Rios Montt and Ronald Reagan

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Rios Montt

Given Ríos Montt’s staunch anticommunism and ties to the United States, the Reagan administration continued to support the general and his regime, paying a visit to Guatemala City in December 1982.During a meeting with Ríos Montt on December 4, Reagan declared: “President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. … I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.” [1,2]

During Reagan’s visit, an Amnesty International report estimated that over 10,000 indigenous Guatemalans and peasant farmers were killed from March to July of that year, and that 100,000 rural villagers were forced to flee their homes. According to more recent estimates, tens of thousands of non-combatants were killed by the regime’s death squads in the subsequent eighteen months. At the height of the bloodshed under Ríos Montt, reports put the number of killings and disappearances at more than 3,000 per month. [3]


  1. Schirmer, Jennifer (1998). The Guatemalan Military Project: A Violence Called Democracy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 33. ISBN 0812233255.
  2. Editorial (Spring 2012). “Central America: Legacies of War”. NACLA Report on the Americas 45 (1). Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  3. Patrick Daniels (December 14, 2006). “Pinochet escaped justice – we must ensure Ríos Montt does not”. The Guardian

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