The Israeli Connection to the Guatemalan President Found Guilty of Genocide

May 23. New article by Robert Parry about Israel-Guatemala May 21. Guatemalan Court overturns Montt verdict orders trial to restart. The elite may yet have their day and get Montt freed, but the fact that judges looked at the facts, convicted him and gave him 80 years will be what will be remembered.

May 20, 2013 The New York Times today had four writers discuss whether the U.S. shared some of the guilt for the Guatemala genocide. It was quite good (except for the Reagan era apologist) and the comments were even better.

May 18, 2013 Audio interview with Gabriel Schivone

Schivone talks about the Israeli government ties to mass murderer Rios Montt.

Here's an article by Cheryl Rubenberg from 1986 talking about Israel's ties to Guatemala. It mentions that 300 advisers were in Guatemala in 1982. She also writes, "According to Col. Eduardo Wohlers, director of the “Plan of Assistance to Conflict Areas” (commonly known as “Beans and Bullets”) under the Rios Montt regime in 1982-1983, Israel was the main source of inspiration for Guatemala’s counterinsurgency agrarian strategy." In a footnote she says it was much more than "inspriation". She writes (in 1986) "Israel is indeed Guatemala’s principal arms supplier and has been since 1977."

Comment: Advisers, inspiration, guns. Which particular Israelis were collaborators with Rios Montt's program of genocide? Which Israelis should be put on trial?

May 13, 2013. For the first time a head of state has been found guilty of genocide by the courts of his own country. He is Efraín Ríos Montt the former "President" of Guatemala whose rule was the result of a military coup. The New York Times reports, Guatemalan Judge Judge Yassmin Barrios as saying “We are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic group”. Montt was found responsible for the genocide of 1,700 people. The Los Angeles Times says 200,000 Guatemalans died in the massacres and fighting in the 1980's and that a Guatemalan truth and reconciliation commission found that 93% of the killing was due to the government.

The Times article makes brief but scathing reference to the U.S. support of Rios Montt under Ronald Reagan's presidency, but makes no mention of Israel's role.

In February 2012 there was an article in the Jewish magazine "The Tablet" about the extraordinarily close ties between Israel and Guatemala. In discussion the "darker side" of this the writer Irin Carmon said, "In 1982, Efraín Ríos Montt—the country’s first evangelical president and a general whose military regime was installed by a coup—told ABC News that his success was due to the fact that 'our soldiers were trained by Israelis.'” See the full article here.

Gabriel Schivone writing on the NACLA website this April more specifically says Israeli help was key in the coup that got Riot Montt into the Presidential Palace.

We first wrote about Israel and Guatemala in 1985 in the print edition of "The Struggle" in covering a New York speech by the late Israel Shahak the head of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights. See page 6 of one edition here and page 2 here in the next issue.