occasion of a high-level meeting of Central American leaders in Belize, our government signed a 13 point agreement – one of many over the years – we, the People had no participation or prior knowledge of this agreement. The current President of Guatemala – Otto Perez Molina – stated to the press that “It is important to understand that Guatemala does not constitute a threat for Belize.”
HOWEVER, this is what he thinks of his OWN people: Even though there is empirical evidence of this genocide during Guatemala’s civil war; following the release of the CEH report in 1999,
– President Álvaro Arzú apologized for the government’s role in the atrocities of the war.
– Ex-leaders of the URNG also apologized and asked forgiveness of the victims.
– In 2012, the current President of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina, DENIED that there had been genocide in Guatemala, arguing that it was impossible as a large portion of the army was indigenous. The empirical evidence that there was, is staggering, yet President Molina DENIED.
The report was disseminated country-wide, but only parts of it were translated into Mayan languages. In addition, high rates of illiteracy have made it difficult for the general population to read the written report. Molina didn’t seem to care much about this either.
All Belizeans, please ask yourself: Why do we ( our Government) continue to buddy up, appease and submit to a country – Guatemala – under the leadership of a President – Molina – who do not seem to care much about his own people; therefore why should we, as Belizeans, be comfortable with all these agreements that are being signed on our behalf, without our input or consent?
I close by saying: Our own Government have treated BGYEA and other born Belizeans, like second class citizens, and sometimes worse. Do you think, by putting ourselves in a position that we could lose a part of our country to Guatemala, who have slaughtered over 200,000 of their own people, with a current President who audaciously denies that fact; and you will sit there and think that somehow, we as Belizeans, will just go on living life as we know it, if Guatemala take over a portion of our country? That thought should make a surge of testosterone flood thru your body and your muscles twitch and fists clench.
Let’s stop this dance with the Devil.
VIVA BELIZE!!! NO, HELL NO, TO ICJ!!!
Charles Leslie Jr. is the Chairman of the Belize Unity Alliance and the former independent Chairman of Placencia Village (2010 – 2013). He holds an Associates degree in business, accounting and economics and has over 20 years business experience.
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