Review: Searching for Everardo–A Story of Love, War, and the CIA in Guatemala

6 Star Top 10%, Atrocities & Genocide, Biography & Memoirs, Consciousness & Social IQ, Country/Regional, Culture, Research, History, Insurgency & Revolution, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Justice (Failure, Reform), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial), Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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5.0 out of 5 stars 6 Star Epic–Genocide, CIA Complicity, & Indigenous Honor

July 27, 2010

Jennifer K. Harbury

This is one of multiple books by this author, and a huge bargain as a used book–I got the used hardcopy. This book is a book-end to Secret History: The CIA's Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954.

The author wrote Bridge of Courage: Life Stories of the Guatemalan Companeros & Companeras first, and then a book that Amazon lists but does not offer for sale nor does it appear easily when trying to insert the product link: Seeds of Rage: CIA Torture Practices from Vietnam to El Salvador to Abu Ghraib.

See also her Truth, Torture, and the American Way: The History and Consequences of U.S. Involvement in Torture. In selecting this title, I see also GUATEMALA: HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER JENNIFER HARBURY LOSES SUPREME COURT CASE AS FORMER OFFICIALS CLAIM RIGHT TO LIE.: An article from: NotiCen: Central American & Caribbean Affairs which is depressing–the “right to lie” just astounds me.

As a former case officer (spy) with the CIA, in the Latin American area from 1979 to 1988, and now on my way out of Guatemala, this book is one that I am going to rate as beyond 5 stars, 6 stars and above, because it is a phenomenal vortex that brings together genocide (called “the patriotic wars” by the white minority “conquistadores” seeking to keep the 80% indigenous in slave status), CIA complicity in genocide and torture, and the deep, deep honor and courage and intelligence of the indigenous people. See 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus for the larger treatment.

Highlights for me:

Tens of thousands in unmarked graves, but the villagers in each vicinity KNOW the details and have maps [the peace process included truth & reconciliation, a lot of information came out and the process continues to this day, but reconciliation has never occurred–nothing in the vital Socio-Economic Accord of the Peace Agreement has actually been implemented].

Court orders useless in confronting Army (this was before the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, CICIG, where I worked for three months, but the reality is that CICIG has focused on high impact cases revolving around corruption, and not on the daily corruption associated with the placement of 80% of the population in servitude)

Mayans who fled to the US were rejected by the Reagan-Bush Administrations that found them “lacking in credibility”–overall this book is an indictment–distilled objective outrage–at the lies that the US Embassy in Guatemala and the US Departments of State and Defense, and the White House back to Tony Lake and Leon Fuerth–has sanctioned. The “right to lie” on the part of the government is in my view both treason and a crime against humanity.

–big lie number one: nationalists and Mayans fighting for human rights were communists

–big lie number two: Army was pursuing a “patriotic war” against communists, rather than a genocidal campaign replete with many other atrocities against an entire civilization that was here centuries before the Conquistadores [as a side note, I believe Spanish intelligence in Guatemala is out of control and probably influenced the first Commissioner of CICIG–a Spaniard–in a very destructive manner).

–big lie number three: Mayans killed prisoners and committed all the atrocities ascribed to common criminals. In fact we now know that with the exception of the Maras who are killing bus drivers as part of their extortion racket, virtually every homicide and most femicide in Guatemala is committed on the orders of the white minority, the “intellectual authors” behind the 147 private security companies with 36,000 registered weapons.


In a conference at a major university here in Guatemala, I pointed out that an honest assessment of what the white minority and the rising business class pay in extortion and in private security is probably three to five times what they would pay in legitimate taxes that would enable the social and security safety nets for all. Guatemala lacks a strategic “net assessment” of where all the money is going and how the United Nations might better use its “Deliver As One” concept to harmonize how all incoming funds (investors, aid, repatriated funds) are spent–this latter point is covered in generic terms in my new book, INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainaabilty whose intellectual foundation is the preceding book with 55 authors, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace–both are free online as well as sold at cost at Amazon (which takes 55% off the top).

Mayans “not worth teaching to read” according to the landed aristocracy, but they are worth pressing into service as slaves and common soldiers. No lands, no money, no representation, no rights, but they do have 26 languages that hang on.

