Adding muscle to the Guatemalan military?

 

Military bases opened in Guatemala in 2012 (elperiodico.com.gt)

Military bases opened in Guatemala in 2012 (elperiodico.com.gt)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel heads to Guatemala this week to “add muscle and sinew” to defense ties between that country and the United States and highlight the importance of helping partner nations improve their militaries. However, a recently released United Nations 2013 Global Study on Homicide offered alternative methods of combating the violence plaguing Guatemala.

Besides Hagel’s trip, Guatemala has received various high level visits from US officials over the last several months focused on security cooperation, including General John Kelly, head of US Southern Command, and Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, William Brownfield. The increased attention has corresponded with an increase in security assistance as well. Guatemala jumped to the third highest country recipient of Department of Defense military and police aid in Latin America in 2012. The US State Department has also provided significant funding to a joint task force on Guatemala’s northern border with Mexico, and has donated 42 vehicles to a recently announced base on Guatemala’s southern border with Honduras.

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Weekly News Round Up Feb. 18-22

Genocide Trial date moved from August 14th to March 19th
The trial for José Efraín Ríos Montt and José Rodriguez has officially been rescheduled. The trial is now set to begin on March 19th 2013. Judge Jazmín Barrios rejected a recusal presented by Ríos Montt’s defense against the First Court of High Risk.

US Southern Command General John Kelly makes an official visit to Guatemala
The General arrived on February 20th for a two day visit to the country. According to diplomatic sources, the purpose of the trip is to analyze and discuss issues of bilateral security, such as drug trafficking and organized crime, with Guatemalan officials.

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