Interviews republished by

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Climate Change: "We Must Go from Capitalism to Socialism"................................................................................................ 2 Another 9/11 Anniversary: September 11, 1973, When US-Backed Pinochet Forces Took Power in Chile ..................................................................................................... 5 Allan Nairn Exposes Role of U.S. and New Guatemalan President in Indigenous Massacres ..................................................................................................................... 10 Genocide Trial of Former Dictator Ríos Montt Suspended After Intervention by Guatemalan President .................................................................................................. 24 Allan Nairn: After Ríos Montt Verdict, Time for U.S. to Account for Its Role in Guatemalan Genocide .................................................................................................. 29 40 Years After Chile Coup, Family of Slain Singer Victor Jara Sues Alleged Killer in U.S. Court .................................................................................................................... 31


Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Climate Change: "We Must Go from Capitalism to Socialism"
Monday, December 21, 2009

We speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chávez calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. "We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet," Chávez says. "That requires a change in the economic model: We must go from capitalism to socialism." _____________________________________________________________________ Amy Goodman: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chávez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the "Nobel War Prize" and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year. Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chávez for a few minutes. Amy Goodman: You sell more oil to the United States than any country but Canada. Your economy depends on oil, yet you are here at a climate change summit. What’s your proposal? President Hugo Chavez: [translated] The problem is not the oil, but what they do with the oil. The United States is the biggest spender of oil and of all the planet resources. Oil is a very valuable resource for life—electric heaters. We must have to transition ourselves to a post-oil era. And that’s what we must discuss: searching and developing new sources of energy. And that requires scientific research. That requires investment. And the developed countries must be the ones to assume this responsibility first.


Amy Goodman: What level of emissions are you willing to support reductions of emissions? President Hugo Chavez: [translated] One hundred percent. One hundred percent. We must reduce the emissions 100 percent. In Venezuela, the emissions are currently insignificant compared to the emissions of the developed countries. We are in agreement. We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet. However, that requires a change in lifestyle, a change in the economic model: We must go from capitalism to socialism. That’s the real solution. Amy Goodman: How do you throw away capitalism? President Hugo Chavez: [translated] The way they did it in Cuba. That’s the way. The same way we are doing in Venezuela: giving the power to the people and taking it away from the economic elites. You can only do that through a revolution. Amy Goodman: President Obama—what is your reaction to his speech today? President Hugo Chavez: [translated] Obama is a big frustration. In my opinion, Obama can become one of the biggest frustrations in the history for many people, not for me, but for the people of the United States that voted for him and saw him as a symbol of hope for change. But he has given continually to the most aggressive Bush policies, the imperialist policies. Amy Goodman: What example of that? President Hugo Chavez: [translated] The war. I told Obama, when he took the initiative to come visit us in the Summit of the Americas—we talked for a few minutes. I told him, "Obama, let’s work for peace in Colombia. That’s what I am proposing. Let’s get a team together to analyze the problem." But absolutely nothing. He is now installing seven military bases in Colombia. That’s just one example. And in Iraq and Afghanistan, policies of war. Guantánamo, it is a great frustration. And I feel sorry, not for me. You are from the United States. I feel sorry for you, because you deserve a government that takes care of the problems of the people of the United States and stops thinking about dominating the rest of the world and just governs over the United States, eradicates the problems of the United States, the poverty, the inequality, which gets bigger every day, the unemployment, families on the street, homeless, without Social Security, diseases. I wish for you to get a government that truly takes care of you first and then works towards peace for the rest of the world. Amy Goodman: The U.S. government calls you a dictator. What is your response? President Hugo Chavez: [translated] I laugh. I laugh. It is the empire calling me a dictator. I’m happy. And I remember Don Quixote, Quixote who was with Sancho, you know, and the dogs start to bark, and Sancho says, "They are going to bite us." And Quixote wisely answers, "Take it easy, Sancho, because if the dogs are barking, it is because we are galloping." I will be very sad and worried if the imperialist


government was calling me a great democratic man. No, it is them, the empire, who attack those who are truly contributing to the real democracy. Amy Goodman: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, speaking to us in Copenhagen on Friday.


Another 9/11 Anniversary: September 11, 1973, When US-Backed Pinochet Forces Took Power in Chile
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

_____________________________________________________________________ While memorials were held across the US for the ninth anniversary of 9/11, we remember another 9/11: September 11th, 1973, when Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile, died in the palace as US-backed Pinochet forces rose to power. We speak with Juan Garcés, a personal adviser to Allende. He was the sole adviser to survive the coup and its aftermath. _____________________________________________________________________ AMY GOODMAN: This past Saturday, there were memorials held across the United States to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. But the 9/11 attacks were not the only September 11th remembered that day. In Chile, many people spent the day reflecting on another 9/11: September 11th, 1973, when a USbacked coup led by General Augusto Pinochet ousted the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende. He died in the palace on that day. Our next guest, Juan Garcés, was a personal adviser to Salvador Allende. Juan Garcés was with the president when revolting troops bombed the presidential palace and found himself the sole survivor among Allende’s political advisers when the coup had run its course. More than twenty years later, Juan Garcés has led a legal effort to sue Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity in the Spanish courts. Juan Garcés is now focused on getting the Spanish courts to investigate for the first time the crimes against humanity committed under General Franco’s dictatorship. Juan Garcés won the Right Livelihood Award in 1999 and so is here in Bonn. Welcome to Democracy Now!


