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US War on Drugs Hits Guatemala

In a warlike move, 200 US marines have been sent to Guatemala to combat drug traffickers.

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US marines on a jungle patrol exercise in
Guatemala. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

08/30/12

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The US War on Drugs is starting to look more and more like an actual war. Two-hundred US Marines have been employed to patrol the western coast of Guatemala starting this week in an attempt to beat drug traffickers in Central America. The Marines were deployed as part of Operation Martillo, an effort which started last January that is using troops from 13 countries across the globe and focuses exclusively  on drug dealers in airplanes or boats throughout the region. Guatemelan authorities signed a treaty last month allowing the operations to take place and the commander of the operation gave the thumbs up last week to move full steam ahead. "This is the first Marine deployment that directly supports countering transnational crime in this area, and it's certainly the largest footprint we've had in that area in quite some time," said Marine Staff Sgt. Earnest Barnes at the US Southern Command in Miami. This will be the first time in fifty years that the US has sent significant help into Guatemala. That most recent attempt to help Guatemala by establishing a base to support counter-insurgency efforts during a guerrilla uprising led to 36 years of war and more than 200,000 deaths before the US pulled out in 1978. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 80% of cocaine smoked, snorted and swallowed in the US passes through Central America.

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