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Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:11 PM

In Effort to Try Dictator, Guatemala Shows New Judicial Might

Source: New York Times

In Effort to Try Dictator, Guatemala Shows New Judicial Might
March 17, 2013 6:04 pm
By ELISABETH MALKIN / The New York Times

XIX, Guatemala -- Tiburcio Utuy thought he saw fear cross the former dictator's face.

A judge had just ruled that the military dictator, Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, now 86, should stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity committed under his rule in the 1980s, a decision Mr. Utuy and other Maya survivors of Guatemala's 34-year civil war had gathered in the courtroom to hear in person.

"He won't suffer the same way we suffered -- but he will be scared," Mr. Utuy said in his mountaintop village a few days after the ruling in late January. "And maybe he will spend a little bit of time in prison."

Mr. Utuy, 71, is set to be a witness in a trial that few believed would ever take place.

But Guatemala's justice system has begun a transformation. In a show of political will, prosecutors are taking long-dormant human rights cases to court, armed with evidence that victims and their advocates have painstakingly compiled over more than a decade -- as much to bear witness as to bring judgment.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/world/in-effort-to-try-dictator-guatemala-shows-new-judicial-might-679730/#ixzz2NqEjJS1t

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Reply In Effort to Try Dictator, Guatemala Shows New Judicial Might (Original post)
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 OP
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #1
Kingofalldems Mar 2013 #2
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #5
The Magistrate Mar 2013 #9
geek tragedy Mar 2013 #3
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #4
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #6
PufPuf23 Mar 2013 #7
Cal Carpenter Mar 2013 #8
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #10

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:16 PM

1. Reference to U.S. President Reagan in the article:

More information came from the release of American government files, declassified by the National Security Archive in Washington. They showed that American diplomats and intelligence agencies knew that the Guatemalan Army was carrying out the massacres, even though the Reagan administration argued in public that human rights conditions were improving.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:21 PM

2. The US right wing elitists want to duplicate that right here.

They loved those dictatorships back then.

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Response to Kingofalldems (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 10:45 PM

5. They have always idolized the fascist Latin American puppet butcher dictators.

They continue to support them long after the rest of the world has learned of their criminal records of atrocities against human beings unlucky enough to be living without powerful political alllies to protect them.

As the great investigative reporter Allan Nairn has pointed out, “In '82 and '83, as Gen. Rios Montt was sending military sweeps into the northwest highlands, annihilating by their own count 662 rural villages, Reagan went down, embraced Rios Montt, and said Guatemala was getting a bum rap on human rights. The U.S. military general attaché at the time told me the sweep strategy was in large part his idea, and that he was working hand in hand with (the Guatemalan military) to carry it out. It's hard to overstate the U.S. role, because the U.S. role was so extensive.”


Reagan’s Hand in Guatemala’s Genocide
January 23, 2012

By Robert Parry

Guatemala is taking steps to hold an ex-dictator accountable for genocide committed against Maya-Ixil Indians in the 1980s, even as the United States continues to honor the American president — Ronald Reagan — who helped make that genocide possible.

If there is one consensus in the mainstream U.S. news media, it seems to be that not a discouraging word can be spoken about Ronald Reagan. On those rare occasions when major U.S. news outlets do make mention of the Guatemalan genocide of the 1980s, they circumspectly reframe the story to avoid mentioning Reagan’s role.

Yet, it was Reagan’s Cold War obsessions that emboldened right-wing “death squads” to slaughter tens of thousands of their own people across many parts of the Third World but no place more so than in the desperately poor countries of Central America.

An Ardent Defender

In the 1970s and 1980s, as Latin American security forces were sharpening themselves into finely honed killing machines, Reagan was there as an ardent defender, making excuses for the atrocities, and sending money and equipment to make the forces even more lethal.

For instance, in the late 1970s, when Argentina’s dictators were inventing a new state-terror program called “disappearances” – the unacknowledged murders of dissidents – Reagan was making himself useful as a columnist deflecting the human rights complaints coming from the Carter administration.


