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"They Even Use Us as a Factory for Their Children"

Perspectives on Free Trade Agreements in Guatemala

Eva Kalny

Social movements and NGOs working against economic liberalism in Guatemala consider specific entities—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and, above all, the United States—as their enemies. However, local perceptions of the US in Guatemala are ambiguous. Many Guatemalans claim that US influence on the country has been disastrous, but the US also received many Guatemalan refugees during the civil war and continues to receive illegal migrants from Central America, while countless families depend on remittances that their relatives send back from the US. This article argues that local actors do not simply reproduce images of the great powers as transmitted by the media and NGOs, but create new combinations and elaborate their own interpretations, which make sense at the local level.