Genocides: A World History by Norman M. Naimark, Chapter 7

This chapter centered on the anti-communism genocides of the Cold War in Guatemala and Indonesia. Here I am going to discuss the civil war in Guatemala, but I will have links about the Indonesian anti-communist genocide below. In 1960’s Guatemala, the CIA trained guerrilla fighters to combat the leftist ideologies that were spotlighting U.S neocolonialism in the form of the United Fruit Company. The newfound CIA training of the right-wing guerilla fighters emboldened them to invade Guatemala, under the leadership of Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, and overthrow Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, who was already the subject of an American sponsored fake news publicity campaign to paint him as a communist. During the rule of the right-wingers, who were supported by CIA, leftist counterinsurgencies were violently crushed and the majority of the population—Mayans, mestizos, and Ladino campesinos—were fated to poverty, unemployment and forced labor.

The one story that was poignant for me was the account of the woman whose neighbor had been raped and her lips cut off. Although taking this class has no doubt taken the “sting” out of atrocities such as rape, torture, and murder, to me, these accounts are no less poignant. To consider the amount of sadistic depravity present in those committing these acts me hace deprimida para nuestro mundo–makes me depressed for our world. I guess I have exhausted all of my outrage and my declarations of bewilderment, and all that remains is a resigned shadow that just wishes that this depravity and sadism would cease to exist.

And here my outrage come again. Does the U.S. government understand the shit that it causes? Does it understand that them going in and fucking with shit that had nothing to do with them endangers innocent lives and forever fucks up lives like the one in the account above? Do the atrocities that it essentially sparks through these covert CIA operations ever weigh heavily on its mind (yes I’m aware that the government is an inanimate object, but it is made by and functions through people)?

Questions:

Does the U.S. bear responsibility for the events that occurred in Guatemala? Should they be punished as an accomplice?

The Nazis killed the Jews using guns, gas and concentration camps. Hutu Power and its supporters used machetes, clubs and guns to kill Tutsis? Guatemalan army and police units used machetes, blunt objects, guns and extreme regulation of food and culture to murder and persecute the Mayans. In your opinion, does the brutality of the method of killing convey the degree of hatred in a genocide? Explain.

What do you think motivates the international community to intervene when atrocities are being committed in one’s country? Explain with evidence.

Here’s some links about the Guatemalan Civil war:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/latin_america-jan-june11-timeline_03-07

http://cja.org/where-we-work/guatemala/, this source has additional sources within it.

Here are some links about the Indonesia anti-communist purges:

http://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/fr/document/indonesian-killings-1965-1966

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/indonesia-anti-communist-killings-us-declassified-files

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