Viewing cable 03GUATEMALA2017
Title: GUATEMALA'S NO SHOOT-DOWN POLICY

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03GUATEMALA20172003-08-07 17:53:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Guatemala
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L GUATEMALA 002017 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2013 
TAGS: SNAR MOPS EAIR PREL PINR GT
SUBJECT: GUATEMALA'S NO SHOOT-DOWN POLICY 
 
 
Classified By: PolMil Officer Robert E. Copley for reason 1.5 (a) and ( 
b). 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: Following the April 14 downing of a civilian 
aircraft carrying cocaine in Honduras, we have met with 
senior Guatemalan military officials to confirm that the GOG 
has a strict policy against firing on civilian aircraft 
believed to be transporting narcotics and to ensure that they 
understand that the shootdown of drug laden civilian aircraft 
would not/not help the GOG get recertified as a cooperating 
partner on the war on drugs.  Senior GOG military officials 
at every level assured us that the necessary safeguards are 
in place.  End Summary. 
 
¶2. (C) The April 14 shoot down by the Honduran Air Force of a 
civilian aircraft carrying narcotics raised our concern that, 
in the GOG's interest in obtaining USG counternarcotics 
"recertification," some in the Guatemalan military may have 
considered relaxing their strict rules against shooting down 
suspect aircraft.  The Ambassador instructed MilGroup and DAO 
to engage the Guatemalan military at the highest levels to 
restate our policy against shootdowns, and to make it clear 
that violations of it would be devastating in the USG's 
evaluation of GOG counter-narcotics cooperation. 
Furthermore, a shootdown would lead to the immediate 
suspension of USG information sharing on potential narcotics 
flight tracks. 
 
¶3. (C) The USG Military Group Commander met separately with 
Minister of Defense Moran, Army Chief of Staff Rios Sosa and 
Air Force Commander Hasse to deliver this message.  The 
senior GOG military leaders assured us that the GOG has firm 
guidelines in place to ensure that a shootdown will not 
happen, and that they fully understood our message that a 
shootdown would kill rather than help "recertification" 
consideration. 
 
¶4. (C) The DATT met with the MOD again in July to reinforce 
our concerns about the possibility of an "accidental" 
shootdown.  The MOD assured DATT that strict guidelines had 
been issued, that in no case will the Guatemalan Air Force 
fire warning shots at civilian aircraft.  He further 
indicated that the only situation in which Air Force pilots 
were authorized to use their weapons was in self defense 
after being fired upon. 
HAMILTON