Guatemala has formally apologized to the family of former president Jacobo Arbenz, 57 years after the U.S.-backed coup that ousted him from office. At a ceremony on Thursday, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom asked Arbenz’s family for forgiveness. Speaking on behalf of the Arbenz family, Arbenz’s son, Juan Jacobo, called on the United States to follow suit.
Juan Jacobo Arbenz: “My family suffered a lot in exile. We suffered the consequences of an injustice that took place in 1954 when an agency from a very powerful country, the United States, acted on the interests of a powerful North American company called the United Fruit Company who were condemned in court for being a monopoly. Here started the injustice and we call on the United States to recognize their errors.”
Somehow I doubt it.
The trial of Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, a general under the US-supported dictatorship of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, who came to power in the CIA-orchestrated coup that unseated Arbenz has been delayed yet again. He is accused of planning and ordering about 300 different massacres when he was chief of staff of the Guatemalan military between 1982 and 1983. Montt’s forces, with the help of his chief of staff Fuentes, slit the throats of women and children, beat innocent civilians and doused them in gasoline to be burned alive, tortured, and mutilated thousands of innocent indigenous peasants. The UN commission investigating the atrocities concluded it constituted acts of genocide. No inquiry into the culpability of US officials has been initiated.
Update: See Reason.tv’s interview with Giancarlo Ibarguen, who says “I blame the war on drugs in the United States for what is happening here in Guatemala.”