Reagan and Rios Montt: The Company You Keep

by Mike Kimel

Reagan and Rios Montt: The Company You Keep

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt is on trial for genocide.

I was born in the US, but my formative years were spent in South America in the 1980s. That the right wing Guatamelan military dictatorship was massacring unarmed civilians on a large scale was no secret, andwas widely known and reported even in a region full of right wing military dictatorships engaging in large scale atrocities against civilians. On private channels, the CIA was reporting that “when an army patrol meets resistance and takes fire from a town or village it is assumed that the entire town is hostile and it is subsequently destroyed… The well documented belief by the Army that the entire Ixil Indian population is pro-EGP has created a situation in which the Army can be expected to give no quarter to combatants and non-combatants alike.” Part of the document from which those quotes were derived has still not been declassified, so there is no telling what else is in it.

All of which is to say, Ronald Reagan knew precisely what was happening when he said Rios Montt “is a man of great personal integrity and commitment” and that the dictator was “″>”totally dedicated to democracy in Guatemala.” Reagan would later lift the military embargo to Guatemala which aided in the genocide.

It’s also worth noting that Rios Montt counts Pat Robertson as a personal friend, and was buddy-buddy with Jerry Falwell before the latter’s death as well.