There’s a tantalizing hint about Israel’s influence within the U.S. government buried in a long article in today’s New York Times — about corruption in Guatemala. Here’s what happened; three years ago, hundreds of thousands of Guatemalan protesters forced their government to agree to an independent investigative agency to root out widespread corruption. The new International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), backed by the United Nations, with U.S. financial support, was headed by a Colombian, and it immediately produced results, including the jailing of a former president.
But after the anti-corruption commission started striking close to the current president, Jimmy Morales, he abolished it, and prevented its head from even coming back into Guatemala. The Trump administration has remained mysteriously silent about Morales’s move — even though the U.S. had previously warmly endorsed its investigations.
Why? There’s a hint deep in the Times’s story today. It turns out that
Guatemala supported the Trump administration’s decision to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — and even followed suit, moving their own embassy there.
There is more. Back in May the billionaire pro-Israel gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson actually provided a Boeing 767 jetliner and flew the Guatemalan delegation to Israel for the ceremony.
An Israeli specialist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem explained then to the Times of Israel that both Guatemala and Honduras, another Central American nation which also moved its embassy, acted to protect their relationships with the U.S. Arie Kacowicz said,
They pretty much need and want support and legitimacy from the US and one way of achieving that is by being on friendly, cordial and even extraordinary terms with Israel.
These truths are jaw-dropping. The Guatemalan anti-corruption commission is a huge success, and a potential inspiration for similar probes in other nations. The Times article speculates that American silence about its demise could weaken efforts by Guatemalans to maintain it:
Without the stalwart support of the United States, many have wondered if the protesters can muster the force they showed in 2015, when hundreds of thousands filled the capital for months.
So. The Guatemalan president and his circle of thieves curry favor with the U.S. administration over Israel; the U.S. does Israel’s bidding (over a minor issue, the location of the embassy). And it is the Guatemalan people who suffer.