Fifteen years old this week, Guatemala’s National Police archive has helped prosecute numerous officials for their roles in the country’s civil war. Now shuttered by a Trump-backed government, its dramatic history illustrates the crucial role of state archives in protecting democracy.
Designed as a bucolic working-class suburb of St. Louis, the nearly all-black town of Centreville now floods with raw sewage every time it rains. “Bring us back some help,” residents say, living through an environmental horror that evokes centuries of official disinterest in black suffering, as well as a future in which the poor are left to suffer in areas made uninhabitable by climate change.
In 2001, three frameworks for handling international crises emerged: the War on Terror, an ill-defined "responsibility to protect" struggling countries, and the Caribbean movement for reparations. The first two have failed, but the third may still have something to tell us.