Guatemala: genocide shmenicide

Guatemala: genocide shmenicide

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John Ahni Schertow
June 4, 2007
 

José Efraín Ríos Montt, the “born-again” evangelical Protestant responsible for killing some 70,000 Mayan peasants and political dissidents between 1982-83… is once again running for president.

In 1999 he was charged with crimes of genocide, state terrorism and other crimes against humanity; and in 2006, a Spanish court issued an international arrest warrant for him, seeking his extradition. He is also facing legal action in two Guatemalan courts for crimes he committed when he was in power.

Activists have been working to block the candidacy of this former dictator, as the legal status of ‘candidate’ would grant him judicial immunity for four years. (unless he is somehow elected, which has already been declared, “whether they like it or not“)

From IPS News – Ríos Montt said in a recent press conference that he and his party would celebrate the acceptance of his candidacy in a “fiestecilla” (little party) in the Plaza de la Constitución, a square in central Guatemala City.

He also pointed out that he lacked immunity from prosecution for four years, after quitting Congress to run for president in 2003 (he came in third), saying that “I was available for four years, and if the others are useless and failed to take legal action, that’s their problem…”

Under the scorched earth counterinsurgency policy applied in the early 1980s, some 440 rural indigenous villages were completely destroyed in Guatemala, along with all of their inhabitants, by the security forces and the roughly 50,000 members of the paramilitary “civil defence patrols” armed by the military. (source)

Candidacy Accepted

Last week, Montt’s registration as a congressional candidate was officially accepted by the Guatemalan Supreme Court, and he held his little party in Guatemala City. Human Rights groups continue working to revoke his candidacy.

Take Action

From Nisgua: Now is a critical time for North Americans to stand in solidarity with those seeking justice for genocide. If you have not already done so, please complete our online action (and share it with your friends and family) demanding that the case against Ríos Montt move forward:
http://nisgua.org/get_involved/action_alerts/action_alert_02.asp

Further Reading

US government responsible for genocide and terror in Guatemala
The Roles of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank

For news about what’s currently happening in Guatemala, please visit http://gsn.civiblog.org/blog”>this website. To learn about Rios Montt and the political history of Guatemala, see here

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