Thursday, 01 March 2012 08:56
Guatemala's Former Leader Charged with Genocide. Pat Robertson Enabled It

Thirty years ago, the Religious Right played a significant role in U.S.-Central American relations: vigorously supporting President Ronald Reagan's so-called low-intensity wars in the region - the contras in Nicaragua, right wing paramilitary death squads in El Salvador, and military dictators in Guatemala - a policy that was responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people. The Religious Right's support was in part couched in the struggle against communism, and in part tied to what they hoped would be the expansion of evangelical Protestantism in the region.

Guatemala's José Efraín Ríos Montt was a favorite of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Loren Cunningham's Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and televangelist Pat Robertson.

In his book, The Most Dangerous Man in America?: Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition, Americans United's Rob Boston pointed out that Pat Robertson had praised Ríos Montt for his "enlightened leadership" and claimed that the dictator insisted on "honesty in government." Observed Robertson, "I was in Guatemala three days after Ríos Montt overthrew the corrupt (previous) government. The people had been dancing in the street for joy, literally fulfilling the words of Solomon who said, 'When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.'"

According to Right Web, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, "Within a week of the 1982 coup ... Robertson flew to Guatemala to meet with the new president. Ríos Montt's first interview as president was with Robertson, who aired it on (his Christian Broadcasting Network's program)‘The 700 Club' and praised the new military government. Robertson also urged donations for International Love Lift, a relief project of Ríos Montt's U.S. church, Gospel Outreach. Ríos Montt said that Pat Robertson had offered to send missionaries and ‘more than a billion dollars' in aid from U.S. fundamentalists. Robertson, however, claimed that he hoped to match the earlier CBN donation of $350,000 in earthquake relief and send ‘a small team of medical and agricultural experts' to Guatemala. CBN reportedly sponsored a campaign to send money and agricultural and medical technicians to help design the first model villages under Ríos Montt."



What a shame there are still people in U.S. government, other influential positions, who STILL support this unholy behavior toward the human race. They set the world back centuries.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 01:50 PM

9. All True, Ma'am

And to be blunt, perfectly knowable at the time, to anyone who paid a bit of attention and was willing to look into things a little.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 07:51 PM

3. This guy and his US handlers should rot in prison. I wish I could be more


encouraged about Guatemala's judicial system, but it's still a place where murderers and other criminals are virtually guaranteed to avoid prosecution. The only good thing that could be said is that it's not Honduras's criminal justice system.

The state security apparatus that committed these crimes did not disappear--it just transformed itself into criminal cartels, and still operates with impunity.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 09:47 PM

4. Guatemala ex-dictator to stand trial on genocide

Guatemala ex-dictator to stand trial on genocide
— Jan. 28 9:51 PM EST

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A former U.S.-backed dictator who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala's civil war will stand trial on charges he ordered the murder, torture and displacement of thousands of Mayan Indians, a judge ruled Monday.

Human rights advocates have said that the prosecution of Jose Efrain Rios Montt would be an important symbolic victory for the victims of one of the most horrific of the conflicts that devastated Central America during the last decades of the Cold War.

He is the first former president to be charged with genocide by a Latin American court.

"It's the beginning of a new phase of this struggle," said Paul Seils, vice president of the New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice, which has worked extensively on war-crimes cases in Guatemala. He said the decision was "a good step forward" but he expected the prosecution of Rios Mont to encounter stiff resistance from forces in Guatemala opposed to the punishment of government-allied forces for their actions during the civil war.

Guatemala's leaders have been criticized for years for their inability or unwillingness to prosecute government forces and allied paramilitaries accused of marching into Mayan villages, carrying out rapes and torture, and slaughtering women, children and unarmed men in a "scorched earth" campaign aimed at eliminating the support for a left-wing guerrilla movement.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 12:45 PM

6. Guatemala ready for genocide trial

Guatemala ready for genocide trial
Efrain Rios Montt, the country's former military ruler, faces charges in a landmark case.
Romina Ruiz-Goiriena Last Modified: 18 Mar 2013 15:44

Guatemala City, Guatemala - It was nightfall when the army arrived to San Gaspar Chajul, a town in the department of Quiche in northern Guatemala.