JUAN GARCÉS: Thank you. AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. Well, let’s start on the September 11th. In fact, on Democracy Now! , on the day that the planes attacked the Trade Center towers, we were just blocks from Ground Zero, and we were doing the broadcast at that moment, as we did every day. At the time, we did it at 9:00 in the morning. And we were doing a special that day on the connection between terror and September 11th, 1973, when Salvador Allende died in the palace. Tell us about that day. Where were you, Juan Garcés, 1973? JUAN GARCÉS: Well, we should remember that Chile was, in the '70s, beginning of the ’70s, the most democratic country in the Spanish-speaking world — Latin America and Spain and Portugal included. And this day, for the first time in history, of the Chilean history, the army revolted against the legitimate government. That was unexpected. And this army overthrew the government and changed the regime and established, in place of the parliamentarian democracy, a dictatorship, and through force, through massive arrests, through killings, [inaudible] — the president was Salvador Allende, a Democrat for forty years in the public life of Chile, a convinced Democrat, that fought until his last moment of life for defending the law and defending the freedom of all the Chilean citizens. AMY GOODMAN: So, you were in the palace. JUAN GARCÉS: I was inside the palace. AMY GOODMAN: You were with Allende. JUAN GARCÉS: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: The last adviser to be with him. You left, though. Why? JUAN GARCÉS: Well, two hours after the attack, the president asked me to leave the palace in a moment in which fifteen minutes of truce. Before the airplanes attacked the palace, the army was put back. And in this moment, he ordered me to save my life. That is why we can speak now. AMY GOODMAN: It's always been debated whether President Allende killed himself or was killed by Augusto Pinochet’s troops. What do you think? JUAN GARCÉS: I think that it’s irrelevant. President was — the President Allende was willing to fight against the putschists, the revolter, the troops. He was a commander-in-chief. He didn’t accept to surrender to those revolters, army men. And he fought. What happened in the last minutes, last seconds, he was killed by the revolters, the soldiers, or he killed himself with his last bullet, is indifferent. What is important is that he fought for preserving the freedom of his people. AMY GOODMAN: So you left Chile. You ultimately ended up in Spain, and you have made world history for trying to hold Augusto Pinochet accountable over all of


these years. You are a crusading lawyer who, when Augusto Pinochet went for a medical appointment in Britain, succeeded in having the Spanish government demand his arrest, and hopefully — you wanted extradition to Spain, where he would stand trial for crimes against humanity. On what legal grounds were you able to do this in Spain? JUAN GARCÉS: Let me explain that. World War II ended in '45, 1945, and was a victory of democracies against fascism. And the [inaudible] international law that has been developing since 1945 is the law of the victors, the law of the democratic powers. And according to this law, crimes against humanity — genocide — should be punished, should be first prevented, or punished, if not prevented in time. So, Spain is my country, and what I have been looking for is to implement this law. And that is not easy, because sometimes courts of justice are not ready to apply the law as it is in the Constitution or it is in the law. Democracy as law is a fight for every day. If you don't fight for that, it’s just a piece of paper. So we are trying to help to exercise — to the people to exercise their rights and making accountable of their crimes, big crimes, to the highest levels of government that are implicated in making those crimes possible. AMY GOODMAN: It is now well known, Juan Garcés, that President Nixon, that the Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were deeply involved with the support of Augusto Pinochet’s rise to power and the overthrow of the democratically elected president. But it was you who pushed, under developing this case against Pinochet, for the Clinton administration to declassify thousands of documents that proved this. What did you learn about our role, the US role, in Chile? JUAN GARCÉS: Well, I justified what was already known to me, that without the decisive backing of the Nixon administration to the coup d’état in Chile, this coup d’état would not take place or will be defeated by the Chilean Democrats. So, I thank the US Congress and the US executive, under Clinton administration, to decide to put those classified documents, available now via our internet, as a clear message that this should not be done. And I hope that the message is understood, because we are now living in a period of trouble, economic, social trouble. We know that that will mean challenge for democracy in every country in the world, including inside the United States. There will be people ready to sacrifice freedoms and liberties under the message of the order in the economy, and people are ready to organize massive killings under this pretext. That has happened already in history, and we should prevent that that happens again. And for that, we will — we should alert the population. AMY GOODMAN: Now, you had the good luck of coming before a judge, when you first made your case in Spain, also, like you, a crusader, Baltasar Garzón, who did issue the indictment against Augusto Pinochet. He has now been suspended, though he gained world fame for pursuing Pinochet, among others, and is under siege in your own country, in Spain. Ultimately, Pinochet did get back to Chile, on the grounds that he was, what, suffering dementia or he was too sick, but do you still feel it was a victory, what you did, keeping him in Britain for over a year? JUAN GARCÉS: There was a legal battle in the courts of justice in Spain and the United Kingdom. And the outcome of this judicial battle was that the extradition was granted by the House of Lords, the highest court in the United Kingdom, to Spain. So


