Friday, June 29, 2012

PBS POV | Granito: How to Nail a Dictator

In a stunning milestone for justice in Central America, a Guatemalan court recently charged former dictator Efraín Rios Montt with genocide for his brutal war against the country's Mayan people in the 1980s — and Pamela Yates' 1983 documentary, "When the Mountains Tremble", provided key evidence for bringing the indictment.

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator, a documentary by Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís, and Peter Kinoy, tells the extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, became a granito — a tiny grain of sand — that helped tip the scales of justice. Here's the trailer -

Related Link: Guatemala: The Secret Files


  1. I think this must be around the third or fourth time I've posted a blog about war and/or genocide.

    And if you'll notice, there's always one thing that every single sinister regime has in common - other people who foolishly enable the leaders to commit their horrendous crimes.

    In this case, I'm talking about the front line soldiers, the ones actually pulling the triggers on innocent men, women, and children based solely on the orders of their "superiors".

    And here's the part that always amazes me - most of these soldiers come from very modest means or from poor backgrounds to fight for the rich and powerful elitists who despise them.

    I'm not sure when the turning point occurs, but right after these poor civilians enlist, somehow they come to view their friends and neighbors as the enemy. Those same soldiers will now kill their friends and neighbors without any regard just on the behest of military or political leaders, who ironically would kill them in turn because of their backgrounds.

    It makes no sense what-so-ever, but that's how people behave. It's that "I've got mine, who cares about you" attitude that's so pervasive in this world. And it happens every day.

    Even in this country, I'm always amazed at how easily people can be foolishly led by the nose by just a few criminals with there own sinister agendas. And this documentary points that out.

  2. Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty of the genocide of more than 1,700 indigenous Ixil Mayans during his 1982-83 rule. A three-judge panel issued the verdict Friday, one day after the conclusion of the trial. The court sentenced the 86-year-old Rios Montt to 80 years in prison. The trial marked the first time a head of state was tried for genocide by his country's own judicial system.

    Source: Guatemala's Rios Montt guilty of genocide

  3. And it only took them 30 years to bring him to justice, at 86 years of age and near death anyway.

  4. Conviction of Genocidal Dictator Efrain Rios Montt Overturned by Guatemala's Highest Court

    Like I've said before, the instigators and leaders behind these episodes of genocide almost are never held responsible for the crimes against humanity. The enablers are usually the people held responsible.

    The reputations of Reagan-era officials who enabled the Guatemalan genocide have not been tarnished. Read more: The Upside of Genocide

  5. Three judges who sentenced former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt to 80 years behind bars will be granted protection by the government, according to USA Today.

    The commission says Guatemala's Center for Justice and International Law requested the protection. The non-governmental group says in a statement Wednesday that the judges have been put through an intense campaign to discredit and stigmatize them and have been threatened publicly by Rios Montt's lawyers.

  6. A federal jury convicted a former Guatemalan army lieutenant Tuesday of immigration fraud, finding that he obtained U.S. citizenship in 2008 by concealing his role in the massacre of 250 men, women and children during Guatemala’s civil war three decades ago.

    Earlier this year, a Guatemalan court found the country’s former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt guilty of genocide for masterminding a military campaign that resulted in hundreds of similar mass killings in rural areas. His conviction was thrown out on procedural grounds, however, and a retrial is uncertain.

    Like I've said before, the masterminds behind these atrocities are almost never held accountable for their crimes. It's the foolish enablers who commit the crimes on behalf of these psychopaths who usually wind up holding the bag. Learn how to say "No", beforehand my friends.

    Read more at: Ex-Guatemalan Commando Guilty of Concealing Role in Massacre

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