Efraín Ríos Montt
Efraín Ríos Montt (June 16, 1926 – April 1, 2018) was the president of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983. At this time, the Guatemalan Civil War escalated as Cuba's support of the Communist rebels increased.
Ríos Montt joined the Guatemalan army in 1946, and he was promoted to general in 1972. He ran for president unsuccessfully in 1974. Many attribute his defeat to widespread fraud. During the Guatemalan Civil War, he took power in 1982.
Leftist media often accused Ríos Montt to cause a genocide against the Ixil, an Indian tribe. In fact, many Ixils fought alongside the Guatemalan army and the militias. A born-again Pentecostal, Rios Montt refused to bow to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Guatemala in 1983.
After he left office, Ríos Montt became a preacher. In 1985, a clause was added to the Guatemalan constitution banning him or his descendants from running for president. This law was overturned by the Constitutional Court in 2003. He finished third in the subsequent presidential election. As a member of the Guatemalan congress from 1999 to 2011, he had immunity from prosecution. His was put on trial for crimes against humanity in March 2012. In May 2013, he was found guilty and sentenced to 80 years in prison. The former president is the brother of Bishop Mario Enrique Ríos Mont.
Montt died on April 1, 2018.
- Rios Montt: From general to dictator to preacher -- to courtroom charged with genocide