|Guatemalan Military Aid Ban Lifted in House|
From the Latin America Working Group
The Advocate, August 2005
For the first time in fifteen years, the House lifted the ban on International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds for Guatemala. The June decision came as part of the House version of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The Senate maintained the ban, however, in its draft of the bill. The two versions will be reconciled in conference committee in coming months, which will determine whether or not the Guatemalan IMET ban is lifted.
A congressional decision to allow the release of military funds through IMET would indicate U.S. approval of the Guatemalan government and its human rights record, at a time when the human rights situation in Guatemala is grave. The ban on U.S. military assistance to Guatemala consists of restrictions on both IMET and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds. Both the House and Senate left the ban on FMF funds intact for 2006.
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), the top democrat on the foreign operations subcommittee, expressed her apprehension on the House floor over lifting the IMET ban. ?I am also concerned that the bill places no conditionality whatsoever on U.S. military assistance to Indonesia and international military education and training for Guatemala. ?[D]espite the Guatemalan government?s noncompliance with military reform stipulated in the Peace Accords, we have removed IMET restrictions on that country as well.?
The ban on U.S. military aid to Guatemala originally came as a response to the Guatemalan military?s flawed human rights record amidst the armed internal conflict. The Guatemalan military has undergone some reforms since the signing of the 1996 Peace Accords, but has not yet made enough progress to justify receiving U.S. military assistance again.
Tell Congress to keep the Guatemalan IMET ban in place! Contact your representative and senators and urge them to keep the ban in the final version of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
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