This is a government which the United States proudly supported when it was a dictatorship killing two hundred thousand Guatemalans–and still proudly supports.
ALLAN NAIRN: [In the 1980s] The [Guatemalan] army swept through the northwest highlands. And according to soldiers who I interviewed at the time, as they were carrying out the sweeps, they would go into villages, surround them, pull people out of their homes, line them up, execute them. A forensic witness testified in the trial that 80 percent of the remains they’ve recovered had gunshot wounds to the head. Witnesses have—witnesses and survivors have described Ríos Montt’s troops beheading people. One talked about an old woman who was beheaded, and then they kicked her head around the floor. They ripped the hearts out of children as their bodies were still warm, and they piled them on a table for their parents to see.’
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: An historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina.
So, the guy who was actually ripping children’s hearts is now president and shut down the trial of the guy who was ordering him to rip children’s hearts out of their bodies.
There’s a lot more in the interviews. For example:
at the end of his testimony, the prosecution read to this general an excerpt from a Guatemalan military training document. And the document said it is often difficult for soldiers to accept the fact that they may be required to execute repressive actions against civilian women, children and sick people, but with proper training, they can be made to do so. So, the prosecutor asked the Ríos Montt general, “Well, General, what is your response to this document?” And the general responded by saying, “Well, that training document which we use is an almost literal translation of a U.S. training document.”
And the fact that a guy who is Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts now:
was involved in the supply of arms to terrorists, in this case the Guatemalan military… Hillary Clinton chose him as the special envoy to North Korea.
Guatemala is a respected ally of the U.S. today–a paragon of “democracy.” Even though the president can shut down a trial because he doesn’t like what is being said about him. The Constitutional Court will rule within ten days on whether the trial will proceed.
Wonder how they’ll handle these legal arguments:
ALLAN NAIRN: In one case, one of—one of the lawyers involved in pushing the case forward was approached by a man who offered him a million dollars if he would kill the case against Ríos Montt, a million U.S. dollars. He also said he would help him launder the money, set up offshore bank accounts. The lawyer rejected that. The man then took out a pistol, put the pistol on the table and said, “I know where your children are.” Another was approached on the street with a—with a direct death threat.