US-Trained Guatemalan Forces Tied To Mexico’s Drug Gangs

August 16th, 2011 - by admin

John Glaser / & Lucia Newman / Al Jazeera – 2011-08-16 00:57:48

US-Trained Guatemalan Forces Tied To Drug Gangs

US-Trained Guatemalan
Forces Tied To Drug Gangs

John Glaser /

(August 15, 2011) — The Kaibiles, the ruthless US-trained Guatemalan state militia infamous for their role in killing civilians during Guatemala’s civil war, are being recruited in large numbers to violent Mexican drug gangs. Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel is paying large sums to a multitude of Kaibiles forces to pass on the training they received from the United States military.

In May, Guatemalan military forces began to enforce a state of siege in the Guatemalan province of Peten, after the Mexican drug gang Zetas suspected of ties to Kaibiles massacred 27 farmers.

Mexican authorities recently captured Osvaldo Garcia Montoya, one of the most brutal of the new drug lords in the region. He has admitted responsibility for killing more than 600 people, most of them rivals who were beheaded and further dismembered. Montoya was a former Mexican military officer who had been trained by US forces in Guatemala at the Kaibil Academy.

Guatemala receives approximately $1oo million in aid annually from the US, despite a record of corruption and ties to the drug gangs. The former president, Alfonso Portillo, is in prison on charges of massive corruption. Scores of police chiefs, senior military commanders, and defense ministers have been purged in an attempt to crack down on security forces with drug-trafficking ties.

Guatemala’s President Alvaro Colom said recently, “We seriously underestimated just how deep the infiltration of organised crime was in our institutions.” Yet American money, weapons, and elite training continues to be devoted to Guatemala.

Elite Troops Take Sides in Mexican Drugs Wars
Lucia Newman / Al Jazeera

An infamous Guatemalan army unit is waging war on Mexico’s cartels, but some of its soldiers have swapped sides.

(August 15, 2011) — The name of the special operation’s unit in the Guatemalan army strikes fear in those who remember the ruthless methods of this elite US-trained group. The Kaibiles are infamous for their role in killing civilians during Guatemala’s civil war. Their mission has since changed to help fight drug trafficking, but now they are faced with pursuing their own civil war.

Renegade and retired members of Kaibiles have been recruited by Mexico’s Zetas drug gang, especially in the Peten and Alto Verapaz regions bordering Mexico. They are being used to train the Zetas in the art of military warfare and the use of explosives. Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman meets the Kaibiles in the Peten province of Guatemala.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.