Tag Archives | rios montt

The U.S. Media’s Silence On The Landmark Guatemalan Genocide Trial

genocideThe Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote last month:

Ten days ago Guatemalan courts convicted former dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt, to 80 years in prison for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Though the ruling has just been overturned on technical grounds (the trial is expected to backtrack to where it stood on April 19, before again resuming), it was the first time that a country has been able to use its own criminal courts to try a former head of state for genocide, arguably making it one of the most important court decisions in decades.

Despite the significance of the ruling, not just for what it represents for the more than 200,000 victims of the genocide and their families, but also for human rights worldwide, the mass media in the U.S. has mostly ignored the U.S. role in contributing to and supporting the genocide.

The New York Times provided a couple of exceptions in the last week.

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Former Guatemalan Dictator Convicted Of Genocide

guatemalan dictator

The military dictatorship led by Montt slaughtered thousands upon thousands of villagers in an effort to exterminate Guatemala’s indigenous ethnic Mayan population, which it regarded as sympathetic to leftist rebels. No word on whether the CIA and Ronald Reagan will be tried posthumously as accessories. Reuters reports:

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty on Friday of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 80 years in prison. It was the first time a former head of state had been found guilty of genocide in his or her own country.

Montt, now 86, took power after a coup in 1982 and implemented a scorched-earth policy in which troops massacred thousands of indigenous villagers thought to be helping leftist rebels.

Prosecutors say Montt turned a blind eye as soldiers used rape, torture and arson to try to rid Guatemala of leftist rebels during his 1982-1983 rule, the most violent period of a 1960-1996 civil war in which as many as 250,000 people died.

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