Free Speech for Comrades Only

US State Department Punishes Questioning the Narrative

Free speech for comrades only. Ronald Reagan was right when he said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.

Ronald Reagan was right when he said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. (Mauro Echeverría)

Lee en español.

Editor at large: the US State Department has contradicted its purported support for a free press by canceling the US visa of columnist Carlos Torrebiarte and his wife. He wrote truths that made the State Department uncomfortable and is suffering retribution.

Ronald Reagan was right when he said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction and that it must be fought for and defended by each generation. Though he was referring to the United States at the time, his words ring true today, as a worldwide phenomenon.

In 1996 we in Guatemala lost our freedoms and courage when we allowed foreigners to supposedly verify the peace agreements. Again, foolishly, in 2006 we surrendered our sovereignty to the UN anti-impunity commission (CICIG) when we enabled it to transform those defeated in war into victors. Through the courts, the Prosecutor General’s Office (MP) and the Constitutional Court (CC) imprisoned innocent people and turned the trials into a media circus with the aim of creating terror and breaking the will of the people. In the aftermath, we are left with emasculated citizens among us who prefer to remain silent rather than defend their nation for fear of blackmail from the United States, European Union and the Organization of American States. They blatantly disregard the sovereignty of this nation, as if they were its rulers.

Foreigners want us to believe it is forbidden and undemocratic, in our own country, to expect the MP to legally investigate the irregularities of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). The investigation’s purpose would be to put an end to corruption within the institution responsible for ensuring our right to vote and to aim for transparent elections in the future.

My comments in Nuestro Diario, part of an investigation into the anomalies committed by the TSE, resulted in a notice from the US Embassy. It informed me and my wife that, after 45 years of being eligible for a visa, we are now suddenly ineligible. This attempt to intimidate those with dissenting views, in situations that do not concern their countries, is an affront to freedom of speech, characteristic of totalitarian states.

If defending private property and freedom, and expressing my opinion about Guatemala’s issues, affects their interests, so be it.

Carlos Torrebiarte

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