Efrain Rios Montt

Ruler of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983

Essential Question

What Aspects of Montt's dictatorship/life make people look upon him in a bad light?

Efrain Rios Montt Rise to Power

Born on June 16, 1926 in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Years later he joined the army in 1943. He quickly moved through the ranks, and held various positions, including the chief of army general staff. In 1974 he briefly resigned from the army and ran for president. On the first counting he was the victor over his opponent, but on the second counting the results were changed, and thought to be so the current ruler could stay in power. Meanwhile there has been a civil war which started the attacks on the indigenous people.In 1976 he retired from the military, and joined an evangelical Protestant church, which he was ordained as a pastor. In 1982 a military coup took place, and the man put in power was Efrain Rios Montt. The government thought he would be liked since he should have been president in 1974.

Efrain Rios Montt in Power

Once Montt was in power rural violence started as soon as he took office. This period was one of the bloodiest periods of anti-Mayan violence. 350 villagers were massacred in 1982 , and soon after 200 more in another village. Thousands were killed in other places, and 2,000 were killed from March to July 1st. Since there were so many massacres 200,000 Guatemalans ran from the violence and entered Mexico. Rios Montt proceeded to declare it legal for the government to kill citizens. Montt started to have little support from any group within Guatemala, and taxes went up to make it economically tough for almost everyone in the country. In August 1883, a military coup removed Rios Montt in the same manor he came to power.

Killed Thousands and over 200,000 Guatemalans Ran from the Violence

Ex-Dictator Rios Montt Stands Trial For Guatemala War Crimes

Video explanation

This short video is about Efrain Rios Montt being tried for the crimes that his accused of committing during his short rule of Guatemala. He is being tried genocide and crimes against humanity. He is accused of being linked to killing of more than 1,700 indigenous people. The indigenous people want justice, and the country wants to make sure that this does not happen again. This video shows that his rule was a very violent one, and it now has caught up with him. It shows that he will be accused for killing all these people, and the lives he affected will be justified by him going to jail or at least give them some peace.

A letter from a Mayan Citizen Gabriela to Efrain Rios Montt

Dear President Montt,

I understand that this letter may have little affect, but its a chance I must take. I do not know what else to do but to try to explain my situation, and the situation of many of my family and friends. I live in a town Huehuetenango, which is one that you should know well since you were born there. Over 300 people in our town had just been killed. This is in the place were you are born, and the killings were committed by your military. How could you let this happen? Members of my family were brutally attacked, and now nothing can replace them. I only ask you to show mercy, so other people in this great country do not have to suffer like I have to. I believe there is good in you, and I hope your religious side triumphs the bad that would allow this to happen. Thousands more will end up dead if something is not done, and I hope to see that some action will be taken. I hope some you and the government will consider changing your ways.



Work Cited

"Efraín Ríos Montt." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.