Efrain Rios Montt

President of Guatemala in early 1980s

Profile of Efrain Rios Montt

Efrain Rios Montt was born on June 16, 1926 in Huehuetenango, Guatemala and gained his presidency over Guatemala in 1982. He was raised an evangelical Protestant. Before his presidency it was said he assisted in guerilla movements and coups against the military and current government to pull them out of power, and he later was elected into power "because the leaders of the coup believed the people of Guatemala would support a man who had been fraudulently denied his rightful position"(Jonathon L. Fried). After he was elected, the violence from the previous government stopped temporarily, but then continued again a few weeks later. Many people were being killed by the military such as, catholic priest, pheasants that helped Rios Montt gain power, and a lot of other innocent people. It seemed as though Rios Montt was running the military to do this but he denied everything, yet he made it legal to kill citizens. Eventually another coup raised up against him because he lost support from everyone and he was a violent leader. He later tried to run again fro president but was not allowed to because he was taken own by a coup previously. Overall, Rios Montt had a bunch of people killed and betrayed the people that helped him raise to power.

Filmmaker, Pamela Yates's View on Efrain Rios Montt

This CNN video is of Pamela Yates encounter with Efrain Rios Montt as a dictator in Guatemala. She went there to see the area, but as she says in the video she stumbles upon a genocide. The video states that all previous film people or photographers were killed by Rios Montt, but since she was innocent looking she was overlooked. Yates was able to get and inside look o what life in Guatemala was actually like during Rios Montt's presidency and she was able to to share it with everyone. In the video Rios Montt is portrayed as a passive leader that used his leadership qualities to have his military do the killing for him. He was very defensive in the video when asked if he knew about the deaths, and denied the military partaking in the killings of innocent people.

Creative Piece

Dear Efrain Rios Montt,

I have growing concerns about the ongoing deaths of my fellow Guatemalans. When you were elected President by my fellow villagers I prayed it would stop all of this sinful destruction, but it seems as though it has started again. I do not understand how a child of God can be overcome with this evilness to kill people, and I will pray that you will stop this massacre. Way to many people have been killed and not another one of God's children should have to suffer. I understand you as a evangelical protestant do not always see eye-to-eye with us Catholics, but I hope you will read my letter and finally open yours eyes and see the chaos you are causing and stop this madness.

God Bless you,

Father Enrique


Would you consider Efrain Rios Montt to be a passive or an active leader in Guatemala, why?