Critics from across the political spectrum are outraged after the Obama administration announced that it was unconstitutionally sending 200 U.S. Marines to Guatemala under the guise of fighting the drug war. According to officials, the American troops were deployed as part of “Operation Martillo,” a multi-national squad of soldiers and law-enforcement personnel supposedly aimed at countering narcotics trafficking throughout Central America.
The new President of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina — a widely respected tough-on-crime former military general who opposed communism — had said earlier this year that legalizing drugs would be a better approach. However, the Obama administration swiftly deployed high-level functionaries to coerce the leader into backing down. Apparently the mission was a success.
In mid-July, the Guatemalan government signed what news reports and officials described as a “treaty” with the Obama administration — the U.S. Senate, however, never ratified any such agreement as required under the Constitution. Within a month of the controversial deal, U.S. Marines, equipment, and military helicopters began arriving in Guatemala.
"This is the first Marine deployment that directly supports countering transnational crime in this area, and it's certainly the largest footprint we've had in that area in quite some time," Marine Staff Sgt. Earnest Barnes from the U.S. Southern Command told the Associated Press. However, the scheme, which began in January, is much broader than just the 200 U.S. Marines. The Coast Guard and assorted alphabet soup U.S. federal bureaucracies are involved as well.
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Photo: U.S. Marines library