the legal case was won by those that asked for implementing the international law against crimes for genocide and against humanity. Now, this is a fight, a universal fight, where we have coalitions, informal coalitions or formal coalitions that are against impunity or for impunity. When Pinochet was arrested in London, people as the Pope, the Catholic Pope, as Kissinger, the other people in the world, were mobilizing to put pressure over the courts and the government of the United Kingdom to put Pinochet in a plane and send him freed for Chile. And there was another informal coalition, universal, that was — wanted to put him on trial. These coalitions are still — are always acting. And even now, you can see how, around the attack against Judge Garzón in Spain, there’s an informal coalition that wants to punish this judge that dared to apply the law. And another one that said, well, the law is there for to be implemented. So we need judges ready to apply the law. And this is the current fight inside Spain, with a difference, that the Spanish judiciary are under the judicial authority, jurisdiction, of the European Court of Human Rights, that has a constant jurisprudence saying that the states are under the obligation to inquire and to put on trial the people that are responsible for crimes of genocide. So, this is a permanent fight, and that will continue, because both — tendency is that both coalitions always in fight, one against the other. Remember, this year of 1939. That was the beginning of the World War II. A few weeks before, Germany, the Third Reich of Germany, invaded Poland. During the war, Hitler asked his generals to be ready to invade Poland, and not only to occupy the territory, but to exterminate the population in those territories, because German population should replace this population. Some generals say, "My Führer, there will a provoking of cry in the world. Thousands of people will be killed, and there will be blame for us." And the answer from Hitler was, "Why? Twenty years ago was a massacre of Armenians. More than one million Armenians were massacred by the Turkish, in the Turkish Empire. Who remembers now the Armenians?" So, the forgiveness of the first big massacre in the twentieth century was the pretext for encouraging a second wave of massacre that was in World War II. AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, many saw the ascendancy of the fascist General Franco —JUAN GARCÉS: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: —- as head of Spain as being a precursor to Hitler, that if Hitler saw that Franco could do it —JUAN GARCÉS: In fact, it’s not exactly -— Hitler took power in '33, 1933. Franco revolted, General Franco, against the legitimate democratic government of the Spanish Republic, with Hitler's help and Mussolini fascism help, and those two powers, the Axis powers, helped Franco to establish a dictatorship in Spain that was alive until 1977. And around 2,000 — more than 2,000 people — 200,000 people — more than 200,000 people were killed or disappeared. But simultaneously with their killings, the courts of justice were being closed to investigate those crimes. Then the — and since '36, all the courts of Spain are closed for — AMY GOODMAN: For investigating the crimes of Franco.


JUAN GARCÉS: For investigating crimes of the Franco regime, until two years ago that Judge Garzón opened his court to an investigation. And the whole judicial system wanted to crush the judge there. AMY GOODMAN: Well, let's talk about this, because you’re very involved in trying to go after the crimes at that time, as is Judge Baltasar Garzón. And he has been suspended as a result. You actually fear for his life right now. Why? JUAN GARCÉS: Well, Judge Garzón is very well known in Spain, because he has been the most active judge applying the law against the most dangerous gangs of terrorists, Spanish terrorists and international terrorists, against gangs of drug trafficking and gangs of armed burglary and corruption networks inside of Spain and other countries, so — for more than twenty years ago. And that is real power, those gangs, what is behind that. And those people that have been arrested by him, put on trial by him, want him. And now he’s in a very vulnerable situation, because the highest level of the Spanish judiciary want to crush this judge. And this, I fear for him. AMY GOODMAN: And for yourself? JUAN GARCÉS: I fear for him. Well, I talk about the others. AMY GOODMAN: Well, we will certainly continue to follow this case. Just in thirty seconds, if you could say, what are the crimes against humanity that you feel General Franco committed that you want pursued right now? JUAN GARCÉS: Those crimes — these kind of crimes are indescribable. AMY GOODMAN: Are? JUAN GARCÉS: Indescribable. And there are still people in Spain alive that were a participant in those crimes. And what we want to show to the Spanish population is that if they want to build in a strong democracy that could be — with a possibility to resist any wave of crimes of this nature, they should know what happened during the dictatorship and become conscious of that, in order to not only to punish the people that are still alive of committing the crimes, but also preventing. That is the most important, to prevent new crimes of this order. AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan Garcés, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Juan Garcés is a Right Livelihood Award laureate. He won it in 1999. He is a crusading attorney in Spain, the sole surviving personal adviser to Salvador Allende, who died in the Chilean palace in Santiago, September 11th, 1973. _11


