How the U.S.-Backed Genocide in Guatemala Drove the Child Refugee Crisis
American policy in Guatemala has turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin.
For once the Republicans got it right. But not in the way they think. Indeed, President Obama carries the representative blame for the debacle (including reports of sadistic abuse  by U.S. Border Patrol) of largely Central American migrant children long overwhelming shelters at the border. But the guilt is much broader, ranging from successive administrations all the way down to us, as American taxpayers.
Decades of U.S. policy in Guatemala alone have turned the country into a land of wreck and ruin. This is the ultimate reason migrants have been crossing into the United States in increasing numbers in recent months. Harsh immigration enforcement policies, such as the ones the Obama administration has beenchampioning , add insult to injury as the U.S. punishes migrants when they arrive when it should be paying people like those of Guatemala massive reparations.
“They Owe It to Us”
It is indisputable that the U.S. shares significant responsibility for the genocide of tens of thousands of Guatemalans–mainly indigenous Mayans who comprised a majority of the (at least) 150,000 killed in the 1980s alone. A 1999 UN Truth Commission blamed Guatemalan state forces for 93 percent of the atrocities. That same year, former President Bill Clinton admitted the wrongness of U.S. support support for Guatemalan state violence.