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View Diary: A moment of peace (97 comments)

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  •  Rios Montt (none)
    I heard on NPR a few months ago that Rios Montt wants to be in power as President again in Guatemala. I shuddered to hear it.

    What's the situation with this?  

    •  Rios Montt lost badly. (none)

      Guatemala's 2003 Presidential elections were held in two stages.  It did seem scary during the summer, when after some July rioting the Guatemalan Supreme Court declared that the law forbidding Rios Montt from running for election was declared unconstitutional.  He had no monopoly on violence;  people also chased Rios Montt out of town by throwing rocks at him.

      Elections were tense, but in the first round in November, Rios Montt came in third with 19%, behind Oscar Berger (conservative, mayor of Guatemala City) with 34% and Alvaro Colom (moderate) with 26%.  Turnout was 80%, with people waiting four hours to vote.  It should be noted that attempts by Rios Montt's party to purchase votes did not work.  

      Berger won the general elections on December 28.  With the change in government, Rios Montt lost his immunity to prosecution.  

      On March 9, 2004, Rios Montt was placed under house arrest, and three charges have been filed against him in Guatemalan court over the death of a reporter from a heart attack while pursued by rioters supporting him.  Strangely enough, this version of house arrest lets him leave his house, but not the country.  

      If he left the country, Europe would not be too comfortable a place -- charges have been filed against him in Spain.  If he came to the US, he might be eligible for twenty years of Uncle Sam's hospitality.  18 USC Section 2340A.  Perhaps a citizen's arrest road trip would be in order?    

      Kos' panegyric aside, Guatemala is not exactly Denmark.  

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