Allan Nairn Exposes Role of U.S. and New Guatemalan President in Indigenous Massacres Friday, April 19, 2013
_____________________________________________________________________ In 1982, investigative journalist Allan Nairn interviewed a Guatemalan general named "Tito" on camera during the height of the indigenous massacres. It turns out the man was actually Otto Pérez Molina, the current Guatemalan president. We air the original interview footage and speak to Nairn about the U.S. role backing the Guatemalan dictatorship. Last week, Nairn flew to Guatemala where he had been scheduled to testify in the trial of former U.S.-backed dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Ríos Montt was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. The trial took a surprising turn last week when Guatemala President Gen. Otto Pérez Molina was directly accused of ordering executions. A former military mechanic named Hugo Reyes told the court that Pérez Molina, then serving as an army major and using the name Tito Arias, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage a Maya Ixil area in the 1980s. Click here to hear our live update of the trial from Nairn in Guatemala City. _____________________________________________________________________ AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We continue our coverage of the historic trial of former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Allan Nairn joined us in our studio last week before he flew to Guatemala. I began by asking him to describe just who Ríos Montt is. ALLAN NAIRN: Ríos Montt was the dictator of Guatemala during 1982, '83. He seized power in a military coup. He was trained in the U.S. He had served in Washington as head of the Inter-American Defense College. And while he was president, he was embraced by Ronald Reagan as a man of great integrity, someone totally devoted to democracy. And he killed many tens of thousands of civilians, particularly in the Mayan northwest highlands. In this particular trial, he is being


charged with 1,771 specific murders in the area of the Ixil Mayans. These charges are being brought because the prosecutors have the names of each of these victims. They've been able to dig up the bones of most of them.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how this campaign, this slaughter, was carried out and how it links to, well, the current government in Guatemala today. ALLAN NAIRN: The army swept through the northwest highlands. And according to soldiers who I interviewed at the time, as they were carrying out the sweeps, they would go into villages, surround them, pull people out of their homes, line them up, execute them. A forensic witness testified in the trial that 80 percent of the remains they’ve recovered had gunshot wounds to the head. Witnesses have—witnesses and survivors have described Ríos Montt’s troops beheading people. One talked about an old woman who was beheaded, and then they kicked her head around the floor. They ripped the hearts out of children as their bodies were still warm, and they piled them on a table for their parents to see. The soldiers I interviewed would describe their interrogation techniques, which they had been taught at the army general staff. And they said they would ask people, "Who in the town are the guerrillas?" And if the people would respond, "We don’t know," then they would strangle them to death. These sweeps were intense. The soldiers said that often they would kill about a third of a town’s population. Another third they would capture and resettle in army camps. And the rest would flee into the mountains. There, in the mountains, the military would pursue them using U.S.-supplied helicopters, U.S.- and Israeli-supplied planes. They would drop U.S. 50-kilogram bombs on them, and they would machine-gun them from U.S. Huey and Bell helicopters, using U.S.-supplied heavy-caliber machine guns. AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to a clip of you interviewing a soldier in the highlands. This is from a Finnish documentary—is that right? And when was this done? When were you talking to soldiers there? ALLAN NAIRN: This was in September of 1982 in the Ixil zone in the area surrounding the town of Nebaj. AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to a clip of this interview. GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] This is how we are successful. And also, if we have already interrogated them, the only thing we can do is kill them. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And how many did you kill? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] We killed the majority. There is nothing else to do than kill them. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] So you killed them at once?


GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Yes. If they do not want to do the right things, there is nothing more to do than bomb the houses.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Bomb? With what? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Well, with grenades or collective bombs. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] What is a collective bomb? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] They are like cannons. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Do you use helicopters? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Yes. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] What is the largest amount of people you have killed at once? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Well, really, in Sololá, around 500 people. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And how do they react when you arrive? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Who? ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] The people from the small villages. GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] When the army arrives, they flee from their houses. And so, as they flee to the mountains, the army is forced to kill them. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And in which small village did the army do that kind of thing? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] That happened a lot of times. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Specifically, could you give me some examples where these things happened? GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] In Salquil, Sumal Chiquito, Sumal Grande, Acul. AMY GOODMAN: When did you interview this soldier, Allan? ALLAN NAIRN: This was in September of ’82. AMY GOODMAN: What were you doing there? ALLAN NAIRN: Making a documentary for Scandinavian television.


