Guatemala: Secretary of State Clinton's Visit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Guatemala on Friday, March 5 where she met President Álvaro Colom and other leaders from Central America and the Caribbean. She addressed security issues relating to the War on Drugs and support from the U.S. for normalizing Honduran relations with the international community. However, she abstained from openly discussing immigration reform which could affect more than 400,000 undocumented Guatemalans living in the U.S. While many Guatemalan bloggers were eagerly anticipating the concert from heavy metal band Metallica, there are a couple of posts about Clinton's visit:

Secretary Clinton and President Colom in Guatemala. Photo by Gobierno de Guatemala and used under a Creative Commons license.

Secretary Clinton and President Colom in Guatemala. Photo by Gobierno de Guatemala and used under a Creative Commons license.

Much of the information from Clinton's recent Latin America tour, which included Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Guatemala could be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #hillarytravel. Regarding her stop in Guatemala, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela (@WHAAsstSecty) tweeted Clinton's statements:

#SecClinton: We will combat organized crime, transnational gangs and trafficking and together keep the people of Guatamala safe.

#SecClinton: We are well aware that Central America is waging their own very intense efforts against the criminal cartels.

Robin Martínez on the blog CGN [es] shared a funny anecdote about Clinton's visit:

Como víctima de su propia naturaleza humana, la señora Clinton sufrió un especial momento de resequedad en la garganta que por largo rato interrumpió su intervención en la conferencia de prensa. Luego de la tercera de ellas, una asistente de la Presidencia se acercó para darle un vaso con agua, gesto que Clinton agradeció e inmediatamente resolvió su problema. Cuando bebió su fresca agua guatemalteca, esperó unos segundos y con voz nueva, continuó sus declaraciones a los periodistas. Como decimos los Guatemaltecos Hillary, la pura tos.

As a victim to her own human nature, Mrs. Clinton suffered through a long moment of dry throat, which interrupted her own press conference. After the third interruption, a member of the Presidential staff offered her a glass of water, a gesture that the Secretary was grateful and that immediately solved the problem. When she drank the fresh Guatemalan water, she paused and in a renovated voices continued her statement to the press. As we Guatemalans say, “Hillary, la pura tos.” (Hillary rules!)

However, in more serious matters, Mario Rodriguez from the blog of the Center for Development Research and Information (CIID for its initials in Spanish), provides his opinions on Secretary Clinton's motivations for her visit after the proposal emerged for creating a new regional bloc which would not include the United States and Canada. Rodriguez does not buy that it was only about drug trafficking [es]:

Estados Unidos en este campo actua hipócritamente. Utiliza el tráfico de drogas como pretexto para militarizar la zona, y como arma política para intervenir en los países, ya sea por medio de la cooperación o por medio de acusaciones a gobierno no amigos de Estados Unidos de propiciar el uso de su territorio para el tráfico de drogas. Por eso la visita de Hillary Clinton al país para hablar del problema del narcotráfico es para reirse.

U.S. is a hypocrite in this issue. Using the illegal drug trade as excuse to militarize the region, and as a political weapon to interfere in internal affairs of other countries either by international aid or via accusations towards governments that do not hold the status of “friends” of US, blaming them for facilitating illegal drug trafficking through its territories. That is why I think Hillary Clinton visiting the country “to discuss the drug traffic problem” is laughable.

Twitter user @yomararnold jokingly writes that perhaps the real reason behind Hillary's visit [es] to Guatemala was her desire to attend Metallica concert.


  • […] Preveo/prevela Sinisa Boljanovic · Pogledaj originalni post […]

  • Renata, what measures would Guatemalans like to see the US take to end the drug war? Which policies should be enacted to improve the situation? And as an United Statesian far away from the motherland, is there anything U.S. citizens can do to make a difference?

  • It is a difficult question but certainly more arms and” a war against something” is not the answer. In an ideal World, drugs should be decriminalized and legalized in our countries but U.S. will never ever accept that and for our fragile economies our status of “independent State” is not real, so we must do whatever Washington wants us to do. At least U.S. should be very careful with the military aid they are providing. Not a single Army officer or police officer has been prosecuted in Guatemala, even when they killed hundreds of civilians, with the technical assistance of green berets during the late 70s and early 80s. Many people went to U.S. because of the armed conflict. Many communities lost their lands, poverty increased and violence increased. And justice + accountability is lost in the transition from one armed conflict (war against communism) to the other (war on drugs)

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