DefDog: Newly Unclassified Records Show Reagan Administration Promoted Genocide in Guatemala

05 Civil War, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, Corruption, Government, Military

One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.

How Reagan Promoted Genocide

Soon after taking office in 1981, President Ronald Reagan's national security team agreed to supply military aid to the brutal right-wing regime in Guatemala to pursue the goal of exterminating not only “Marxist guerrillas” but their “civilian support mechanisms,” according to a newly disclosed document from the National Archives.

Over the next several years, the military assistance from the Reagan administration assisted the Guatemalan army in doing just that, engaging in the slaughter of some 100,000 people, including what a truth commission deemed genocide against the Mayan Indians in the northern highlands.

The recently discovered documents at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, also reveal that Reagan's White House was reaching out to Israel in a scheme to circumvent congressional restrictions on military equipment for the Guatemalan military.In 1983, national security aide Oliver North (who later became a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal) reported in a memo that Reagan's Deputy National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane (another key Iran-Contra figure) was approaching Israel over how to deliver 10 UH-1H helicopters to Guatemala to give the army greater mobility in its counterinsurgency war.

According to these documents that I found at the Reagan library — and other records declassified in the late 1990s — it's also clear that Reagan and his administration were well aware of the butchery underway in Guatemala and elsewhere in Central America.

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Robert David STEELE Vivas
Robert David STEELE Vivas

ROBERT STEELE:  I have served in Guatemala.  The government (“hired hands” has been dominated from outside by Guatemalans with pretensions of being Europeans, and is totally penetrated by Spanish intelligence as well as Israeli intelligence.  The Mayans are not now and never have been terrorists, they are indigenous people of honor who sought to resist incursions by the wealthy who — as in El Salvador — comprise an elite that considers the Mayans to be non-human without rights, an inconvenience.  The government has improved in recent years, in large part because two countervailing forces have emerged in Guatemala that are hugely important: the entrepreneurial business class, many of Palestinian and Arab descent; and the emerging professional class, including lawyers, accountants, and doctors, who comprise an educated bulwark against the atrocities the Guatemalan elite consider their privilege.  A major challenge in recent years, as Plan Colombia has yielded remarkable results, has been the migration of cocaine labs and other forms of smuggling into Central America, including Nicaragua, and the melding of all social forms to create ad hoc organized crime (come as you are networks of convenience for the moment).  This is not something the US Government is able to spy on — technical does not work and human intelligence capability simply does not exist.

See Also:

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

Review: Secret History–The CIA’s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

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