Frightened, Antonio Cabo and his family ran away from the troops, and into the darkness. They climbed up a tree and used branches for cover. In the distance, people were being dragged from their homes. They were yelling for help in Ixil, one of more than 20 Mayan languages spoken in this country.

"When I close my eyes, I can still hear them," he told Al Jazeera. "But we were the only ones to understand their cries". From the tree, he watched as the army killed 95 people. It was January 1982; Antonio was 11 years old.

The army, Cabo said, would return two more times before finally burning down his home in March that same year. Each time, they pillaged more of his village. His grandmother and two-month-old sister didn't survive.

Now 41, Cabo is set to testify as trial opens against former Guatemalan leader Efrain Rios-Montt. According to the prosecutors, the retired general is charged with genocide for the killing of 1,771 indigenous Ixiles in 1982 and 1983, when he was the country's de facto president.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 01:37 PM

7. Rios Montt and Gospel Outreach Church of Eureka, CA

The Way Cleared for a Pentecostal Prophet to Rule Guatemala Again

In 1974, when Brig. Gen. Efrain Rios Montt was robbed of his rightful election victory by former President Carlos Arana Osorio, he fled to California and joined forces with evangelical crusader and recovering alcoholic Jim Durkin, who headed the Eureka-based Gospel Outreach fundamentalist movement. To Durkin and his followers today, the ascendancy of Rios Montt provides a golden opportunity to propagate their teachings and convert Guatemala into the first Latin American country with a Protestant majority by the end of the '90s.

Rios Montt was reborn from the ashes of defeat and exile, and returned to seize power in the '82 palace coup orchestrated by junior military officers and his "gringo" evangelical cronies, co-founders of the Church of the Word (\o7 el Verbo\f7 ), a Guatemala-based offshoot of Gospel Outreach.

During his abbreviated tenure, Rios Montt preached the word of God on television while publicly executing accused communists and common criminals; in the Highlands, his army mounted a bloody counterinsurgency, named "Bullets and Beans," against insurgents of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union, who had recruited thousands of impoverished Mayan Indians.

By the time Rios Montt was overthrown by Gen. Humberto Mejia Victores in August, 1983, he had left an indelible mark on his countrymen: His scorched-earth policy had wiped out hundreds of Mayan villages, creating a million refugees and leaving 15,000 Guatemalans dead or disappeared.


Former Humboldt County Resident Efraín Ríos Montt, Guatemalan Military Dictator, to Answer to Genocide Charges Tomorrow

Almost thirty years after the end of his brutal military reign, 85-year-old Efraín Ríos Montt will appear in a Guatemala City court tomorrow to answer charges that he ordered the genocide of tens of thousands of his countrymen of Mayan descent during his year-and-a-half long tenure as dictator of that country. (Coverage: Los Angeles Times, New York Times, The Guardian.)

The court case begins less than a week after Ríos Montt lost the immunity from prosecution that he enjoyed as a state official. After being deposed in a coup in 1983, Ríos Montt embarked on a semi-legitimate political career that culminated in a failed presidential bid in 2003 and eventual election to the legislature in 2007.

Sometimes noted in the current round of coverage is the fact that Ríos Montt is an ordained minister with the Iglesia del Verbo (Church of the Word). This is a Latin American offshoot of the Eureka-based Gospel Outreach, a Christian denomination that has its roots in the old Lighthouse Ranch Jesus commune on Table Bluff.


When he returned to Guatemala, Gospel Outreach went with him. Durkin remained his spiritual advisor before, during and after the 1982 coup in which he gained power. As recounted in this Peter Schrag column from 1983 — well after Montt had ramped up the murder of indigenous citizens — researchers from The Nation magazine showed that Gospel Outreach promoted Montt’s cause, raising money among its growing organization to promote their church member as a bastion against the spread of Communism in Latin America. Church leaders were promoted to high governmental positions.

A few years after Montt was thrown out for the first time, a documentary by Bay Area filmmakers Steve Talbot and Elizabeth Farnsworth, showed that the church acted as the good cop to Montt’s bad in the infamous “Beans and Bullets” program, in which hundreds of indigenous villages were razed. These days, Gospel Outreach has an open compound — a large church, plus several homes — just of Harris Avenue, about halfway between Safeway and Redwood Acres.




