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The Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt dies, unpunished

The 91-year-old general was considered one of the bloodiest military in Latin America

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The Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt dies, unpunished
More information
  • A medical report exempts Ríos Montt from going to a second trial
  • The trial of Ríos Montt revives division in Guatemala
  • The dictator of Guatemala arrives in stretcher to trial for genocide

The former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt, one of most bloodthirsty miliary in Latin America and who led with iron hand destinations of Guatemala between March 23, 1982 and August 8, 1983, has died this Sunday in Guatemala City , at age of 91.

As people close to Ríos Montt confirmed, he died first thing this Sunday morning for cardiac arrest. His health had deteriorated in recent months. In July 2015, he was declared "mentally incapable" to face a new trial against him, which was subject to annulment of process in which he was sentenced to 80 years ' imprisonment for genocide and or crimes against humanity in May 2013.

"(Ríos Montt) presents a deteriorating painting that prevents him from adequately rendering from point of view of thought and judgement (...) It is not in full use of its mental faculties... "reads medical report of National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF, dependent of prosecutor's office).

Gambler of politics, old soldier, who likes or did not manage his taste and craving destinations of Guatemala during final stage of twentieth century and first decade of 21st century, died without knowing jail, despite being sentenced in May 2013. He could not help but be known condemned by history and have to endure, throughout process, testimonies of dozens of survivors of conflict, who during trial put in eyes of world atrocities committed by army during The Civil war that Ensangrentó Guatemala between 1960 and 1996, and which reached its highest levels of savagery during Riosmonttista government.

From his dungeon in a military barracks, where after his sentence he stayed two nights, rivers maneuvered with extreme ability so that constitutional, in an opinion without any legitimacy for reasons of competition, annuls sentence and orders to repeat trial. At present, and without presence of rivers, a high-impact tribunal once knew case.

The satrap benefited from all procedural guarantees inherent in rule of law, which he denied to his victims. During his government, 15 people were shot after being sentenced by faceless judges in summary trials. The last five – three civilians and two low-ranking soldiers – were passed by arms on eve of visit of John Paul II, first time in history that a pope visited Guatemala, which led to a worldwide scandal. It was officially said that perpetrators had admitted commission of crimes y were accused of – integrating a gang of assailants and rapists –, an extreme that ir lawyers denied to local press, pointing out that y had been forced to accept guilt amid Savage Tortures.

Rios and his lawyers found in figure of genocide key to reversing sentence. They explained to factual powers that this crime opened doors for some entrepreneurs – particularly agrarian employers who financed Army's operatives and made available to military ir aircraft to support operations of Repression, could be equally prosecuted.

According to Guatemala's reports, never again, of failed Bishop Juan Gerardi, and Guatemala, memory of silence, of UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission, was during mandate of Ríos Montt when majority of massacres of Unarmed civilian population. Some 10,000 Guatemalans, mostly Indians, were extrajudicially executed and number of refugees amounted to 100,000. The UN historical Clarification report raises 448 number of deleted villages on map in 17 months of Riosmonttista management.

With return to democracy in 1985, Rios took advantage of Prussian discipline imposed on his parliamentary group to tilt in favor of his interests balance in those laws that require vote of two thirds of totality of seats, extreme that he He facilitated successfully negotiating impunity that allowed him to circumvent proceedings against him.

His greatest political achievement was to take his party to Presidency of Republic in period from 14 January 2000 to same date in 2004. As Constitution of Guatemala forbids coup-makers to aspire to power – it occupied head of state after overthrowing also general Romeo Lucas García, Rios found in Alfonso Portillo man who allowed him to govern as he wished since presidency of Legislative.

The government Portillo-Riosmonttista is considered one of most corrupt in history of Guatemala, only surpassed by Government of Patriotic party, whose top leaders, former President Otto Perez Molina and who was his vice president, Roxana Baldetti , accumulate processes in pre-trial prison to which y are subjected.

Bloody trajectory

Efraín Ríos Montt was sued in 1999 before Spanish national Court for Nobel Peace Prize Rigoberta Menchú, charged with crimes against humanity such as genocide, torture, enforced disappearances and State terrorism. Thanks to immunity that assured him of his status as a member, old general managed to evade his prosecution.

With his death, Rios joins also deceased generals Romeo Lucas García, President of Guatemala between 1978 and 1982, and Germán Chupina Barahona, chief of police during same period, considered, with rivers, as biggest violators of rights of Man in Guatemala. Lucas and Chupina were masterminds behind assault and burn of Spanish Embassy in Guatemala on January 31, 1980.


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