Pat Robertson and his Murderous Compadre
How is it that I have never heard of Efrain Rios-Montt? (a link here also) He was the genocidal president of Guatemala who tried his best to exterminate the indigenous Mayan people. I came across his name on, investigative journalist, Max Blumenthal's blog. (a post from 13th August) El Salvador, Chile, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Columbia... all these I have/am read/reading about, but Guatemala seems to have been very conspiculously absent.
During Guatemala's 36 year civil war, the most horrific massacres occured during Rios brief term as president. (1982-1983) It is estimated that more than 200,000 Guatemalan's - again, mostly of Mayan descent and Catholic - were slaughtered by Rios Montt and the military. He had also pressed 900.000 citizens into becoming police informants. He built concentration camps for the Mayans. When 40,000 Mayans escaped into Mexico, Montt turned turned the military's guns on the camps. (read the report by the Commission for Historical Clarification)
Having just heard of Rios Montt, much of what I am writing here could be construed as plagerism. However, I will outline a few thing s in brief:
- Montt was a graduate of the School of the Americas, (now called Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) notable for its alumni of bloodied Latin American presidents, generals and military men connected to forced dissapearences, death squads, massacres, etc. The school has also been named the "School of Assassins" by its detractors.
- Left the Catholic Church after losing a 1974 election to a right-wing rival. He stated his loss was due to massive electoral fraud, which he blamed on Catholic priests with a 'leftist' agenda. In 1978 he joined the evangelical pentacostal denomination Church of the Word, becoming an ordained minister there. He is friends with Jerry Falwell and Marion Gordon Robertson - aka "Pat" Robertson of the 700 Club.
Nikolas Kozloff's aricle on "Pat" Roberton, Demeaner of the Faith, states that Robertson had flown to Guatemala within five days of the coup that set up Rios Mont as president to bless the new military government and extol its virtues on air on the 700 Club. Kozloff states that Robertson's show was reaching an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Guatemala at that time. Roberston apparently found Montt, "...to be a man of humility, impeccable personal integrity, and a deep faith in Jesus Christ." He also had done fund raising through the 700 Club in support of Montt's regime.
- Wikipedia's article mentions that Montt had apparently stated that the true Christian has a Bible in one hand and a machine gun in the other. Former US president Ronald Regan had stated after a meeting with Montt that, "President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. ... I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice." In most sources I have been reading, Rios Montt's attrocities are regarded to have been more severe than the much more publicized carange of Chile's former despot Augusto Pinochet. According to Amnesty International, Rios Montt's depradations against his own people, "were done in terrible ways: people of all ages were not only shot to death, they were burned alive, hacked to death, disemboweled, drowned, beheaded. Small children were smashed against rocks or bayoneted to death."
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition indeed.