Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.
“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.” Also, “I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
It’s been over 80 years since Gen. Butler’s speech and things haven’t changed. The United States still bases foreign policy on what countries natural resources benefit our nation’s corporations. We still invade countries, fix elections and back (train and arm) brutal right-wing dictators if U.S. business interests deem it necessary. The Reagan administration gave $5 billion in aid to brutal dictator Duarte in El Salvador. That blood money led to 75,000 Salvadoran deaths including Bishop Romero who spoke against Duarte’s immoral war on his people.
In Guatemala in 1982, General Montt came to power in a military coup. Reagan declared: “President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment….I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.” Gen. Rios used $10 million in Reagan supplied military hardware to torture and kill the Mayan population of Guatemala. Israel also supplied arms, intelligence and training to Montt’s death squads. Tens of thousands of non-combatants were killed by Gen. Montt’s death squads. In 2013, Reagan’s hero, Ríos Montt was found guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide against Mayan Indians by a Guatemalan court. He was given a sentence of 80 years in prison. In 1944, President Jacobo Arbenz’ was elected on a platform of land reform. That platform conflicted with multinational corporate interest. That led the C.I.A. to facilitate a coup and set up a right-wing military dictatorship, friendly to corporations needs. The next fifty years were filled with political violence. From 1960-1996 over 200,000 Guatemalans were killed with 93% of those deaths at the hands of government forces.
In Honduras Reagan backed Battalion 316, a CIA – trained military unit that terrorized Honduras for much of the 1980s. Reagan also used Honduras as a camp for his illegal Contra rebels to attack Nicaragua. I don’t want to let the Obama administration off the hook either. In 2009, the Honduran military overthrew the elected government, and the Obama administration accepted the coup over the protests of pro-democracy forces there. He did this in an effort to fight drugs and has sent troops to train Honduran police and military to further the war on drugs. Former Honduran President Zelaya said, “The police are the drug traffickers. If you fund the police, you’re funding the drug traffickers.” The military there is also corrupt. They have had a captured drug smuggling plane and 300 automatic rifles and 300,000 bullets disappeared from a warehouse. The U.S.’s war on drugs in Honduras and other Latin American nations has escalated the violence in all those countries.
The U.S. has spent decades propping up right-wing dictators throughout Central and South America. These dictators were corrupt and only cared about lining their own pockets while their citizens suffered. This greed filters down to the police, military and central governments in these countries. These corrupt officials and street gangs now see drugs as the path to riches. The criminal drug gangs are the new rulers of nations like; Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. These gangs recruit children in the drug trade and have turned these three countries into the deadliest places in the world.
The U.S. government and the C.I.A. has done all it can to back multinational corporate interest in Latin America. Nuns, priests, bishops, environmentalists, union organizers, human rights activists, indigenous peoples and all manners of fighters for democracy have all been murdered by U.S. backed right-wing dictators. I am surprised that Latin Americans have never committed a terrorist act on U.S. shores, to pay our nation back for the terror we supported for many decades on their soil. Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans have now asked the U.S. to protect their children. They have sent their children to our nation’s borders to ask us to save them from the murderous climate of their own nations. The U.S. violent history towards those nation’s people demands we help these children. We call ourselves a Christian nation and claim we are the beacon of light in a dark world. We’ve said those things while we’ve not only backed brutal dictators, but trained and armed them. We owe it to these nations to finally do the moral thing and welcome these children with open arms.
Killer Mike: “Reagan”
“International politics is never about democracy and human rights. It’s about the interests of states. Remember that, no matter what you are told in history lessons.” ~ Egon Bahr