Monday, August 05, 2019

Shithole Country?

I first came to Guatemala when I'd just turned twenty-one. My initial experience of the country was what you might call 'not propitious'. The vehicle that I was travelling in was pulled over by guerrillas and I faced a row of AK-toting teenagers. 
After this I made it safely to Santa Elena, crossed the causeway to Flores on foot, wolfed down a mojarra with some Gallo and have retained my fascination and affection for the country ever since.
So it pains me a little to read articles like this. One is left to conclude that at least the likes of Donald Trump come straight out with the 'shithole country' trope. 
American liberals on the other hand, produce an argument like this that is pretty much the same thing, but couched in terminology that makes them feel good. 
Statistcs 'compiled by non-profits' supposedly point to persecution of the LGBTI community here, but if one adjusts for the prevalence of powerful, interfering foreign organisations in Guatemala compared to many developed nations, how great is this danger, relatively? 
The problem is that this form of analysis has the inevitable tendency to associate countries like Guatemala with only the worst aspects of their social and political conditions. Just imagine that you were to do the same for the ‘greatest nation on earth’. 
To state that Guatemala is incapable of serving as a safe third country - without even reading the relevant agreement - is American liberal dog whistle for ‘shithole country’. 

(WTF with that donkey..?)

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