Efrain Rios Montt


Life Before Presidency

Efrain Rios Montt was born on June 16, 1926 in Huehuetenango, Guetemala. In his early life, Rios Montt had joined the army and quickly rose in the ranks. He held various positions including chief of army general staff under President Carlos Arana. In 1974, had ran for presidency for the first time but, the election was won by his opponent. It was later agreed that the government had changed the election results to remain in power.

Life During Presidency

In 1982, Rios Montt instated himself as president through a coup d'etat where he forced the resignation of two other members of the ruling military triumvirate. Rios Montt is recognized for the intense brutality and violence in his regime. Immediately after Rios Montt came into power, rural violence escalated. Guatemala had experienced one of the bloodiest periods during his reign. Rios Montt was considered a very ruthless leader, showing little compassion for his people. After Montt came into power, massacres began arising throughout Guatemala. Thousands of citizens were being killed in these massacres and Rios Montt did not attempt to deny that the army was involved with the massacres. Many people did not believe that Montt would bring any improvement to Guatemala, they believed that he would only bring violence and destruction. During his reign of terror, more than 200,000 Guatemalans ran to Mexico to escape the violence that was occurring. Rios Montt provided little sympathy for his people. In 1982, he declared it legal for the government to kill it's citizens. He was accused of being responsible for a genocide. Because he did not want to be seen as a terrible leader, he later harshly censored the press which reported his acts. When Rios Montt came down from power, he was removed by a coup.
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Artistic Element

In the picture above, Rios Montt is shown on a poster with text saying, "For crimes against humanity, now Guatemala's presidential candidate." This image could be a piece of propaganda influencing citizens of Guatemala to not reelect Montt for a second term. This visual is allowing people to know that Rios Montt committed crimes against his own people and humanity overall. The illustrator wants the people to understand that Montt would not be the right candidate to vote for because during his previous reign, he only had a negative impact on the country. The image depicts Rios Montt as a fierce and strict looking individual. He does not look like a person who would be considered as a good leader for the people. The illustrator illustrates him this way to further prove his point that Rios Montt would not be a good president. Also, the poster that he is placed on does not look like a poster a future president should be on. It resembles a "wanted" poster. Lastly, the red on the illustration appears to be drawn on to look like blood. This could symbolize the countless numbers of deaths that Rios Montt has been responsible for in the past.

Creative Piece

In the drawing, Rios Montt is standing on a pile of dead bodies but he is still not upset by it. This shows that he was responsible for the death of many Guatemalans but it did not affect him. He ruled with an iron fist and was a ruthless leader. Also, in the background, there are some Guatemalans running across to Mexico. During Rios Montt's reign of terror, many citizens ran from the violence. He was a feared leader that impacted Guatemala negatively.

Essential Question

How brutal and corrupt was Montt's leadership in Guatemala?


"Ex-Dictator Is Ordered to Trial in Guatemala for War Crimes - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/world/americas/ex-dictator-is-ordered-to-trial-in-guatemala-for-war-crimes.html?ref=efrainriosmontt&_r=0>.

"General Logon Page." Gale Error Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/suic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=SUIC&wind

" World History: The Modern Era - Username." World History: The Modern Era - Username. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://worldhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/316325?terms=rios+montt>.