Guatemala: 1982 MacNeil/Lehrer on reports Ríos Montt committed atrocities against Ixil Maya

[Guatemala City] — In this 1982 episode of MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (now PBS NewsHour), Jim Lehrer and Charlene Hunter Gault report on violence and instability across Guatemala and the actions of Efrain Rios Montt, the man at the center of a genocide trial due to reach a verdict today.

This archival episode includes rare footage from Ixil "model villages," which witnesses in this trial described as concentration camps where atrocities took place. The 1982 report also includes footage of General Ríos Montt addressing the nation in his military "sermons" that were transmitted every Sunday night at 7pm.

"Subversives, take note," the General says in the televised address, excerpted in this program. "Only the Guatemalan army will possess weapons. You put yours down. If you don't put them down we'll take them away from you. Listen further and listen well. No more assassinated people will appear on the roadside. Anyone who is outside the law will be executed."


Follow the proceedings with live-tweets from the courtroom by NISGUA, Plaza Publica, and the OSIJ's trial monitoring account.

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Watch live video feed here or listen to live audio feed here.


1983 "MacNeil/Lehrer Report" on debate over military aid to Ríos Montt's regime

Guatemala coverage archives

• "I am innocent," Ríos Montt tells court in genocide trial, breaking silence
Ríos Montt trial enters final phase, 75 years sought for genocide, crimes against humanity
The science behind historic genocide trial of General Ríos Montt: PBS NewsHour video report
Guatemalan Government declares State of Siege after Mining Protests: PBS NewsHour video report
PBS NewsHour reporter's notebook: Guatemala—Why We Cannot Turn Away