Pentagon will need endorsement from the US Congress to send vehicles to Guatemala

The Pentagon will need a green light from the US Congress for all transfers of US vehicles to Guatemala, according to a defense law passed this week in the United States. that seeks to guarantee that military aid to Central America be transparent.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2022, a $ 768 billion package to fund American defense programs, it should be signed into law in the next few days by President Joe Biden. It passed the Senate on Wednesday with broad support, after being adopted last week by the House of Representatives.

The initiative includes measures promoted by the legislator Norma Torres, born in Guatemala and the only Central American in the US Congress, to ensure supervision of Washington’s military aid to the region, the origin of most of the irregular migrants who arrive at the southern border of the United States.

“Unfortunately, we have seen corrupt and undemocratic leaders use the police forces against their people and our own interests in the region ”, Torres said in a statement.

“These measures will help address the root causes of migration from Central America and support our national security, ”he stated.

The text provides that the Department of Defense dmust receive congressional approval before transferring any US vehicle to Guatemala.

In March 2019, the United States suspended part of its military cooperation with Guatemala considering that the country had made an “incorrect” use of vehicles donated to combat drug trafficking.

On August 31, 2018, several Jeep J8s sent by the Pentagon were stationed in front of the headquarters of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig), attached to the UN. This was hours before the then president Jimmy Morales announced that he would not renew the mandate of the Cicig, that he had asked to be investigated on suspicion of corruption in his campaign.

Torres denounced what he considered intimidation of the Cicig and amended the 2020 NDAA to require that the military aid sent to Guatemala it could only be used for its original purpose.

And recently denounced that Those same jeeps could have been used this year against community leaders in the Guatemalan municipality of El Estor, amid protests against the activity of a mining company in the area.

The 2022 NDAA also requires a series of Pentagon reports related to security assistance to the countries of the Northern Triangle, made up of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

In addition, it requests an evaluation of the Southern Command, which is in charge of US military operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, on how programs in the Northern Triangle promote the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as the defense strategy of the United States.

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