Blown away to see the connection between Eduardo the guerrilla and Rodrigo Asturias, whose son Sandino Asturias carries on today with the politically neutral Center for the Study of Guatemala, and is every bit the proven son of a warrior and grand-son of one of two Nobel Laureates from Guatemala.

Rodrigo Asturias and Efrain Bamaca Velaquez shared one bottom line goal that I also share: equal rights for Mayans and the development of Mayan leaders. What the oligarchs and military “hidden powers” do not yet understand is that this is a NON-VIOLENT objective that does NOT confiscate or redistribute wealth. It creates infinite wealth and turns Guatemala into the paradise it would be without the narrow-minded and homicidal views of the white minority.

Eduardo knew his generation's fight was doomed, he was laying a foundation for the next generation.

The author spent two years waiting to climb the volcano with permission.

The level of detail is not only just right, it “frames” the entire matter in such a striking way that one can feel and appreciate the “ground truth” in Guatemala during this period (1990's).

I learn that Mayans refuse foreign fighters and that Eduardo taught and ordered the freeing of all prisoners after they were disarmed.

A large portion of the book is a detailed account of how she was able, with no salary, only contributions, to visit, inform, and mobilize all manner of organizations and a wide variety of US Members of Congress–by tying US aid to resolution of this case, and adding a couple of hunger strikes, she was able to confront two imperial powers–her own in the US and her husband's in Guatemala.

The big insights for me come at the end of the book, and although I am disappointed that discussion of the CIA's role in all this is limited to the fact that CIA was paying the intellectual author of the torture and murder of Eduardo the grand sum of $44,000 a month, the only thing we really learn is that CIA knew Eduardo was captured and alive within weeks of his 1992 capture.

Big Insight #1: Army and Oligarchy thought that simply signing the peace accord would make all the international pressure go away. They think the Mayans, the reformers, and the rest of the world are stupid.

Big Insight #2: The Army–and I have seen unclassified documents closely tying the Army to Israel and to Taiwan, inclusive of deep training in Psychological Operations (PSYOP)–has for over two decades now mounted a very effective anti-foreigner campaign by spreading rumors of foreigners stealing Mayan babies.

The book ends with a reconstruction of Eduardo's final months of torture and exploitation during which he evidently did not give up a single name and in one instance led the Army into an ambush.

I already knew the US Government lacks ethics at all levels, so this was not a big insight for me, but for those who still harbor any view that the US Government is honorable, well-informed, and thoughtful in how it represents the US citizen-taxpayer, get over it. The US Government is OUT OF CONTROL and a crime against humanity on a scale that most simply cannot imagine.

CORRUPTION starts in the US Government as a captive of Wall Street and the banks and the military-industrial-intelligence-congressional complex. It is possible for Guatemala to get its own house in order, but first it must disconnect itself from the source of all corruption in foreign affairs and national security in Latin America, the US Government. Central America must make its own way, become its own region, and eschew all financial and other incentives to “go along” with NAFTA, the IMF, the World Bank, and all the other SUBVERSIVE and morally despicable “initiatives” of the traditional West.

With my two remaining authorized links I recommend:
The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
SAVAGE CAPITALISM AND THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY: Latin America in the Third Millennium

For 1600 reviews in 98 categories supporting the above statement, please visit Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, where each review leads back to its Amazon page, but they can be browsed in clusters, e.g. Empire, Pathology of Power, US Secret Intelligence, etcetera.

One afterthought relevant to Guatemala and the 5,000 secessionist movements world-wide (at least ten of those within the USA): indigenous people are like cockroaches in their survivability. Now armed with cell phones, they are BOTH everywhere AND well-informed. Trying to put down the indigenous peoples is like trying to machine gun a hoard of cockroaches, or fire ants, or a swarm of bees. IT DOES NOT WORK. Guatemala has one chance to become paradise, to become a country that is prosperous for all and at peace: by restoring land rights to the indigenous peoples, by coming together as one nation (all eight tribes including the cartels in the commercial tribe), and by recognizing that this is not about wealth redistribution, it is about redirecting Guatemala so it can create infinite wealth for all. The human brains of the indigenous, and their cultural heritage, are the ONE infinite resource Guatemala has. Teach them to read, give them all free cell phones, and get out of the way of their entrepreneurial initiative.

Eduardo was the norm, not the anomaly.

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