Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guatemala: Decriminalization? Don't Believe the Hype

FLORES, PETEN--Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina has made headlines around the world for his suggestion that the U.S. led “War on Drugs” has failed, and that other options should be explored. Media fanfare around his position at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia has re-cast the retired hard line general as a progressive, innovative president.

But according to analysts who spoke to Upside Down World, the President’s decriminalization plan is a smokescreen for increased militarization, and the rearrangement of Guatemala’s drug trafficking elite.

“My perspective is that [Pérez Molina’s] proposal is a smokescreen, something designed to distract from the confluence of problems of Guatemalan society, and particularly those of the rural peasant farmers,” Maximo Ba Tiul, a Mayan Poqomchi analyst and professor explained to Upside Down World. “What is in dispute is territory, and especially the territory of Indigenous peoples, and so while he’s consolidating his process of control he comes up with this, knowing full well that he can’t fight his friends and colleagues, and that he has no capacity to pressure the United States.”

When Pérez Molina flew from Guatemala City to Cartagena, he took the private jet of Multi Inversiones Company, one of the largest and most powerful business conglomerates in Guatemala. Read More