For The Innocent

Cala Lilies For The Innocent

Today’s photo is dedicated to the innocent victims of the killings in Petén. The massacre in Guatemala that left 27 people dead in a cattle ranch — believed to be the work of Mexico’s notorious drug cartel, the Zetas — has forced a 30-day state of emergency as reported by Fox News. Once again, the monsters created by the U.S., in this case, US trained Zetas become nightmares. Mexico and Guatemala are the bleeding victims of a war against drug trafficking caused by a boundless drug addiction. Perhaps it is time to look at other solutions and alternatives. In the mean time, accountability and responsibility are things we should be demanding now if we ever expect to have peace again in the region.

© 2011 – 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Mel Guate

     I am an American, married to a Guatemalan.  I definitely can see two sides to most stories involving the US and Guatemala.  However, I find it really irresponsible to blame all the drug related problems in Guatemala on the US.  The US is responsible for these atrocities because we trained the Zetas? Well if that’s the case, we actually “trained” the culprits of 911 because they came to flying school here in the US.  The US has it’s role and no doubt Guatemala has it’s role in all the horrible things going on there.  But to say the US is responsible for the Zetas killing these people is way out of line and only gives a tiny fraction of the real story.  It is no doubt a tragedy, but it’s really disappointing to see things portrayed in such a narrow scope here. 

    • @f60b13b89f892be7f2cbec12b42242ea:disqus  I don’t think that’s what I said above. You’ve chosen to extract that for a reason. However, I reported that Zetas are believed to be responsible for the massacre. Then I shared information regarding how the Zetas and Kaibiles were trained by the U.S. and how they have become nightmares. Last, I said we should be demanding accountability and responsibility. I am only reporting on a tragedy and the complex situation that caused  it. That’s all. 

  • Erick!

    I do not think Rudy is implying that the atrocity that took place falls entirely on the US shoulders, I think that would be taking his blog entry out of context.  Now, if he really is implying that, then I would definitely disagree with his statement, but I don’t think that’s the case. 

    It is no secret that corruption in Guatemala has probably reached an all time high and Government officials are turning a blind eye to all these drug cartels due to the millions of dollars they are probably getting paid in order to ignore the problem.  Unfortunately, and based on documented history, the US has been deeply involved in Guatemala’s affairs in the past — which has resulted in horrible atrocities at the hands of US-trained government officials and military, and this is probably something Guatemalans cannot forgive nor forget, but I do not think this resentment is ever towards US citizens, but more towards the US government policies.

    Anyhow, getting back to the actual blog entry, this is such a tragedy and shows how these drug cartels are completely running (and ruining) a country…it’s no longer about running a town, these guys are expanding like a plague, and as such, they should be eliminated, but it’ll never happen with corrupt government officials in power. 

    We need some Team Six Navy Seals to go in there and take care of business. =)

  • Mel Guate

     @Erick, I definitely agree with your points.  The real tragedy is that Guatemala is a beautiful country with beautiful people and it is being ruined.  It is sad that the people themselves are not able/willing to rise up and fight the good fight.  

  • Rudy, thank your for your post… Having been at the place where the massacre took place, it just brings loads of mixed feelings.

    There are several hypothesis (official and unofficial) regarding the massacre. Some are in relation to a kidnappings, some to kidnappings involving drugs, some to just drugs. Regardless the hypotheses, whatever happens, we want and demand the responsible people for massacres, killings, assassinations to be prosecuted and tried, with no exception.

    And, well, on the “drug-side”, looking at it in an economic/financial world, it is a thing of offer vs. demand all of them vs addictions. So, who are all the ones responsible for this world level problem?

    • ale

      Good point Arturo, If there’s a demand there’s a supply, and that’s a “big” part of the problem with the case of the narcotrafico.
      Central America and Mexico are just a bridge to deliver the supply to the US, and after what? 30 – 40 years of “war” against the drug traffic what has been achieved? not too much. I think it is time to revise the strategies to control this issue not only in Guatemala and the rest of our countries but particularly in the US, in terms of consumption, legalization, public health policies, foreign policy etc.

      Today “justos pagan por pecadores” and that is a tragedy for all Guatemalans, Mexican people is also going thru a very rough times.

      I also spend some time in Peten and I have mixed feelings, a sense of frustration and pain for the wonderful people of this region and the families of the victims.

  • rworange

    Rudy,
     
    You wrote: “I think it is time to revise the strategies to control this issue not only in Guatemala and the rest of our countries but particularly in the US, in terms of consumption, legalization, public health policies, foreign policy etc.”
     
    There’s the old saying, that you can’t change anyone, you can only change yourself.
     
    I think that is true of countries. I believe this needs to be resolved by Guatemalans. That is where the responsibility lies for the problems in Guatemala. I can only offer suggestions, the main one being the people of this country need to elect officials that take action and fix the problems
     
    No where on the scale of this tragedy, but I can’t even safely use an ATM card in Antigua and the government does nothing. My husband was required to bribe an official just to register his truck. No one blinked. Bribing officials is considered part of doing business here. I can tell you jaw-dropping stories.
     
