Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"If not, we would be Managua or Havana or Venezuela"

U.S. statistician Patrick Ball speaks to Rodrigo Baires Quezada and Oswaldo J. Hernández of Plaza Publica about his testimony in the Efrain Rios Montt genocide trial. Ball calculated that between 1,996 and 2,325 indigenous were kill in the Ixil by the army between Abril 1982 and July 1983. It's a good interview that speaks about what his testimony did and did not say.

Meanwhile, José Luis Sanz has an interview with Zury Ríos in El Faro. The post's title is from her interview.
Sanz: Habla de ellos como si todas las víctimas hubieran sido guerrilleros, ¡pero murieron niños! 
Zury Rios: Así es. ¿Y quién los reclutó? ¿Quién los puso al frente? Y no ahora ni en esta guerra, sino en todo el mundo, ¿quién los ha puesto al frente? ¿Quién los ha reclutado irregularmente?
Relations between the guerrillas and the indigenous population are difficult to characterize as are relations between the military and the indigenous population. They varied over time and over space. The trial is touching on just a small slice of the conflict. 

Finally, US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen J. Rapp is in Guatemala to learn more about the ongoing genocide trial against Rios Montt. Is he hear to support the legal process or to support a conviction of Rios Montt on genocide charges? Ambassador Chacon has already attended the trial twice and his name appears on several of the publications/newsletters going around accused of supporting the communists.

While many people want a Rios Montt guilty verdict to indict the US, they often fail to mention US support for the legal process in deporting military officials involved in the Dos Erres massacre and former Ambassador Stephen McFarland attending trials, going to exhumations and meeting with victims of state repression. Even when Ambassador Chacon attended the Rios Montt trial, some international leftist groups had to complain that it took three weeks into the trial for him to show up. 

It's not entirely easy to separate the legitimate criticism of the US' role during and after the war from rote anti-Americanism. Fortunately, anti-Americanism isn't what it is often assumed to be.

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