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September 28, 2005

Kaibiles, Zetas, and Narcos

Last week in Chiapas, Mexican authorities captured seven Guatemalans who were carrying 1 million pesos ($92,113.32 US) and assorted weapons.

The interesting twist is that at least four of the Guatemalans are former soldiers, members of the "Kaibiles", an elite counterinsurgency unit notorious for its brutality and human rights abuses.

The Kaibiles have a dark and bloody past. They were created in the 1970's to destroy the popular guerrilla movement in Guatemala. They received special training on jungle survival and warfare, and proudly considered themselves "death machines". Among other crimes against humanity, the Kaibiles are accused of the Dos Erres Massacre. According to :

On 5 December 1982, an army squad of kaibiles, the Guatemalan special forces analogous to the US Green Berets, and some paratroopers, entered Dos Erres, La Libertad, Petén Department. When they left three days later, more than 350 men, women and children had been massacred, the women after mass rapes. Many of the corpses were thrown into the village well and others left in nearby woods. The village was then razed to the ground.

The Mexican Defense Secretary stated that the Guatemala Kaibiles were working with the "Zetas" a heavily-armed group of former Mexican army commandos who act as hired guns and hit men for the Gulf drug cartel. It is estimated that in the last two years alone, the Zetas have assassinated more than 100 people, including rival drug dealers, public prosecutors, police, and journalists.

Authorities on both sides of the borders are worried about the incorporation of the highly-trained Guatemalan Kaibiles into the already bloody Zeta organization. Guatemala's ambassador in Mexico, Manuel Arturo Soto Aguirre, said that he wasn't able to confirm that members of the elite Kaibil military group were actively participating with drug dealers, but he couldn't deny that possibility, either.

How difficult could the situation get? Well, according the Guatemalan Minister of Defense, there are an estimated 4.000 trained Kaibil soldiers who have been discharged from the Army since the end of the civil war in 1996. Between 1.000 y 1.500 Kaibiles are currently in active service.

There have also been , from the US Department of Homeland Security no less, that some 30 Kaibiles have been training Zeta forces in northern Mexico near the U.S border at McAllen, Texas.

And finally... because it's important to know... these Kaibiles didn't appear out of thin air. Beside receiving training in two Centers in Guatemala, certain Kaibil officers were graduates of the infamous in Fort Benning, Georgia.

In fact, Col. Lex J. Parker, in his "Farewell Remarks to the Commando Course" even compared the training at the School of the Americas to that of the Guatemalan Kaibiles:

You now will become the last group of proud "Commandos" of the School of the Americas, a course rich in tradition and acceptability in the western hemisphere, and which is on a par with such courses as the "Lanceros," the "Kaibiles," the "Tezones," the "Cazadores," and the Jungle Expert Course.


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Posted by elcanche at September 28, 2005 04:05 PM

As I was reading this entry I was thinking "School of the Americas, School of the Americas, School of the Americas..." and then of course you confirmed my assumption.
The cycle of violence that the Reagan Administration began in the 80's never ends. Whether it's in Central America, or the Middle East... that's the real "trickle down effect" of his policies.

Posted by: Joel at September 29, 2005 08:47 AM

If it's okay I'd like to link this entry in my blog... It's worth being read. - Joel

Posted by: Joel at September 29, 2005 08:49 AM
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