By PJRC correspondent Alci
US Marines have landed in Guatemala with the objective of chasing down local drug cartel outfits, particularly the notorious Mexican gang Los Zetas which itself was founded by former US-trained Mexican commandos. The official name for the current operation is “Operation Martillo” or “Operation Hammer” and signals a new escalation in regional interventionism by the Obama administration under the guise of the Drug War.
Marines will monitor trafficking routes and chase down narco vehicles or mules with UH-1N Huey helicopters, the idea being that once traffickers or their vehicles are spotted the Marines relay the information to Guatemalan forces, these then carry out the actual arrests. The Marines themselves will be fully armed and are authorized only to fire “in self defense.”
The current right-wing government in Guatemala of former military man Otto Perez Molina is carrying on a delicate balancing act: Molina has openly called for the decriminalization of narcotics, particularly marijuana, but he is also attempting to fulfill a campaign pledge where he promised an “iron fist” against organized crime. With the Zetas cartel reportedly basing their nerve centers in Guatemala, the Obama White House is seeing Central America as the best spot for wider military involvement. This is of course a tragic irony for students of history who remember the 1953 CIA-orchestrated coup against the elected, progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, an event many credit with inaugurating decades of bloodshed and civil war Guatemala’s society has not fully recovered from.
This is a new chapter in an expansion of military and intelligence penetration. In Honduras on May 11 DEA agents reportedly killed two civilians by accident. This latest deployment of US Marines in Central America comes just as CIA activities in neighboring Mexico were further exposed following the shooting of an SUV carrying US agents by Mexican Federal Police. The official version of what happened is that the SUV tried to run a police checkpoint. Fortunately, the CIA agents were only wounded, but in an example of the connections within our current underworlds, the address of one of the agents’ fake identities has been linked to a PO Box in Virginia, which has been connected to CIA rendition flights.