Friday, January 27, 2012

"A Christian has to walk around with his Bible & his machine gun."

In Guatemala City, Guatemala, protestors hold up a banner with portraits of people disappeared under General Efraín Ríos Montt’s genocidal rampage in the 1980s. Protestors demand his prosecution & object to his sentence of house arrest rather than incarceration. Rios Montt, a former general, military dictator, & televangelist once said, "A Christian has to walk around with his Bible & his machine gun." He faces charges of genocide & crimes against humanity, including ordering soldiers to engage in mass rape, torture, arson, abduction, murder. Under his direction, over 200,000 people were massacred, including whole villages of unarmed Mayans; 100,000 people fled to neighboring Mexico. As a member of the Guatemalan Congress until last week, Rios Montt was immune from prosecution. Guatemala's new president, Otto Perez Molina, served as a general under Rios Montt in that campaign & denies that genocide took place. It will come as no surprise that Rios Montt is a graduate of the School of the Americas, played a role in the 1954 CIA-organized coup against a democratically elected president, & is one of a long series of dictators who ran Guatemala after the coup. Under President Eisenhower, the Dulles brothers & United Fruit Company decided that democratically-elected President Jacobo Arbenz was too reform-minded & had the CIA organize the coup. In 1980, Ronald Reagan ramped up diplomatic & military ties with Guatemala, blocked scrutiny of human rights crimes & provided US weapons, military vehicles, equipment, & training. (Photo by Rodrigo Abd)


  1. US hypocrisy in our region can be summed up in one term: Iran-Contra.  No ifs, ands or buts about it!  And if that is not enough, just take any course that deals with the history of US - Latin American relations.   I have an entire library on it.  Here is the latest chapter in that sordid history that is being revealed even to this day!

  2. In the case of drug running throughout our region, the US government is quick to point an accusing finger at the FARC and Venezuela (and even Hizb'allah), while meticulously avoiding mention of its own ALLIES.  As far as the US is concerned, former president Uribe of Colombia (a confessed NEOCON with a reputation as least as bad as that of Manuel Noriega) is untouchable.  I mean, just look at this CRAP!

  3. Have you ever heard of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, or (more likely) Gerald Lester Murphy?  One of Washington's good friends of the region was Trujillo of the Dominican Republic.  All dictators (except Fidel Castro) were close friends of Washington.

    And Israel!

    Since the 1970s, the military dimension of Israel's relations with Latin America -especially with Central America-has taken precedence over all other aspects. Given this development, the seven books under review offer significant information and analysis on the military component of Israeli foreign policy in Latin America. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, in The Israeli Connection: Who lsrael Arms and Why, entitles his chapter on Latin America "The Friendly Hemisphere."  According to this academic at the University of Haifa, Israel has not only won friends but made true believers out of many Latin Americans. Admirers of Israel have included Chile's General Augusto Pinochet, Guatemala's General Romeo Lucas Garcia, El Salvador's Roberto D'Aubuisson, General Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, and the late Anastasio Somoza Debayle of Nicaragua.  Indeed, Israel is generally admired in Latin American military circles for its macho image of firmness, ruthlessness, and efficiency. Although Israel has friends in the civilian sector as well, the Latin American military establishment is where most of Israel's friends are found and where Israel continues to cultivate support.

  4. Israel also benefited from the fits and starts with which Honduras assented to serve as a US “aircraft carrier.”  In October, 1986, in an effort to get Honduras to agree to tolerate U.S. training of Contras on its soil, the U.S. revived the notion of selling Hondurans advanced aircraft.  Emblematic of Israel's in-touch status with Honduras, before Washington could prepare the papers for the F-5E's it was offering, Israel had the Tegucigalpa government's signature on a preliminary agreement to buy 24 Kfir combat aircraft – a deal that could be worth as much as $200 million.  To coax their quick agreement, Israel had assured the Hondurans that Washington would finance the deal.  An incredulous State Department official said no approval had been given.  At the time, the Jerusalem Post said the National Security Council would have final say on the arrangements.  Later it would be revealed that the Kfir sale was one side of a quid pro quo which would have sent Israeli advisors to the Contras.  Still later, the Kfir sale fell through.  

    This is just one episode.  Read the entire BOOK!

  5. Maracatu, I also remember Porfirio Rubirosa. The British press loved him, Rubi the "playboy-diplomat". They must have known that he was Trujillo's roving assassin, travelling under the protection of a diplomatic passport.