When we spoke about the concept of gift giving in different cultures, I thought about the long history that the United States has with different countries and their aid, usually of military involvement. Particularly, that of Guatemala during the dictatorship of 36 long years.
During this process, the United States gave military aid to Efrain Rios Montt, the then current military dictator that lead the way to the genocide of many indigenous people of Guatemala. This was done to maintain a relationship between Guatemala and the United States for the future and the dictator used this as a validation for the crimes he was committing.
In this context, I want to address the awkwardness of “gift” giving, in this case, military aid. Now, the United States has continued to push Guatemala into the persecution of the dictator who mandated much of what destroyed Guatemala, with much effect up to today. This push to improve and accelerate many of the needed resources essential to affected and impoverished communities as a topic for The United States, but this has to be done in a manner that acknowledges the involvement of the United States itself, since it has a long and intimate involvement of aiding the destruction of the country, whether that be to indigenous people or the environmental resources that are in the country.
This is not something that just applies to the United States and Guatemala, for the United States has claimed enough authority to be involved in internal conflicts in different countries for some time, enough to influence policy or laws and the need to give up resources in order to continue political relationships within said countries. In the act of gift giving, do you think the United States should be included in the role of reparations when it comes to resolving a lot of what has happened in the past, or should the United States simply stay out of current situations where criminals are charged and policies are changed?