Guatemala: In 1982, ex-dictator Rios Montt told this documentary filmmaker, "I Control the Army"

As I've been blogging here on Boing Boing this week, former Guatemalan Army general and de facto dictator Efraín Rios Montt and ex-military intelligence chief Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez are on trial over charges of genocide.

A Guatemalan judge ruled in January that Ríos Montt must stand trial; his lawyer said his defense would be that he wasn't personally on the battlefield and couldn't control what happened there. I've been listening in to the trial via a live audio stream, and their cross-questioning of Ixil Maya witnesses suggests that this remains their plan.

The documentary film "Granito:How to Nail a Dictator" is streaming online for free, and you should see it if you're interested in the United States' role in the atrocities of Guatemala's 36-year civil war. In the clip above, filmmaker Pamela Yates "finds an outtake from her 1982 interview with the then President that puts a lie to that claim."

That interview was for Yates' earlier film on the Guatemalan Civil War, "When The Mountains Tremble," which you can also watch online for free, here.

The interview with Ríos Montt was filmed in 1982. In vivid testimonial over the last few days, witnesses in the trial have been describing atrocities that his troops carried out against men, women, and children during that very same year.

Yates blogged earlier today that bootleggers outside of the Guatemala City courtroom are selling copies of "Granito," retitled as "A greater story never told."

"There is no honor or award that could surpass this endorsement of our film by the Guatemalan people," Yates writes, "Bootleggers all over the world are tuned in to their cultures, and what people want to see and hear."

"Having your film bootlegged in a country is a great affirmation of its value in that society, whether it be for entertainment or in this case, hunger for a suppressed history and the restoration of collective memory. The street price, by the way, is 10 Guatemalan Quetzales (US$1.25)."

Discuss

3 Responses to “Guatemala: In 1982, ex-dictator Rios Montt told this documentary filmmaker, "I Control the Army"”

  1. Steve Laudig says:

    All of this evil was given birth by the US government. Unfortunately his US trainers are not in the dock with them. They are receiving pensions.

    • Marc Mielke says:

      The U.S. would never hand their citizens over to be tried at the Hague. In fact, it’s rather well-known that our Special Forces teams already have plans for extracting Americans from there. 

  2. pamelayates says:

    We’re not talking about The Hague. We are talking about right here in the US. The US is not a member state of the ICC so Americans wouldn’t be tried there.  And US citizens should demand justice from those military trainers, and politician complicit in the Guatemalan genocide. There are forensic people working on uncovering this kind of evidence. And as with the Ríos Montt case, much good new evidence always comes out in a trial.

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