    I have never been so profoundly grateful to be an American. I may actually kiss the ground when I get home.
     
    I’ve done nothing to deserve my wonderful country, despite all its flaws. I can only resolve out of sheer gratitude to work to make the US a better country in whatever small way I can when I return.
     
    I hope you and other Guatemalans will work to have the type of country honest, decent hard-working Guatemalans deserve.
     
    Whoever trained these murderers, whoever is consuming the drugs, the fact is that they entered the country through the Guatemalan border. Someone here turned a blind eye. If drugs are being illegaly produced and trafficked in Guatemala, someone here is looking the other way.
     
    I’ll do what I can to make America a better place. I know you and other Guatemalans will work to solve problems here.  
     
     

    • sjbj

      Your argument completely ignores the fact that for decades the US government has INTERFERED in Guatemala, with horrendous consequences. Perhaps Guatemala could /could have resolved its own problems if the US government stayed the hell out of their affairs.  Completely unfair to have US government go in, interfere, help create (note I’m saying help create, not completely create) a mess, and then say “well, you should clean up your own mess”. 

      • Erick!

        Although perhaps a bit harsh, I do think you bring up some valid points.  I think that what many, not too familiarized with Guatemala and how the system works, fail to realize is that people cannot all of a sudden start protesting against the corrupt government and the criminals posing as government officials, well, they can, but they’ll end up dead or their families will be put in incredible danger.  It’s a fact that many do not consider.  It’s easy to say “fix your government!” or “get out there and make a difference”, but it’s something that many good souls have tried in vain and have ended up in a ditch somewhere — if their families were even “lucky enough” to find them.  True, you have to start somewhere, but for most, there is very high price to pay.

        In my opinion, the people of Guatemala (or/and Mexico) do not want these cartels in their country, but as long as corruptions saturates government officials, it is almost impossible for the lower class — who are typically the ones impacted — to get out of this mess.

        • rworange

          Erick,

          I am well aware of the danger of striving to change the political system in Guatemala. As I am aware of the politicians who have been killed for opposing the drug cartels in Mexico, a country where I worked a year and grew to love.

          However, I am from a country where people gave up their lives, putting their families in danger, for the simple concept of freedom.

          I grew up when good people such as Dr. Martin Luther King, gave up their lives to overcome barriers such as racial, sexual, gender discrimination .

          As is said, the way for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. I never implied it is easy.

          If you don’t make a difference, who will?

          It is up to you if you want to pay the price.

          sjbj,

          I hardly speak for the US government, but after a year in Guatemala, I will never again apologize for it.

          It takes two to tango and if the US interferred here, someone here let them. Whatever his faults, one has to admire Fidel Castro for just saying no to the US government.

          Maybe it doesn’t have to take heroic acts. Not all of us are heroes.

          But we can all do our small part such as voting to put the best people possible in office.

          And for anyone who uses drugs here or in the US … or anywhere … for anyone who looks the other way and says nothing when friends use drugs … the blood of the people of Peten is on your hands.

            

          • Erick!

            If by voting you feel that Guatemalans will be able to “put the best people possible in office” …….think again.  =)  This is what I’m referring to when sometimes people just don’t understand how things work in Guatemala, but anyhow, I agree with what you’re saying, but I’m also sure that you and I are certainly not the first ones to think of that concept (in the US or Guatemala).  😉

          •  It takes two to tango, there’s two sides to every story etc etc etc. Well yes but when you look at the historical evidence against the US in Central America in general and Guatemala in particular, it seems to be a bit one-sided.

            If you believe that Guatemala can elect someone to clean the country up, please look at Honduras. The democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya was ousted. Apparently this was down to his desire to change the constitution but as Zelaya pointed out, the changes wouldn’t come in before his presidency was up. He could not have benefitted from the changes.

            The people that stood the most to lose were the oligarch families that make up Latin American politics. Perhaps you have seen the political billboards during your stay in Guatemala? The people attempting to get elected have very close ties to one another, in many cases they’re relatives.

            Someone campaigning on a “clean up Guatemala” front would either not have a chance of election, be killed during the campaign process or be removed in a coup/assassinated during their presidency. Given your year has not corresponded with an election you may not know that the election process corresponds with a spike in the amount of violence here. Intimidation, kidnapping, murder is even more common than usual.

            Having just come through the ordeal of a civil war, there isn’t much recent history of people “rising up” as that tended to get you disappeared. The peace accord was in 1996 but you are still talking of one generation removed from those attrocities. You might well come from a “country where people gave up their lives, putting their families in danger, for the simple concept of freedom”. Indeed you come from a country which has had its own civil war. That was not as recent, not as fresh in the minds as those in Guatemala and its 250,000+ deaths.

