Finally! The people of Guatemala have waited decades for justice. Yesterday, a Guatemalan court convicted dictator Efrain Rios Montt of charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The brutal war in Guatemala cost an estimated 200,000 lives. Montt lead that nation for about a year during the worst of the violence.
Matthew Kennis, Amnesty International’s chair for Central America-Mexico Coordination Group, said “This is an incredibly important step forward for justice and accountability in Guatemala. Rios Montt being found guilty … is a significant step forward for justice and accountability.” -AP
“A U.N. truth commission said state forces and related paramilitary groups were responsible for 93 percent of the killings and human rights violations that it documented, committed mostly against indigenous Maya. Yet until now, only low or middle-level officials have been prosecuted for a war that ended in 1996.” -AP
The trial marked the first time a South American dictator has been convicted of such crimes and could conceivably re-open conversation about the US role in such genocide in Guatemala and other nations. The US has backed such dictators the world over to prevent land reform by the indigenous people that would hurt US business interests.
While most Americans have been unable to find one tear for the millions of victims of our empire, some retain hope that as Gandhi awakened England to the monstrosity of empire, that some person or event will awaken us to the atrocities of our own.