Guatemalan deaths met with relative silence by their government

edited December 2018 in Other Political Debate
While two young Guatemalans have recently died in US Border Patrol custody, the Guatemalan government has remained mostly quiet. The question is why? Elisabeth Malkin at the New York Times tries to get at the answer in Guatemala Cautious on Young Migrants’ Deaths, Wary of Angering U.S. There's really a two-part answer.

First, the Morales government does not want to further antagonize the United States. In words and deeds, it has successfully lobbied the Trump administration to withdraw its support for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). Day after day, the Morales administration has attacked one of the region's most successful initiatives to battle corruption and impunity. The Guatemalan government recently sought to remove eleven CICIG officials and two of their relatives from the country. The US has remained silent.

Similarly, the Guatemalan government might not want to jeopardize the lives of one million plus of their compatriots in the US. The Guatemalan people and government rely upon the billions of dollars they return to the country in remittances each year.
“We have a de facto apartheid society,” said Anita Isaacs, a Guatemala scholar at Haverford College. “This country continues to be almost as racist as it has been historically.”
The result is that the death of an indigenous child barely registers, she said: “These lives are worth less, and these people are fundamentally invisible.”
Second, the Guatemalan government's weak response to the deaths of two of their citizens in the US is a reflection of the state's discrimination against the country's indigenous people. Anita's quote captures that sentiment. Felipe was from a Chuj-speaking family while Jakelin was from a Q’eqchi’-speaking family.

Whatever the reason, President Trump has not held back against Guatemala in his criticism of the region's leaders. It's unclear how much longer the US government will be able to hold out against the president's Twitter threats.
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