Way Way Tan Ango
In which the Monkey adjusts his tinfoil hat and Peers into the Past.
In 1971, a young man who would later become President of the United States, traveled to Guatemala on Business. The trip, one of the few he had made outside the borders of the US, must have made quite an impression on him, since Guatemala in 1971 was a Very Interesting Place. Here's picture of what the capitol, Guatemala City, looked like that year:
Amnesty International later stated that Guatemalan sources, including the Committee of the Relatives of Disappeared Persons, claimed that over 7,000 persons disappeared or were found dead in these two years. "Foreign diplomats in Guatemala City," reported Le Monde in 1971, "believe that for every political assassination by left-wing revolutionaries fifteen murders are committed by right-wing fanatics."
During a curfew so draconian that even ambulances, doctors and fire engines reportedly were forbidden outside ... as American police cars and paddy wagons patrolled the streets day and night ... and American helicopters buzzed overhead ... the United States saw fit to provide further technical assistance and equipment to initiate a reorganization of Arana's police forces to make them yet more efficient.
"In response to a question [from a congressional investigator in 1971] as to what he conceived his job to be, a member of the US Military Group (MILGP) in Guatemala replied instantly that it was to make the Guatemalan Armed Forces as efficient as possible. The next question as to why this was in the interest of the United States was followed by a long silence while he reflected on a point which had apparently never occurred to him."
Sounds pretty awful, doesn't it? I don't think it's "venturing into tinfoil hat territory" to wonder what the Young Bush thought of what was going on in Guatemala while he was there. The Monkey thinks, in fact, that it's a damn good question, and Wonders why the mainstream press has never asked it of him. What did he Do, while in Guatemala? Where did he Go? What Business was he there For?
Stratford of Texas had a finca
or plantation in Huehuetenango,
just outside of a little town called, appropriately, La Democracia. That, to me, sounds like a perfect backdrop to set one of those touching little anecdotes that campaigns like to manufacture for their candidates. "Gov. Bush, as a young man, saw firsthand the horrors of civil war while visiting a little town called Democracy, and it Changed him Forever." That sort of thing. But no, nothing, hardly a peep out of the campaign about the trip. One Wonders Why.
* Was it because the region was rife with guerrilla activity during that period? Because it was.
* Was it because the US was funding the counter-insurgency effort that eventually murdered over 200,000 people in Guatemala? Because we did.
* Was it because Stratford's finca may well have been on land forcibly expropriated from the indigenous peasants? Because plenty of land was.
* Was it because the region was known for narcotrafficking and large coca plantations? Because it was.
* Was it because the people he went there with had long ties to a known CIA front company run by his Dad? Because they did.
Or maybe Karl Rove, supposed genius political operative, while courting the Latin Vote
, simply forgot
to mention that Bush made a trip to Guatemala during this formative period of his youth.
But to mention it, you'll need a tinfoil hat, apparently. Oh, OK, the Monkey Sees how this Works.