AMY GOODMAN: So you have soldiers talking about killing civilians, the brutal interrogations that they were engaged in. Why would they be telling you this? You’re a journalist. They’re talking about crimes they’re committing.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, because this is their everyday life. They do this all the time. They do it under orders from the top of the chain of command, at that time Ríos Montt. And they had hardly ever seen journalists at that time. It was very rare for an outside journalist or even a local journalist to go into that area. AMY GOODMAN: So let’s take this to the current day, to the president of Guatemala today, because at the same time you were interviewing these soldiers, you interviewed the Guatemalan president—at least the Guatemalan president today in 2013. ALLAN NAIRN: Yes, the senior officer, the commander in Nebaj, was a man who used the code name "Mayor Tito," Major Tito. It turns out that that man’s real name was Otto Pérez Molina. Otto Pérez Molina later ascended to general, and today he is the president of Guatemala. So he is the one who was the local implementer of the program of genocide which Ríos Montt is accused of carrying out. AMY GOODMAN: This is a huge charge. I mean, right now, it’s an historic trial when it’s 25 years after a past president is now being charged. Let’s go to a clip of Otto Pérez Molina, the current president of Guatemala, but this is 1982 in the heartland area of Quiché in northwest Guatemala, northwest of Guatemala City. In this video clip, Otto Pérez Molina is seen reading from political literature found on one of the bodies. This is your interview with him. MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] "The poor artisan fights alongside the worker. The poor peasant fights alongside the worker. The wealth is produced by us, the poor. The army takes the poor peasants. Together, we have an invincible force. All the families are with the guerrilla, the guerrilla army of the poor, toward final victory forever." These are the different fronts that they have. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] So here they are saying that the army killed some people. MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Exactly. AMY GOODMAN: I mean, this is astounding. This is the current president of Guatemala standing over these bodies. Tell us more. ALLAN NAIRN: Well, as one of the soldiers says in the sound in the background, the—Pérez Molina interrogated these men. And soon after, they were—they were dead. And one soldier told me off camera that in fact after Pérez Molina interrogated them, they finished them off.


AMY GOODMAN: This man, Pérez Molina, the president, actually was going by a code name at the time. When was it clear that this is Pérez Molina? Though we have a very clear shot of him.

ALLAN NAIRN: For a long time, Pérez Molina was trying to obscure his past and apparently hide the fact that he played this role in a supervisory position during the highland massacres. During the Guatemalan presidential campaign, which Pérez Molina eventually won, about two years ago, I got calls while I was in Asia from the Guatemalan press, from The Wall Street Journal, asking whether I could vouch for the fact that Mayor Tito, the man in the video who I encountered in the northwest highlands in the midst of the massacres—whether I could vouch for the fact that Mayor Tito was in fact General Otto Pérez Molina, the presidential candidate. And I said that I couldn’t, just from looking at the current videos. You know, people can change a lot visually over 30 years, so I said I couldn’t be sure. It turns out that—and during the campaign, when reporters would ask the Pérez Molina campaign, "Is Pérez Molina Mayor Tito?" they would dodge the question. They would evade. They were running from it. It turns out, though, we just learned this week, that Pérez Molina had admitted back in 2000 that he was Mayor Tito. But then, apparently afterward, he thought better of it and was trying to bury it. And now, this is potentially trouble for him. He’s currently president, and so, under Guatemalan law, he enjoys immunity. But once he leaves the presidency, he could, in theory, be subject to prosecution, just as Ríos Montt is now being prosecuted. AMY GOODMAN: That could be a serious motivation for him declaring himself president for life. ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Ríos Montt seized power by a coup, but one of the important facts about the situation now is that the military men don’t have the power that they used to. The fact that this trial is happening is an indication of that. This trial is happening because the survivors refused to give up. They persisted—the survivors have been working on this for decades, pushing to bring Ríos Montt and the other generals to justice. They refused to give up. They got support from international— some international human rights lawyers. And within the Guatemalan justice system, there were a few people of integrity who ascended to positions of some authority within the prosecutorial system, within the judiciary. And so, we now have this nearpolitical miracle of a country bringing to trial its former dictator for genocide, while the president of the country, who was implicated in those killings, sits by. AMY GOODMAN: Allan, this video that we have of you interviewing Pérez Molina—again, as you said, he admitted to the Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, in 2000 that he used the nickname Tito—is quite astounding. So let’s go to another clip, where you’re talking to him about the kind of support that he wants.


ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] The United States is considering giving military help here in the form of helicopters. What is the importance of helicopters for all of you? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] A helicopter is an apparatus that’s become of great importance not only here in Guatemala but also in other countries where they’ve had problems of a counterinsurgency. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Like in Vietnam? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] In Vietnam, for example, the helicopter was an apparatus that was used a lot. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Can you also use it in combat? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, of course. The helicopters that are military types, they are equipped to support operations in the field. They have machine guns and rocket launchers. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] What type of mortars are you guys using? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] There’s various types of mortars. We have small mortars and the mortars Tampella. ALLAN NAIRN: Tampella. MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, it’s a mortar that’s 60 millimeters. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Is it very powerful? Does it have a lot of force to destroy things? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, it’s a weapon that’s very effective. It’s very useful, and it has a very good result in our operation in defense of the country. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Is it against a person or...? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, it’s an anti-personnel weapon. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Do you have one here? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] It’s light and easy to transport, as well. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] So, it’s very light, and you can use it with your hand. MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Exactly, with the hand. ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Where did you get them? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] These, we got from Israel.


ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And where do you get the ammunition? MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] That’s also from Israel. AMY GOODMAN: So, this is, again, the current president, Pérez Molina, of Guatemala, the general you met in the highlands in 1982, asking for more aid. Talk about the relationship between Guatemala then and the United States. ALLAN NAIRN: Well, the U.S. was the sponsor of the Guatemalan army, as it had been for many decades, as the U.S. has and continues to sponsor dozens and dozens of repressive armies all over the world. In the case of Guatemala, if you go into the military academy and you see the pictures of the past presidents of military academy, some of them are actually Americans. They’re actual American officers there who were openly running the Guatemalan military training. By the ’80s, when the Ríos Montt massacres were being carried out, the U.S. Congress was under the impression that they had successfully stopped U.S. military aid to Guatemala. But in fact it was continuing. The CIA had an extensive program of backing the G-2, the G-2, the military intelligence service, which selected the targets for assassination and disappearance. They even—they even built a headquarters for—a secret headquarters for the G-2 near the Guatemala City airport. They had American advisers working inside the headquarters. Out in the field, Guatemalan troops were receiving from the U.S. ammunition, weapons. And most importantly, the U.S., beginning under the Carter administration but continuing under Reagan and after, asked the Israelis to come in and fill the gap that was caused by congressional restrictions. So Israel was doing massive shipments of Galil automatic rifles and other weapons. And Pérez Molina, as you saw in the video, actually had one of his subordinates come over and show me an Israeli-made mortar. That mortar and the helicopters he was asking for from the U.S., those were the kind of weapons they would use to bomb villages and attack people as they were fleeing in the mountains. In listening to the testimony in the trial up to this moment, I was struck by the fact that almost every witness mentioned that they had been attacked from the air, that either their village had been bombed or strafed or that they were bombed or strafed as they were fleeing in the mountains. This testimony suggests that the use of this U.S. and Israeli aircraft and U.S. munitions against the civilians in the Ixil highlands was actually much more extensive than we understood at the time. Beyond that, beyond the material U.S. support, there’s the question of doctrine. Yesterday in the trial, the Ríos Montt defense called forward a general, a former commander of the G-2, as an expert witness on the defense side. And at the end of his testimony, the prosecution read to this general an excerpt from a Guatemalan military training document. And the document said it is often difficult for soldiers to accept the fact that they may be required to execute repressive actions against civilian women, children and sick people, but with proper training, they can be made to do so. So, the prosecutor asked the Ríos Montt general, "Well, General, what is your


response to this document?" And the general responded by saying, "Well, that training document which we use is an almost literal translation of a U.S. training document." So this doctrine of killing civilians, even down to women, children and sick people, was, as the general testified, adopted from the U.S. Indeed, years before, the U.S. military attaché in Guatemala, Colonel John Webber, had said to Time magazine that the Guatemalan army was licensed to kill guerrillas and potential guerrillas. And, of course, the category of potential guerrillas can include anyone, including children. And the point of guerrilla civilians is actually very important to understanding this. Those bodies that Pérez Molina was standing over in Nebaj in 1982 in the film we saw, those were actually an exception to the rule, because the truth commission which investigated the massacres in Guatemala found that 93 percent of the victims were civilians killed by the Guatemalan army. But there was also some combat going on between the army and guerrillas. And in that case, in the video we saw, the bodies Pérez Molina was standing over were guerrillas, guerrillas that the army had captured. And one of them in captivity had set off a hand grenade as a suicide act, but apparently, from what I saw and what the soldiers told me, apparently they survived the blast, and they were then turned over to Pérez Molina for interrogation. He interrogated them, and then, as we saw, they turned up dead. But in the vast majority of cases, they were civilians, completely unarmed people, who were targeted by Ríos Montt’s army for elimination. And I asked Ríos Montt about this practice on two different occasions, first in an interview with him two months after he seized power in 1982, and then later, years later, after he had been thrown out of power. And when I asked him in ’82 about the fact that so many civilians were being killed by the army, he said, "Look, for each one who is shooting, there are 10 who are standing behind him," meaning: Behind the guerrillas there are vast numbers of civilians. His senior aide and his spokesman, a man named Francisco Bianchi, who was sitting next to him at this interview, then expanded on the point. Bianchi said the guerrillas—well, the indigenous population— he called them "indios," which is a slur in Guatemalan Spanish— AMY GOODMAN: For Indians. ALLAN NAIRN: Yes—were collaborating with the guerrilla, therefore it was necessary to kill Indians. "And people would say," Bianchi continued, "'Oh, you're massacring all these innocent Indians"—"innocent Indios," in his words. But Bianchi then said, "But, no, they are not innocent, because they had sold out to subversion." So this is the—this is the doctrine of killing civilians, and particularly Mayans, because the army saw them collectively as a group. They didn’t view them as individuals, but they saw them collectively as a group as sold out to subversion. And this was a doctrine that the U.S. supported. AMY GOODMAN: Journalist Allan Nairn. The interview we did was recorded last week just before he left for Guatemala to testify in the trial against the Guatemalan


dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. But at the last minute, his testimony was canceled late yesterday. The trial was canceled. We’ll continue with the interview in a minute. AMY GOODMAN: The War and Peace Report, as we continue our coverage of the historic trial of former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Allan Nairn joined us in our studio last week before he flew to Guatemala. His testimony was canceled. The trial was canceled last night. But I asked Allan to talk about how he managed to interview the Guatemalan dictator, Ríos Montt, two months after he seized power in the 1980s. ALLAN NAIRN: Well, he was—he was giving press interviews. This was an interview in the palace. I was there with a couple of other reporters. Ríos Montt was very outspoken. He would go on TV and say, "Today we are going to begin a merciless struggle. We are going to kill, but we are going to kill legally." That was his style, to speak directly. And it’s in great contrast to what he’s doing today. I mean, it’s very interesting from point of view of people who’ve survived these kind of generals who live on the blood of the people, not just in Guatemala but in Salvador, in East Timor, in Indonesia, in countless countries where the U.S. has backed this kind of terror. You have the spectacle now of this general, who once made poor people tremble at the sight of him, at the mention of him, now he’s hiding. In the trial, he refuses to talk. He will not defend himself. He’s like a common thug taken off the streets who invokes his Fifth Amendment—invokes his Fifth Amendment rights. But back then, when he had the power, when no one could challenge him, he would speak fairly openly. In fact, the second time I spoke to him, a number of years after, I asked Ríos Montt whether he thought that he should be executed, whether he should be tried and executed because of his own responsibility for the highland massacres, and he responded by jumping to his feet and shouting, "Yes! Put me on trial. Put me against the wall. But if you’re going to put me on trial, you have to try the Americans first, including Ronald Reagan." AMY GOODMAN: Allan Nairn, at the time in Guatemala, you not only were interviewing, well, now the current president, Pérez Molina, who was in the highlands at the time standing over dead bodies, but you were also talking to U.S. officials, and I want to go to this issue of U.S. involvement in what happened in Guatemala. Tell us about U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth, a man you got to interview at the time during the Ríos Montt years. ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Bosworth was, at the time, an important player in U.S. Central American policy. And he, along with Elliott Abrams, for example, attacked Amnesty International when Amnesty was trying to report on the assassinations of labor leaders and priests and peasant organizers and activists in the Mayan highlands. And he also was denying that the U.S. was giving military assistance to the Guatemalan army that was carrying out those crimes.


AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to the interview you did with then U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth.

STEPHEN BOSWORTH: Well, I think the important factor is that there has been, over the last six months, evidence of significant improvement in the human rights situation in Guatemala. Since the coming into power of the Ríos Montt government, the level of violence in the country, politically inspired violence, particularly in the urban areas, has declined rather dramatically. That being said, however, I think it’s important also to note that the level of violence in the countryside continues at a level which is of concern to all. And while it is difficult, if not impossible, to attribute responsibility for that violence in each instance, it is clear that in the countryside the government does indeed need to make further progress in terms of improving its control over government troops. AMY GOODMAN: You also, Allan Nairn, asked the then-U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth precisely what was the U.S. military presence and role in Guatemala. This is how Bosworth responded. STEPHEN BOSWORTH: We have no military presence or role. We have, as a part of our diplomatic establishment, a defense attaché office and a military representative. But that is the same sort of representation that we have in virtually all other countries in the world. We do not have American trainers working with the Guatemalan army. We do not have American military personnel active in Guatemala in that—in that sort of area. ALLAN NAIRN: There are no American trainers there? STEPHEN BOSWORTH: No. ALLAN NAIRN: None performing the types of functions that go on in El Salvador, for instance? STEPHEN BOSWORTH: No, there are not. AMY GOODMAN: That was then-U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for InterAmerican Affairs Stephen Bosworth. Respond to what he said, and tell us who he later became, who he is today in the U.S. government. ALLAN NAIRN: Well, first, just about everything that Bosworth said there was a lie. He said that the killings were down. In fact, they increased dramatically under Ríos Montt. He said, quite interestingly, that it was impossible to know and attribute responsibility for what was happening. Well, the Conference of Catholic Bishops had no difficulty knowing and attributing responsibility. They said that the killings have reached the extreme of genocide. They were saying this at the moment that the


massacres were happening and at the moment that Bosworth was denying it. And they and the survivors and the human rights groups were all clearly blaming it on the army. And then, finally, he said that the army has to be careful to maintain control over its troops. Well, there was a very strict control. In fact, the officers in the field in the Ixil zone that I interviewed at the time said they were on a very short leash and that there were only three layers of command between themselves in the field and Ríos Montt. And, in fact, a few weeks earlier, there had been only two layers of command between themselves and Ríos Montt. Then, Bosworth went on to say that the U.S. was not giving any military assistance to Guatemala, but I guess it was a couple weeks after that interview when we went down to Guatemala, I met a U.S. Green Beret, Captain Jesse Garcia, who was training the Guatemalan military in combat techniques, including what he called how—in his words, "how to destroy towns." This was apart from the weapons and U.S. munitions that I mentioned before, apart from the CIA trainers who were working in the CIAbuilt headquarters of the G-2, the military intelligence service that was doing the assassinations and disappearances. AMY GOODMAN: The G-2 being the Guatemalan G-2. Now, today Stephen Bosworth is the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. But before that, in 2009, well, he played a key role in the Obama administration. ALLAN NAIRN: Yes, rather than being—you know, in what you might consider to be a normally functioning political system, if a high government official lied like that about matters of such grave, life-and-death importance and was involved in the supply of arms to terrorists, in this case the Guatemalan military, you would expect him at the minimum to be fired and disgraced, or maybe brought up on charges. But Bosworth was actually promoted. And under the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton chose him as the special envoy to North Korea. He’s been in the news a great deal in recent times because of his very prominent role there. AMY GOODMAN: In 1995, Allan Nairn was interviewed on Charlie Rose about his piece in The Nation called "CIA Death Squad," in which he described how Americans were directly involved in killings by the Guatemalan army. He was interviewed alongside Elliott Abrams, who challenged what he was saying. Abrams had served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs under President Reagan from 1981 to 1985. This clip begins with Elliott Abrams. ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Wait a minute. We’re not here to refight the Cold War. We’re here to talk about, I thought, a specific case in which an allegation is being made that—of the husband of an American and, another case, an American citizen were killed, and there was a CIA connection with—allegedly with the person allegedly involved in it. Now, I’m happy to talk about that kind of thing. If Mr. Nairn thinks we should have been on the other side in Guatemala—that is, we should have been in favor of a guerrilla victory—I disagree with him.


