Former Guatemala dictator Rios Montt has been convicted of genocide
(Reuters) – Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty on Friday May 10 of genocide and crimes against humanity during the bloodiest phase of the country’s 36-year civil war and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
“Iusticia” the crowd roared when the verdict was read.The consummate liar and mass murderer now 86 met his deserved fate albeit many years too late.
A 50 year sentence was handed down for his shocking scorched earth policy of mass murder of Guatemala’s Mayan Indians.
What was surprising about the verdict was the bravery of the state judiciary which had to prosecute Montt wearing bullet proof jackets. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country. It is estimated that 200,00 were murdered by Montt and his state thugs.
Montt, the crazed evangelical Christian in his disgusting testimony denied all of the charges.He would have made Pinocchio proud of his incredible testimony which was obviously disbelieved by all
I never authorized, I never signed, I never proposed, I never ordered that there be any attacks against a race, an ethnic group or any religion. I never did it. And with everything they’ve said, there has been no proof of evidence of my participation.
Well there was proof and lots of it. 100 prosecution witnesses described massacres, torture and rape committed by Guatemalan state forces.
The brilliant journalist Alan Nairn interviewed Montt when he was ousted from power and he asked him whether he thought that he should be put on trial for his role in the massacres and whether he should be executed, since he, Ríos Montt, is a big supporter of the death penalty. When Nairn asked him that, he suddenly leapt up to his feet and shouted,. “Yes, try me! Put me against the wall!” But then said, that if he was going to be put on trial, the Americans should be put on trial with him. He specifically mentioned Ronald Reagan, who was one of his great sponsors.
And this is the main point here.
Reagan shockingly stated that Ríos Montt was a man of great integrity who was totally devoted to democracy and was getting a bum rap on human rights.Both the United states and Israel bear much blame for this human disaster. The USA supported Montt all the way and Israel supplied the weaponry. By 1983, the New York Times reported that Israel was not only acting as a surrogate for the United States (in a similar fashion to its actions in Nicaragua) was growing the market for Israeli arms.
The cooperation didn’t just involve UZIs and hand grenades; it also included providing intelligence and operational training, both in Israel and in Guatemala, to the right-wing government. Rios Montt openly declared on ABC News that his success was due to the fact that “our soldiers were trained by Israelis.” Ethical voices were raised at that time by israelis of conscience. according to a Mother Jones article in 1985 Yossi Sarid protested on the floor of the Knesset that the country had “abandoned the green route of agriculture for the red and bloody route of arms.” The Jewish magazine The Tablet quoted the relatives of a man buried at a cemetery in Chichicastenango, “In church they tell us that divine justice is on the side of the poor; but the fact of the matter is, it is the military who get the Israeli guns.”
In 1982 Israeli military advisers helped develop and carry out ‘Plan Victoria’ the devastating scorched earth campaign which Rios Montt .unleashed on the highland population, many Mayan ndians. In June 1983, the Guatemalan embassy in Washington confirmed that “personnel sent by the Israeli government were participating in the repopulation and readjustment programs for those displaced. The complicity of Israel with These Guatemalam murderer’s was never a secret
At a cemetery in Chichicastenango, relatives of a man killed by the military stated, “In church they tell us that divine justice is on the side of the poor; but the fact of the matter is, it is the military who get the Israeli guns.”
In May of 1982 The Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter saying, “Never in our history has it come to such grave extremes. These assassinations now fall into the category of genocide.”
Justice finally caught up with Montt.It has yet to catch up with USA or Israel.