Profiting From Genocide: The World Bank’s Bloody History in Guatemala

Friday, 08 March 2013 00:00 By Cyril Mychalejko, Truthout

Luis A. Moreno, President of Inter-American Development Bank. (Photo: World Economic Forum / Flickr)The

World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) supported genocide in Guatemala and ought to pay reparations, according to a recent report by Jubilee International.

This well-documented accusation surfaces as the Central American nation becomes the first country in the Americas to try a former president for genocide and crimes against humanity in a domestic court. But the prosecution of war criminals and the accusations against International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have so far done little to protect vulnerable communities from the ongoing expansion of mining, oil and other economic interests invading their territories and violating their human rights.

Generating Terror,” the Jubilee Debt Campaign’s report issued in December, examines how international lending and debt by IFIs such as the World Bank and the IDB helped legitimize Guatemala’s genocidal regimes of the late 1970s and early 1980s and essentially subsidized their terror campaigns.

“The lending of Western States and banks and the multilateral banks they control (importantly including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Inter-American Development Bank) was an important element in sustaining the long period of military rule which followed the coup against President (Jacobo) Arbenz in 1954,” the report states. “Particularly worrying, however, is the very dramatic increase in lending that coincided with the highest waves of terror, which reached genocidal proportions in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”

Jubilee’s report uses the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam project as a case study.

“Communities threatened by new similar projects should not let their rights be violated because these projects result in the destruction of the social fabric and even in death,” said Juan de Dios, a Mayan Guatemalan who since 2005 has been spearheading, along with others, the formal Chixoy Dam Reparations negotiation process with the government of Guatemala on behalf of all the Chixoy Dam-harmed communities…….(read more).

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