Guatemala's Anger Over Drug War Rises

By Tony O'Neill 03/01/12

A Guatemalan newspaper editorial encapsulates concern over how the US-led war on drugs affects Central America.

guatemala narco.jpg
The war on drugs has brought violence to
Photo via

Amid growing distaste for the US-led war on drugs in Latin America, The Guatemala Times has run a bang-on editorial: "US failed war on drugs is killing Guatemala." The article draws telling parallels between the US funding countries like Colombia and Mexico receive to fight narcotics, and the amount of oil they have to offer the US: "The US considers Mexico a priority: they are neighbors; it is a national security concern and they have a lot of OIL. Colombia is a priority because of the sheer volumes of revenues the narco trade generates that concerns the US, it is an economic concern, and they have a lot of OIL." The editorial contends that when Mexico and Colombia wage war against traffickers, the knock-on effect for countries like Guatemala is disastrous:

" is no success for Guatemala and other countries who suffer the consequences. Guatemala is in the middle, Guatemala does not concern the US because we are unimportant to them, we have no OIL. No economic interest, no security interest, no political interest. So the geniuses of the US Drug war give resources to Colombia and Mexico, but very little to Guatemala. Result: Guatemala will soon have more narcos then chickens. But who cares. Geopolitically Guatemala is disposable."

The conclusion is radical, but unlikely to win much support among mainstream US politicians: "We have a better suggestion: take the money away from Mexico and Colombia, have the narcos return to their countries of origin. Make an air bridge and import the drugs legally into the US. Mexico prospers, Colombia prospers, the US takes care of their problem and we are out of this idiotic war on drugs." Washington—most recently in the form of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano—argues instead for more of the same.That's more deaths, more governments destabilized and more black market drugs flooding the US.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Tony O'Neill_0.jpg

Tony O'Neill, a regular contributor to The Fix, is the author of several novels, including Digging the VeinDown and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. You can follow Tony on Twitter.