Albert Bender. Photo: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr

Albert Bender: US-backed genocide in Guatemalan spurs exodus

Albert Bender discusses how genocide of the Maya people on Guatemala has contributed to the border crisis in the United States:
Obama vow to speed deportation of children at odds with public opinion." So reads the headline of Reuters online for August 10. What does this have to do with the Guatemalan tragedy in which tens of thousands of Maya Indians were slaughtered in the latter 20th Century?

The majority of border crossing children are from Guatemala and large numbers, if not the majority, are monolingual Maya speakers. The policy of deportation of these children is particularly heinous in light of the fact that they who are here because of the disaster of policy supported by the U.S. - the policy of genocide against Guatemalan Indians. As far as this writer is concerned, if the President persists in the deportation policy the question will arise whether he can ever be trusted again.

But to get back to the subject of this discourse, the American public needs to know the current situation in Guatemala and that the U.S. was responsible for both the carnage of the 1980's and 1990'and the mass migration from that land. The border crisis has brought back memories of my time in that country in October 1991 as a delegate to the 500 years of Resistance - Second Intercontinental Indian Conference.

The Guatemalan military made it known that it was deadly hostile to the Conference being held in that country, as we were in open support of the Maya forces opposing the government. The civil war was still raging at the time. We had to travel by bus from Guatemala City to the Conference site, the town of Quetzaltenango, in the western highlands. Our buses were festooned with banners spelling out our support, in no uncertain terms, for the Indigenous insurgents engaged in armed struggle with the Guatemalan armed forces. Traveling the mountain roads was considered dangerous because of frequent firefights between the Maya guerillas and government forces.

Get the Story:
Albert Bender: Guatemalan children at U.S. border there because of U.S. backed genocide (People's World 8/19)

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Albert Bender: Fair treatment needed for indigenous migrants (8/18)

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