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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 03:12 AM

3. Completely missing in school text books is the amazing choice given to the citizens

by Rios Montt in his bizarre "guns and beans" initiative. What a mighty man of God, you bet.

Important background on this ally of the US right-wing:


Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about General Efrain Rios Montt is his brother. In May 1998 Bishop Mario Rios Montt succeeded the assassinated Bishop Juan Gerardi as head of the Catholic Church's human-rights office in Guatemala. His task is to continue Gerardi's work, uncovering the truth behind the massacre or disappearance of upwards of 200,000 people during the prolonged and continuing 'civil war'- more accurately described as attempted genocide - against the indigenous Mayan majority of the Guatemalan population. The person who, in the early 19805, presided over the most vicious single episode in this genocide was none other than the Bishop's brother, the General. Efrain is also an ordained minister of the authoritarian, right-wing Gospel Outreach/Verbo evangelical church, based in California and one of several such churches that have been expanding fast

in the region, at the expense of the Catholic Church. General Rios Montt's evangelical zeal is linked to the military 'education' he received - like many of his peers in Latin America - from the School of the r Americas, run by the US military in Panama. From the 19505 onwards this notorious 'Coup School' taught its students how to contribute to US interests and the anti-Communist effort by usurping political power in Latin America by any available means, including assassination, torture and 'disappearance'. After a US-orchestrated military coup in 1954, Guatemala became a key component of US 'counter-insurgency' activity throughout Central America. So when Rios Montt grew to maturity and duly seized power in 1982 he set out to show what a good student he had been. He launched a 'Guns and Beans' offensive against Guatemala's persistent insurgents. A subsequent report commissioned by the UN found that at least 448 mostly Indian villages had been simply wiped off the map. The targeting of the Mayan peoples forced hundreds of thousands to flee to the mountains or to neighboring Mexico. Many of those who remained were corralled into 'hamlets' to produce cash crops for export.

According to Amnesty International, in just four months there were more than 2,000 fully documented extrajudicial killings by the Guatemalan army: 'People of all ages were not only shot, they were burned alive, hacked to death, disembowelled, drowned, beheaded. Small children were smashed against rocks or bayoneted to death.' The Catholic bishops said: 'Never in our national history has it come to such extremes.' US President Ronald Reagan, visiting Guatemala on a swing through Latin America, hailed Rios Montt as 'totally dedicated to democracy'.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zeroes/Efrain_Rios_Montt.html

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Reagan and Rios Montt

The 1980s was marked by barbaric repression and the massacre of the indigenous population. A succession of elected dictators, supported by the US, left suffering in their wake. Because of the notoriety that again developed from reports of human rights violations by the Guatemalan Army, President Reagan changed the US policy of overt aid to the Guatemalan Army to a two- track policy. While government spokespersons made public pronouncements in support of human rights and the return to civilian rule, the Reagan Administration signaled to the Guatemalan Army its approval for winning the war, and it lobbied Congress for more aid. The CIA continued to work with Guatemala's security forces.

General Efrain Rios Montt, a graduate of the School of the Americas (SOA), at Fort Benning, Georgia, came to power in a 1982 coup. Praised as a "born-again" Christian reformer, in truth he was one of the most savage of Guatemalan dictators. His "Beans and Rifles" program was designed to keep guerrillas out of Indian villages -- beans for those who cooperated, rifles for those who didn't. He declared a "state of siege", and on television, he stated that he had "declared a state of siege so that we could kill legally". He banned public meetings, suspended the constitution, replaced elected officials, and censored the press. He also instituted Civil Defense Patrols (PACs) to control the population.

Rios Montt moved the war from urban centers to the countryside where "the spirit of the lord" guided him against "communist subversives', mostly indigenous Indians. As Guatemalans suffered torture, kidnappings, and massacres at the hands of the government, he presented himself as the savior of the population. Using the lessons he had learned at the SOA, he implemented a "pacification" program similar to that used by the US in Vietnam, intended to give the impression that the government wanted to reestablish democracy in the country. In reality, as the "pacification" program moved from village to village, it essentially established concentration camps bpopulated by those who had been able to survive the massacres and political genocide which the government itself carried out.

During the 17 months of Rios Montt's "Christian" campaign, 400 villages were destroyed, 10 - 20,000 Indians were killed, and over 100,000 fled to Mexico. Early in 1983, President Reagan resumed military shipments to Guatemala, claiming that Montt's program against the guerrilla insurgency was working. He said that Montt was given a "bum rap" on human rights.

More:
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/US_Guat.html

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