A U..S Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Wednesday showed that military equipment sourced from the United States has been and can be potentially misused by the Guatemalan government, prompting calls for better checks and balances to ensure the equipment’s proper use.

The United States has provided over $66 million in “security assistance” to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras recently, and GAO has found multiple alleged instances of misuse of the equipment in Guatemala, warning that it could continue to happen in the future due to gaps in policies regulating and investigating misuse, according to Al Jazeera.

“It’s incredibly important that agencies maintain a record of the allegations they’ve reviewed,” GAO’s director of international affairs Chelsa Kenney said. “Without recording those allegations, [the Departments of Defense] and State had an inaccurate picture of what happened in the past and that might affect how the agencies would respond if concerns were to arise again in the future.”

The Department of Defense, who had recently donated over 95 vehicles to the Guatemalan government for security assistance related to border security, was lambasted for what’s believed to be an inadequate amount of focus to ensuring proper “end-use monitoring” for the equipment’s use.

An instance where an “act of intimidation” occurred using U.S.-sourced equipment was in 2018, where military jeeps circled around the U.S. Embassy and parked in front of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, whose members then-President Jimmy Morales wanted to expel from the country, The Hill reported.

“This donation, which comes up in the context of this new report, is highly worrisome,” Iduvina Hernandez, director of the Guatemalan group Association for the Study of Security in Democracy, said. “It seems that fundamental issues related to human rights in Guatemala are not of interest to the US Department of Defense.”

“Any assistance to Guatemala’s military is high-risk. Among the Western Hemisphere’s security forces, it has one of the longest and most egregious records of corruption and human rights abuse,” Adam Isacson, defense oversight director at the Washington Office on Latin America, said. “The failure to invest sufficiently in robust end-use monitoring of this high-risk military aid had disastrous consequences. Those consequences were also obvious and foreseeable, which makes this even more disappointing,” he continued.

Guatemala Equipment Misuse Rep. Pic
A report from the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday shows the potential misuse of military equipment donated by the Department of Defense to the country, with potential problems in the future related to the donations. This is a representational image. Karim MANJRA/Unsplash.

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