In the weeks following the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three attachés in Libya, President Obama and his message-carriers have dissembled as to how and why it occurred. But Obama’s policy in a country much closer to home has a light to shine on the matter. For the past year or two, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other diplomats have been hand-holding an attorney general in Guatemala who has twisted the law for political purposes and acted against a constitutional order.
A fact rarely noted, but quite germane, is that the first U.S. ambassador ever to die at the hands of terrorists was our envoy to Guatemala. In 1968 Ambassador John Gordon Mein was shot dead on a Guatemala street. For three decades afterward the country was riven by insurgency; it continues to be plagued by lawlessness. Two years ago Claudia Paz y Paz, a doctor of law, was appointed attorney general at the behest of a United Nations commission that now exercises legal authority in Guatemala. Paz y Paz and the UN commission both have sweeping mandates to address issues left over from decades of conflict.
At the time of Ambassador Mein’s killing, Claudia Paz y Paz’s father was a member of the “Rebel Armed Forces” (FAR) that had carried out the crime. Due to the anonymous manner in which that group functioned, we cannot know whether Enrique Paz y Paz took part in the murder itself; but we do know he belonged to the FAR. Claudia Paz y Paz has spent much of her adult life litigating her country’s conflict — but less, it seems, on the side of strict legality than on the side of a political agenda that has an irresistible appeal to Leftists around the world. And the Obama administration has fallen closely in line behind her.
Secretary of State Clinton personally lobbied for Paz y Paz’s retention in office when Guatemala’s presidency changed hands in early 2012. The U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, Melanne Verveer, nominated Paz y Paz for inclusion in a special report by Forbes magazine on “women who are changing the world.” Washington’s ambassador to Guatemala, Arnold Chacon, is outspoken in the attorney general’s support. He has even told visitors that whenever he visits the State Department he goes to the head of the line at Clinton’s door, so eager is the secretary for news about Paz y Paz.
All this adulation is in marked contrast to the attitudes of many Guatemalans toward their attorney general. A major legal problem in recent years has been a rash of land-invasions throughout the country. Paz y Paz routinely does not prosecute the invasions. In cases that are prosecuted, Paz y Paz has instructed her district attorneys that they must allow squatters reasonable time to get off the land — a proviso that contravenes the nation’s penal code.