China made a rare statement on US' unjust treatment of Guatemala
Published: Jun 02, 2022 01:11 PM
Local people peel corn in Chajul, Guatemala on December 12, 2021. Photo: IC

Local people peel corn in Chajul, Guatemala on December 12, 2021. Photo: IC

It is rare for a spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make a statement for a country that has no diplomatic ties with China. However, he recently spoke out for Guatemala.

Located in Central America, Guatemala, one of the least developed countries in the Western Hemisphere, has struggled for decades in the clutches of the United States. Its modern history is a bloody one under US bullying and suppression.

In the early 20th century, the US infiltrated into and looted Guatemala through the discredited United Fruit Company. For almost half a century, the company had seized 70 percent of the land, 90 percent of the railways and 70 percent of the electric power industry and dominated the operations of main ports and telecommunications facilities in Guatemala, raking in huge profits each year that doubled the country's annual fiscal revenue. Moreover, the company set up its own courts and police force, made its own "laws" and even resorted to lynching, as if it had been an "independent kingdom" overriding local government. The hegemonic operation of the United Fruit Company was a nightmare to the Guatemalan people, leaving millions homeless and starving. Locked at the bottom of the industrial chain, the resource-rich country has ever since been dependent on US economy and a source of raw materials of the latter.

Had it not been for the political manipulation by the US government, it would not have been possible for a foreign fruit company to control a country. For decades, the US had supported military dictatorships in Guatemala to impose a repressive rule and quell people's resistance. During this period, two Guatemalan presidents rose up against the US' control but failed. They were then both toppled down by US-backed military coups. After his impeachment, President Jacobo Arbens reportedly said bitterly that his personal political tragedy was a result of "touching the economic interests of US monopolies." After President Arbens was deposed, Guatemala was plunged into a 36-year civil war, leading to some 140,000 deaths, 70,000 cases of disappearance and hundreds of thousands of refugees. However, the US turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to all this.

In recent years, US bullying and interference have continued unabated in Guatemala. Under the pretext of "law enforcement assistance", it sent troops to Guatemala citing ineffectiveness of the latter in combating drug trafficking. The president of Guatemala, after refusing to support the US' invasion of Iraq, was extradited to the United States to stand trial for corruption and money laundering. Unable to address the issue of illegal immigration, the US forced Guatemala to become a "safe third country" for the flow of migration... And the list goes on and on.

Guatemala, though still maintaining so-called diplomatic relations with the Taiwan authorities, has been dragged into a pitiful situation lately. The US has threatened to sanction it after the attorney general of Guatemala obtained a renewed mandate. On May 24, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, when asked about US' sanction threat against Guatemala at the regular press conference, pointed out that the US move is guided by the Monroe Doctrine and is not supported by the people. By placing itself above other countries, the US is practicing power politics, hegemony and bullying.

At the first China-CELAC Transport Cooperation Forum held a few days ago, the Guatemalan representative expressed interest in strengthening cooperation with China. It is hoped that Guatemala will be able to stand on the right side of history someday.

The author is an international affairs observer. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn