Following a Christian Broadcasting Network report today about the victory of comedian Jimmy Morales in Guatemala’s presidential election, televangelist Pat Robertson praised one former Guatemalan president: Efraín Ríos Montt.
Unlike Morales, Ríos Montt came to power in a coup, although his military regime was overthrown in another coup just one year later.
“At the height of the bloodshed under Ríos Montt, reports put the number of killings and disappearances at more than 3,000 per month,” Patrick Daniels of the Guatemala Solidarity Network noted. “Such was the extent of the violence that in 1999 the UN commission concluded that it constituted acts of genocide.”
His regime specifically targeted indigenous communities with violence and displacement, and in 2013 Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide for crimes committed against the Maya Ixil community. “Hunger, systematic rape and forced displacements were all used as tools of war against the Ixil people,” the BBC reported. However, the conviction was overturned due to a legal technicality and Ríos Montt was later declared unfit to stand for retrial.
Today, Robertson gushed over Ríos Montt, claiming that he was the real victim because he was targeted by liberals just for being a good Christian.
“I know Efraín Ríos Montt, who was the president there,” Robertson said. “He’s a terrific guy, he was with the El Verbo Church and they had a marvelous government but the left got after him and he couldn’t survive. They just went after him and attacked him and attacked him, the United States State Department went after him, it was terrible.”