Efrain Rios Montt

Guatemala

Biography

Efrain Rios Montt was born on June 16th, 1926. He joined the army at the age of 15 and quickly ascended the ranks through his service. In 1974, Rios Montt ran for president. It is believed that his originally elected position was stolen from him by the right-wing National Liberation Movement Party when the votes were fraudulently recounted. Four years later, he resigned from his political and military life and became a pastor of the Protestant Church. However, in 1982, Montt reinstated himself as president after forcing two other people out of office. His military coup, followed by a 36-year civil war marks one of the most violent times of a dictatorship in Latin America. Efrain Rios Montt was a ruthless leader, and his presidency brought widespread massacres and acts of genocide throughout Guatemala. He did not eve try to deny the fact the army's involvement in thousands of deaths that had occurred. As President, Montt declared it legal for the government to kill its citizens. He also heavily censored the press which made it hard for these atrocities to be publicized. His dictatorship lead to almost 40 years of civil war, which ultimately resulted in the death of about 200,000 civilians.
Ex-Dictator Rios Montt Stands Trial For Guatemala War Crimes

Rios Montt Trial

This video clip shows how Efrain Rios Montt is now being tried for his cruel acts while president. There are many pieces of evidence that prove how Montt is responsible for the mass murders of thousands of people. This video shows how Montt's regime was a brutal time in history for Guatemala, leaving the country ravaged by war and bloodshed. The people of Guatemala are searching for justice because of the pain that Rios Montt has caused to the country.

A Letter from Efrain Rios Montt

Dear Country,

I am not responsible for the deaths of the thousands of people in this country. Although it may seem as though my actions have brought this misery upon us, I can assure you that I stepped into power only to help you people. My goal was the save you all. Do yo think that as a former pastor, I would allow the death of thousands of God's people? The men to blame are the Marxist rebels, who are trying to take over Guatemala with communism. I am allowing my army to protect you, not kill you. You must believe that my intentions are pure.

Essential Question

Can Efrain Rios Montt be held responsible for the results of the civil war?