            One of the reasons that there is so much violence is that there’s virtually no chance of there being arrests and even less of there being a conviction. The clearance rate of murders stands at 3-4%, this does not necessarily mean a conviction.

            There is a tangible feeling of impunity displayed by criminals. This year a thinktank in the US put the percentage of Guatemala under cartel control as 35%, there are Guatemalan think tanks that put the figure as high as 65%. That does not leave much population left to find someone that wants to clean the country up.

            If you have spent a year in Guatemala, you will know that voting is highly unlikely to have any impact. Do you think that in a country where corruption is rampant that the voting system will be entirely above board? Since 1996 every single election has resulted in a new government, a new party has taken power and the same old problems remain.

            However, the US cannot be blamed for all the Zetas/Kaibiles’ violence. It is thought that there are not many original Zetas left, the ones that have replaced them are from different backgrounds. Indeed, the alleged commander of the massacre is a Guatemalan.

            I have a theory that some of the posts in this thread constitute the the final exam for some posters to join “The Trolls”. Please let me know if I have passed!

          • sjbj

             it might take two to tango, but the two partners in this “dance” were in no
            way equals.

             

    • Gordon

      I doubt the killers bribed anyone to enter Guatemala. They most likely forced their way in using threats of violence. If you are an immigration officer with a six shooter, how are you going to stop a convoy of heavily armed men from passing through? The U.S. has been meddling in just about every country in the world causing instability and regime changes. It is very difficult for a poor country to fend them off. Rworange, what you said will only work after the bully up north stops its imperialistic efforts to control the world. It is no coincidence that the USA’s current arch enemies are those countries that do not have a central bank… yet. USA was once a great and powerful country but now it is a complete dysfunctional mess. Good luck trying to fix something that is so broke that only a collapse and rebuilding from scratch would yield the best outcome. Many of us who left the USA never plan on returning. Living in Guatemala is wonderful, warts and all.

  • Dlbrooks1960

    I am sorry for what my tax dollars are doing to my brothers and sisters to the south. Lo siento muchisimo. Diana

  • Stephanie

     My thoughts are with the citizens of Guatemala during this time of tragedy and unrest. My hope is that all will find the strength to continue working for peace and justice.

  • Angeltile

     It,s time to make all drug adicts responsable for theyre acts. let the drugs be legal and stop all the killing of innocent people. 

  • NYChapin

    I agree on the need to look at the issue on a national level first. Without ignoring the well known role of US, and other countries, foreign policy in Guatemala.
     
    Let’s look at our corrupted political and legal system and it’ leaders first. What kind of answers for possible solutions are they offering?

    How about if we look at it even a little closer.
    What can we say about the well known use of drugs in Antigua? 
     Is it just a harmless,and cheap,pastime for tourists and the local youth. Or does it contribute the overall mess of drug trafficking in Guate and Mexico?

    Peace,

  • I wonder if given some strange rationals that I just read here, should every single drug user be heavily sanctioned because every illegal drug implies blood? How many drug users would react to that? I mean, what would happen if stronger laws anywhere in the world would be so strong as to put in prison someone that has a small fraction of a milligram of coke in their system?

    It is irrelevant to get stronger laws, because the demand exists. Do drug dealers and consumers share the same responsibility? In my opinion yes, but that’s only my opinion. Perhaps I should just refer to illegal drugs as blood-drugs similar to blood-diamonds. Both are huge industries/corporations very well established worldwide.

    It’s easy to criticize, but not easy to take action… Egypt is a good example in which it’s people managed to achieve some change, and through a lot of problems, with the hope of freedom. Oh, gosh, should we need some thousands of William Wallace in each third world Country? Perhaps… Ah, well, I don’t know.

    The problem is that there is a huge demand for drugs, there is a huge offer, there are lives massacred now, there might be more in the future and we all know there’s always been death involved in drugs, so yes: blood-drugs in a world of double or triple standards. A world that most usually gets people quite one way or the other if they think something different than the variety of systems established.

    To finish my comment, on Monday I was at the place in which the 27 persons were massacred. How many reading ADP think it was a nice experience?

    http://guatemaladailyphoto.com/2011/05/contrasts-contradictions-ironies-simply-mixed-feelings/

    And, here http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-guatemala-massacre-20110516,0,1186590.story you can actually pay attention on some of the comments. There are some that are just outrageous.

    Let’s hope everything that implies loosing one life disappears. Yes, we want peace, understanding, tolerance, love too (why not?)

    • rworange

      Aturo,

      I had my say, but wanted to note ‘blood drugs’ is brilliant. I will use that from now on. “Blood diamonds” was very effective in in having some influence on the diamond industry.

      Whatever the larger issues are and whether or not solutions are available, I don’t think anyone can step away from the personal responsibility to not participate in drug use until it is legalized.

      Unless a person is already hopelessy addicted, there is no necessity to take illegal drugs.

      If anyone thinks drugs are cool, recreational and fun … think of that phrase … blood drugs.