Drugs and Business: Central America Faces Another Round of Violence

by Annie Bird

This report appeared at NACLA.

On August 23 about 300 campesinos from the Nueva Esperanza community, near the Laguna del Tigre Natural Park in northern Guatemala, were evicted from the lands to which they held title and forced across the border into Mexico. Interior Minister Carlos Menocal justified the action, claiming the families assisted drug traffickers, though he presented no evidence.1

While drug trafficking corridors have proliferated through Central America’s natural reserves over the last decade, Nueva Esperanza’s real crime appears to have been that it was located in the way of the Cuatro Balam mega-tourism project. Cuatro Balam is a planned 14,000-square-mile tourism complex amid the Mayan Biosphere cluster of natural reserves and an array of Mayan archaeological sites, all to be united by a proposed electric train and linked to Chiapas, Mexico, via a new highway.

Three years before the eviction, Guatemalan president Álvaro Colom (2008–12) announced plans to clear the area of “invaders and drug traffickers” to make room for Cuatro Balam. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) began funding the project in 2009. On June 30, 2010, Colom inaugurated Cuatro Balam, announcing that six military posts would be installed in Laguna del Tigre.

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Past is present in Latin America

Addressing the Summit of the Americas Obama explained “I didn’t come here to debate the past, I came here to deal with the future.” However, without accepting the role of the US in Latin America, which the States contemptuously titled its “backyard,” how can those in the backyard, who are now largely defined by their resistance to this status, agree consensus on a future? In the following report the Real News examine the past that Obama wants to ignore and they explore why that past is inextricably linked to the present and the future. The report also contains an excellent feature on Oscar Romero a liberation theologian assassinated by US backed right wing militia.

More from Al Jazeera:

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