Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Let’s Not Forget the Suffering the U.S. Has Inflicted on Guatemala

In These Times

In July 1998, In These Times documented the CIA’s myriad abuses during the Guatemalan Civil War. It’s a history that Vice President Kamala Harris has conveniently ignored.

During her recent visit to Guatemala, Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a frank message to Central Americans hoping to find refuge in the United States.

I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border,” she said at a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on June 7. ​Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”

Harris’s comments drew criticism from organizations advocating for asylum seekers. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D‑N.Y.) wrote on Twitter that seeking asylum at the U.S. border is ​100% legal” and called on the United States to ​finally acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and régime change in the region.”

In June of 1998, the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) released a report on the CIA’s involvement in the Guatemalan Civil War that revealed myriad human rights abuses by the agency, confirming what many Guatemalan victims had already suspected. Lisa Haugaard, legislative coordinator for the Latin America Working Group, reviewed the IOB report for an article titled, ​Admissions and Omissions: Declassified CIA Documents Shed Light on Shady Activities in Guatemala.”


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