After a very lengthy legal process, “former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty on Friday of genocide and crimes against humanity during the bloodiest phase of the country’s 36-year civil war,” Reuters reports.
Montt came to power in Guatemala in a 1982 military coup. Not surprisingly, the United States trained him at the infamous School of the Americas, where many a future Latin American mass murderer learned his trade. After coming to power amid instability, Montt proceeded to slaughter thousands of innocent people, mostly poor indigenous villagers. At the height of the bloodshed, the number of killings and disappearances reached more than 3,000 per month.
Throughout his mass atrocities, Montt continued to receive extensive support from the United States. President Reagan, America’s freedom-loving hero of the 80’s, described Montt as “a man of great personal integrity.” The Reagan administration actively covered up and aided Montt’s ruthless crimes against humanity – you know, for the sake of democracy.
Montt will spend the rest of his life in jail and will be forever remembered in the history books as a genocidal murderer. No one has dared to suggest whether those in Washington who supported Montt’s crimes ought to face similar justice.
Update: Jim Lobe’s blog post following the Montt conviction on Friday is a must-read. In it, Lobe points out that Elliot Abrams, respected scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, probably bears considerable personal responsibility for his involvement in U.S. policy toward Guatemala as Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for human rights. In another post, Lobe points out the irony of having Elliot Abrams, a veteran of the Iran-Contra scandal in which the Reagan administration secretly and illegally sold weapons to Iran in order to continue supporting the ruthless Contra rebels in Nicaragua in violation of explicit congressional action to stop said support, comment on the Benghazi “cover-up.” Read them both.
11 thoughts on “Reagan’s Friend and Ally Convicted of Genocide”
Great news and a big hand for the people of Guatemala for putting on a trial the "International Community" wouldn't dare to think of having it in the international institutions used to try accused perpetrators who are overwhelmingly from defeated parties in conflicts. This was a very important trial because it was done within the national court system, it put in the dock a U.S. backed military dictator who has not been demonized in the U.S. media.
"…No one has dared to suggest whether those in Washington who supported Montt’s crimes ought to face similar justice."
I would think plenty of people in Guatemala would like to see surviving U.S. officials with Guatamalan blood on their hands put in the dock. Rios-Montt is quoted as having said to journalist Alan Nairn that if he is going to be put on trial that Reagan and company should be put on trial. I believe he said they should be put on trial first. Nairn's reporting on Guatemala is easily the best in the English speaking world. Watch on Democracy Now! the archive footage of Nairn's interview with the current president of the country back when he was an officer taking part in the bloody campaign to repress dissent in rural areas. It amazes me how willing he was to talk on camera about what he was doing. I think this might be because Guatemala wasn't getting the media attention El Salvador was getting at the time.
regarding "Montt will spend the rest of his life in jail" please note as reported in some news media: "the current Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina, refuses to accept that genocide ever took place. Today’s ruling is not final… the decision will not be final until the moment they run out of appeals.”
If Rios-Montt ever goes to jail he is unlikely to be treated like the rest of the prison population and instead his stay will be made as comfortable as possible.
Abrams, Yes. IranContra taught the American people the nasty parts of humanity that could give us Vietnam were still allowed DC access. Iran-Contra should have been the end to the Kissinger and Brzezinski types, the Abrams and Negroponte types….But no dice. They were let off the hook, never hunted down by international lawyers.
Boy John Kerry turned out to be a despicable man. Imagine, he was actually allowed at Hunter S Thompson's funeral. Wonder if it was such connections that paved the way to win over the so-called anti-establishment musicians like Dylan and Neil Young so they'd be burn-outed cheerleaders for Obama. Even after his obvious proxy war Syria? Bob Dylan sucks now… But I digress..
Back to Iran-Contra, Negroponte went and installed El Salvador Option in Iraq and groomed Robert Ford there. Ford who would then transfer to Syria. Say no more, eh?
Regarding Abrams on Benghazi, that's like Lee Hamilton on Iran-Contra and the Iraq Study Group. You guys all know Hamilton's speech writer was given to Obama back before the 2008 election –Ben Rhodes. Rhodes worked under Hamilton at the Wilson Center. Wrote much of Obama's propaganda …and now, with an MA in creative writing, is one of Obama's "national security advisers" heh.
yep. John Kerry, little Lord Ketchup Sauce. What a fine mess they've gotten us into, but at least the outsider was sent to jail while the elites of DC continue to walk freely. Good old America washes itself of such "dirty" people. Abrams scheduled to talk on Good Morning America. Imagine the blood that boils in the families of the dead, knowing Abrams et al will live a life of privilege and comfort.
One day America might have the intestinal fortitude to Prosecute its Presidential War Criminals!
The United States of America could then become like Guatemala, Argentina or even Chile (was Pinochet another graduate of the same "illustrious" School of the Americas) a country of LAW!
Abrams scheduled to talk on Good Morning America. Imagine the blood that boils in the families of the dead, knowing Abrams et al will live a life of privilege and comfort.
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The United States has decided to resume delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt, the Pentagon announced late Tuesday, backtracking on a decision officials made last summer following the country’s military coup and its violent aftermath.
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One can solve this problem by granting some degree of moral relativism and accepting that norms may evolve over time and, therefore, one can criticize the continued enforcement of old laws in the light of the current norms. People may find such law acceptable, but the use of State power to coerce citizens to comply with that law lacks moral justification.
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