In Response to: “Massacre in northern Guatemala leaves 29 dead”

The article “Massacre in northern Guatemala leaves 29 dead” was published May 15th 2011 in the Houston Chronicle

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to your recent article titled “Massacre in northern Guatemala leaves 29 dead”.

Because Guatemala is located between Colombia and Mexico, the country has unfortunately suffered from the mounting repercussions from decades of cocaine trafficking. But the recent killing of 29 civilians is indicative of the more tumultuous state of Guatemalan security now being witnessed there. Added to this, U.S. assistance to Mexico has proven futile thus far, lending little faith that this strategy will work in Guatemala; domestic corruption and a lack of popular support undermines most reform efforts in the region. Moreover, Washington previously enthusiastically supported a Guatemalan government, which carried out the genocide of over 200,000 indigenous people and the displacement of a million more. Rather than engage in sinister and corrupt ties with Mexico, the Guatemalan government should cooperate with other regional powers, like Brazil or Colombia, to improve their public institutions, so they can match the armed might of their newfound foes. Guatemalan authorities can only be credible if they adjust their security institutions and eradicate corruption, thus providing a capable network to combat the cartel’s nexus of violence.


Paula Lopez-Gamundi
Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs