Efraín Ríos Montt


Efrían began his career as an army general and a politician before later becoming a dictator of Guatemala during the time of 1982-1983. His gentle features and his age made him seem as if he were a kind, trusting man until the truth of him killing 1,800 people, in order to show the power he had over them, came out.

He was intelligent as he covered his tracks by blaming the actions he made on the military and civil wars, using them as excuses for all the murders. Others did not know this and therefore thought he was not responsible for this, when in fact he was. The defense mechanism he used was the personal charm he presented towards the people. Additionally to that, the he military background he had gave him the ability to recruit and gain support of other powerful leaders because he was a well know general, people trusted him and saw him as inspiring.

Throughout his year of reign, it was later found out that he and his chief of military intelligence, General Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez, ordered the killings of 1,700 who supported a certain ethnic group because they believed they were rebels of the country. In under 2 years he was able to commit a mass murder of many people and took a long time before he was even found guilty for everything he had done. It wasn't until May 10, 2013 when he was convicted for his crimes, that's 30 years after he killed thousands of people. This goes to show how well he covered his tracks for all of these murders. Today he still claims, "I am innocent, I never had the intent to destroy any national race, religion, or ethnic group". (BBC)

Video Analyzation

This video shows how Montt fooled the world into thinking that he was helping the people of Guatemala by showing stating his views on communism in order to get other countries, such as the US, to support him and his doings. During this time he was also murdering thousands of people, but since the war was going on he was able to blame it on the military and other countries were not suspicious of him for he was tricking them.

In order to do all of this he had to plan things out perfectly so that he would not get caught because he wanted to stay in power as long as possible so he could finish the genocide of thousands of people for their ethnicity. This proves that his authoritarian style worked for the other countries by using his physical appearance, his intelligence, military background and personal skills to fool everyone into believing him.

Journal Entry

Dear journal,

      It has been a year of my reign and everyone still believes that I had nothing to do with all those murders. The stupid military can't figure out that I've been blaming it all on them, haha! My kill number is at 1,000 right now and in just a couple years, all those stupid rebels will be gone, none of them will be left to spread their ideas. Today I just gained support from the US, I can't believe they still don't know either! With everything that's happening I think I really will be able to get rid of the whole race. I'm excited for what's to come next!


Essential Question

How was Efrían able to pull off the murder of thousands of people while the world stood oblivious to it all?

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