Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reagan Supported Guatamala's Dirty War and Genocide

AIR DATE: May 8, 2013 From Guatemalan Soil, Scientists Unearth Signs of Genocide

In Guatemala, investigators using forensic science have compelling evidence that thousands of innocent indigenous Ixil Mayans were the target of extermination in the 1980s. Science correspondent Miles O'Brien reports on how murder, politics and science intersect in the genocide trial of former leader Efrain Rios Montt.

RAY SUAREZ: Next: a story that combines murder, politics and science in the Central American nation of Guatemala.

It centers on the trial of the country's former leader, Efrain Rios Montt, charged with genocide that occurred during his rule in the 1980s. Rios Montt was a fervent anti-communist who was backed by the Reagan administration. At the time, the U.S. was criticized -- criticized for supporting Rios Montt's forces and claiming violence was decreasing there. Transcript>>>

Watch From Guatemalan, Scientists Unearth Signs of Genocide on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Indicted for Genocide: Guatemala's Efraín Ríos Montt
U.S. and Guatemalan Documents Trace Dictator's Rise to Power

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 419

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2013 – The groundbreaking genocide trial of Efraín Ríos Montt, retired army general and former dictator of Guatemala, opens today with the presentation of the prosecution's first witnesses. The trial will take place despite repeated efforts by defense lawyers to halt the proceedings with legal appeals and a bid for amnesty. On March 12, the Constitutional Court rejected the amnesty request once and for all, clearing the way for the trial to begin.

Along with his former intelligence chief, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, Ríos Montt stands accused of masterminding a violent counterinsurgency campaign during his 1982-83 regime that sought to destroy opposing guerrilla forces and anyone who supported them. The indictment accuses the two men of responsibility for fifteen documented massacres in the Ixil region of the country's Quiché department, resulting in the deaths of 1,771 unarmed men, women and children. Read more about the charges and defense tactics here; and about the evidentiary hearing that led to today's oral or "debate" phase here. read more>>>

Ex-dictator convicted of genocide in Guatemala
10 May 2013 - Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt's conviction of genocide is a historic moment in a country still healing from a brutal, three-decade civil war and his trial offered Guatemala's oppressed indigenous communities their first chance to be heard, human rights activists said. read more>>>

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