Time for a Reciprocated Monroe Doctrine: Failed Latin American Policies Applied in the Middle East

by John Washington

Money doesn’t solve, salve, cure, stabilize, forge peace, make or keep promises. And aid packages, no matter how much they’re needed or with how much philanthropic goodwill they’re sent, will not help anyone by themselves. It matters as much in whose hands the money falls as fast as it flows. The United States State Department should have considered this when deciding to continue to fund and arm the Egyptian military regime.

As pivotal as Egypt has been as an historical ally and an advocate for various degrees of peace in the region, and as necessary as the country may be as a counterweight to the militant authoritarianism of Iran, the United States cannot afford to fund another oppressive regime. Or, rather, it can afford it, but it shouldn’t. And funding is what the Obama administration and Hilary Clinton are doing: sending 1.3 billion dollars of military assistance to the military regime despite clear evidence of human rights abuses.

Since 1979 annual U.S. military aid to Egypt has grown, according to the State Department’s own statistics, to over $1.3 billion dollars a year. A few months ago, because of increasing concern of human rights violations, when we allocated this year’s $1.3 billion package we did so contingently, based on the implementation of “policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.” And yet, as detailed in a letter from Amnesty International urging Clinton not to send more money and arms to Egypt, “Egyptian security forces have killed numerous civilians, and the Egyptian government has demonstrated a systematic failure to rein in security forces and stop the attacks on Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Egypt.”

Continue reading “Time for a Reciprocated Monroe Doctrine: Failed Latin American Policies Applied in the Middle East”

The Right, The Left, and The Silent

Guatemala, El Salvador, and the United States all stake different positions concerning the Latin American massacres.

by John Washington 

On this past 14th of January an ex-general of the Guatemalan Army, Otto Pérez Molina, took office as the right-wing, self-proclaimed strong-arm (mano dura) President of Guatemala, promising to get tough on organized crime and drug-trafficking. The new President’s message, however, comes with baggage: Guatemalan Army’s recent and sordid history. The 36-year Civil War in the country, in which the Army committed systematic and ethnically-targeted massacres and razing, ended only fifteen years ago, in 1996. But the distaste in some for the new President comes not only from implication by association, that is, that he was simply part of an organization responsible for atrocities. Pérez himself has been openly and repeatedly accused of direct involvement in tortures and massacres. It has also been repeatedly claimed that Pérez Molina was on the CIA payroll and, according to the website, SOA Watch, that he was a graduate of the infamous School of Americas. Though Pérez claims to support “a military deactivation” in the country, how can Guatemalan citizens, especially those who suffered 36-plus years of abuse at the hands of the military, trust an ex-general who also proclaims to be willing to “use all the necessary military force” to ensure internal security? The message that Pérez sends is contradictory and, despite his dubious proclamation of “military deactivation,” undeniably militant, threatening to Calderón (President of Mexico whose drug-war crackdown has driven the country to the precipice of what some are calling a failed state) an already torn social fabric.

Continue reading “The Right, The Left, and The Silent”