“Mesoamerican Strategy” to militarize isthmus

Central American defense ministers meeting in Nicaragua last month expressed the need to create a regional military force in order to fight the rising tide of drugs and gangs. (ISN Security Watch, Oct. 10) It is still unclear whether Washington will help fund, train and arm such a program, which has been dubbed the “Mesoamerican Strategy”, but recent remarks by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as to how organized crime and terrorism in the region was too big for a single country to handle is an indication that the US supports the idea.

Last December UpsideDownWorld reported that Guatemalan government officials were promoting the need for a “Plan Guatemala”. In addition, Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, never shy to use the country’s military against citizens, was also calling for a regional rapid deployment force last summer.

The increased militarization of the region should face steep resistance from civil society, given the region’s history of genocide, death squads and disappearances carried out by the governments and militaries of Central America—usually executed in the name of security.

From Upside Down World, Nov. 1

See our last post on Central America.