The church is Gospel Outreach, founded at an abandoned Coast Guard station in northern California in the early 1970's. Members had long hair, played guitars and conducted baptisms in the Pacific. Mild prosperity, haircuts and other trappings of respectability overtook them. The church now has a congregation of 500 in Eureka, Calif.

In 1976, a church member eager to proselytize went to Guatemala. Protestant success there in recent years, the documentary says, is a subject of ''intense speculation.'' Why has it been a success? The documentary offers two reasons: Protestant fundamentalism encourages an ''apocalyptic'' view commensurate with Guatemalan history; military regimes oppose liberal Catholics. Possibly, there is a third reason: The missionaries are awfully good at what they do.

The original church member was followed by others. An outpost of Gospel Outreach was established in Guatemala City, where it attracted upper-middle class converts, among them Gen. Efrain Rios Montt. After a military coup in March 1982, the Army called him out of retirement to head the new Government.


Thus a rural pacification program - called ''Beans and Bullets'' - was an excuse to raze villages and then make the villagers wards of the Government. Gospel Outreach, with the Army's blessing, supplied food, medicine and clothing. An old film clip from the Christian Broadcasting Network shows that even three dentists were flown in.

At the same time, Gospel Outreach spoke to conservative Christians in the United States. In an appeal for funds, Gospel Outreach said that Nicaragua was ''a model for Marxist oppression,'' while El Salvador was the scene of a ''brutal war.'' Guatemala, however, represented ''an opportunity.'' The White House, apparently impressed, allowed Edwin Meese to meet with church leaders.



Guatemalan ex-dictator Rios Montts' Gospel Outreach church based in Eureka Ca.

Rios Montt is under house arrest thes days

Rios Montt massacred 60,000 Maya Indians in 1982-83. He just lost a bid for Guatemalas' presidency.


Carlos Ramirez, co-founder and director, Linda Ramirez, co-founder, Verbo Ministries. (16,18) Jim Durkin (pres), Joseph Anfuso, Rodolfo Bianch, James Jankowiak (dir BR), Efrain Rios Montt (elder). (1,2,3)

Gospel Outreach is an evangelical Pentecostal church with headquarters in Eureka, California and Guatemala. It grew out of the "Jesus People" movement of the 1960s in the United States. Jim Durkin and Joseph Anfuso are among its founders. (1) According to Sara Diamond, a researcher on the Religious Right, Gospel Outreach practices a moderate form of shepherding because its literature emphasizes "commitment," "covenant relationship," and "spiritual authority. "2) It is an evangelical organization that believes the Bible is the Word of God and that the authority of government is ordained by God. (3)

Under Mr. Durkin's direction the basic precepts of GospelOutreach evolved: "unquestioned acceptance of the Bible as the literal word of God; a missionary responsibility to reach out and carry the word to others; a decentralized structure with autonomous congregations and little distinction between clergy and laity; strong emphasis on family ties, and a pentecostal liturgy which includes the practice of speaking in tongues. "3)



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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 01:45 PM

8. Shine a light on the truth


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 04:43 PM

10. UN human rights chief welcomes ‘historic’ trial for Guatemalan genocide

UN human rights chief welcomes ‘historic’ trial for Guatemalan genocide

18 March 2013 – The top United Nations human rights official has applauded the beginning of the “historic” trial of Guatemala’s former head of State and former head of intelligence who are both accused of crimes committed in the Central American nation over 30 years ago, and urged local authorities to ensure the execution of a fair and independent legal proceeding.

“I welcome the beginning of this historic trial, and I hope that it will signal the arrival of long-awaited justice for thousands of victims of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed during the murderous 36-year conflict in Guatemala,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said today in a press release.

She also pointed out that it was “the first time, anywhere in the world,” that a former head of State was being tried for genocide by a national tribunal.

Former president Efraín Ríos Montt and former intelligence chief José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez stand accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity for their roles in Guatemala’s conflict, which spanned from 1960 to 1996, and saw, according to news reports, an estimated 200,000 killed or disappeared.


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