August 14, 2011
It was National Armed Forces Day, a holiday in Guatemala, and I was standing on the field of the Mariscal Sabala Military Base in Guatemala City talking to a high-ranking member of the government as we watched a show of aerial skill put on by the air force and special forces commandos.
The exhibition began with a large US made Bell UH1H military helicopter, similar to the kind used in the Vietnam War, from which a half dozen or so soldiers jumped out.
"That helicopter was confiscated from drug traffickers in Izabal, on our Caribbean coast," I was told. "The Guaremalan military only has two old helicopters of its own and only a handful of planes."
In Guatemala, the battle against local drug traffickers and their even more powerful Mexican associates is as uneven a fight as you will find.