Efrain Rios Montt

Shay Evans


Erfain Rios Montt was a shorter old man with a kindly face and grey hair, his appearance gained him support as he seemed like a caring down to earth man but he quickly showed the country his power by ordering the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in an attempt to solidify his position.

His rule was short but brutal. After he came into power in 1982 he quickly oversaw the killings of over 200,000 guatemalans suspected of supporting marxist rebels. He was quickly overthrown a year later by his defense minister in 1983 and was placed on trial for charges of Genocide and other human rights violations.

However Erfain Rios Montt was no fool and was quick to cover his tracks and destroyed all evidence of his involvement in the killings of said citizens, blaming it on civil war, and to this day no solid evidence has been recovered tying Montt to the killings.

Throughout his short rule he received support from the US due to his aggressive stance against communism and even fooled the US into supporting the killings of the civilians by stating that they were being "held" due to suspicions of supporting communists.

Throughout his entire life Montt was part of the military in some way, in 1954 he played a part in the CIA funded coup of Dictator Jacobo Arbenz Guzman and quickly rose among the ranks of the army until in 1970 he became General and chief of staff of the Guatemalan Army.

He used this position to attempt to remove political opponents during his many attempts at running for president until 1982 when he simply seized control by force.

His rule is remembered due to the ruthless killings of over 200,000 guatemalan citizens and political opponents under the basis of "removing communist spies and supporters" but he was quickly removed from power a year later but the damage had already been done. In total over 50,000 people "disappeared" over 150,000 people were executed and more than 500 villages were destroyed in an attempt to keep control and to remove the communists from his country.

MacNeil/Lehrer Report - October 25, 1982 - Guatemala
This video shows how Montt fooled the world into thinking that he was the savior of the people by implementing christian belief systems and anti communist ideals in order to gain support from the U.S and other powerful nations so he could keep control. While he was vying for international support he was covering his tracks by blaming the killings of the villagers on the military, claiming that he couldn't stop them without fear of being overthrown himself.

This shows the careful planning that went into his plan for genocide and murder, all the while begging the U.S for military support to control his "rampant" military and economic aid to support his plans.

Journal Entry

Hello again.

Today I will attempt to get the U.S to send more military aid, we need more soldiers to "keep the peace" while my men work on the villages. The rest of the world suspects nothing, they're buying my story about my rampant military and will hopefully send more soldiers so I can focus on wiping out the rebel fighters and finish removing those silly villagers. They honestly believe that they'll have a place among the civilized world? Ridiculous! before my rule is through I'll see that they are all removed from my beautiful country.


Essential Question

How much damage has Montt hidden from the world under the disguise of rampant militants and an uncontrollable military?