ALLAN NAIRN: So you’re then admitting that you were on the side of the Guatemalan military. ELLIOTT ABRAMS: I am admitting that it was the policy of the United States, under Democrats and Republicans, approved by Congress repeatedly, to oppose a communist guerrilla victory anywhere in Central America, including in Guatemala. CHARLIE ROSE: Alright, well, I— ALLAN NAIRN: A communist guerrilla victory. CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah, I— ALLAN NAIRN: Ninety-five percent of these victims are civilians—peasant organizers, human rights leaders— CHARLIE ROSE: I am happy to invite both of you— ALLAN NAIRN: —priests—assassinated by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan army. Let’s look at reality here. In reality, we’re not talking about two murders, one colonel. We’re talking about more than 100,000 murders, an entire army, many of its top officers employees of the U.S. government. We’re talking about crimes, and we’re also talking about criminals, not just people like the Guatemalan colonels, but also the U.S. agents who have been working with them and the higher-level U.S. officials. I mean, I think you have to be—you have to apply uniform standards. President Bush once talked about putting Saddam Hussein on trial for crimes against humanity, Nuremberg-style tribunal. I think that’s a good idea. But if you’re serious, you have to be even-handed. If we look at a case like this, I think we have to talk—start talking about putting Guatemalan and U.S. officials on trial. I think someone like Mr. Abrams would be a fit—a subject for such a Nuremberg-style inquiry. But I agree with Mr. Abrams that Democrats would have to be in the dock with him. The Congress has been in on this. The Congress approved the sale of 16,000 M-16s to Guatemala. In ’87 and ’88— CHARLIE ROSE: Alright, but hold on one second. I just—before—because the— ALLAN NAIRN: They voted more military aid than the Republicans asked for. CHARLIE ROSE: Again, I invite you and Elliott Abrams back to discuss what he did. But right now, you— ELLIOTT ABRAMS: No, thanks, Charlie, but I won’t accept— CHARLIE ROSE: Hold on one second. Go ahead. You want to repeat the question, of you want to be in the dock?


ELLIOTT ABRAMS: It is ludicrous. It is ludicrous to respond to that kind of stupidity. This guy thinks we were on the wrong side in the Cold War. Maybe he personally was on the wrong side. I am one of the many millions of Americans who thinks we were happy to win. CHARLIE ROSE: Alright, I don’t— ALLAN NAIRN: Mr. Abrams, you were on the wrong side in supporting the massacre of peasants and organizers, anyone who dared to speak, absolutely. CHARLIE ROSE: What I want to do is I want to ask the following question. ALLAN NAIRN: And that’s a crime. That’s a crime, Mr. Abrams, for which people should be tried. U.S. laws— ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Why don’t you—yes, right, we’ll put all the American officials who won the Cold War in the dock. AMY GOODMAN: That was Elliott Abrams—he served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs under President Reagan from ’81 to ’85—debating investigative journalist Allan Nairn on the Charlie Rose show. Actually, Congressmember Robert Torricelli, then from New Jersey, before he became senator, was also in that discussion at another point. Allan, the significance of what Mr. Abrams was saying? He went on, Abrams, to deal with the Middle East. ALLAN NAIRN: Yes. Well, he—when I said that he should be tried by a Nuremberg-style tribunal, he basically reacted by saying I was crazy, that this was a crazy idea that you could try U.S. officials for supplying weapons to armies that kill civilians. But people also thought that it was crazy that Ríos Montt could face justice in Guatemala. But after decades of work by the survivors of his Mayan highland massacres, today, as we speak, Ríos Montt is sitting in the dock. AMY GOODMAN: Award-winning journalist Allan Nairn, speaking last week before he flew to Guatemala. On Thursday, a landmark genocide trial against former Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt was suspended after the trial threatened to implicate the current president of Guatemala in the mass killings of civilians. Allan reports Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina. Some of the video footage used in the show comes from a 1983 documentary directed by Mikael Wahlforss. We’ll link to it at and to Allan Nairn’s website, That does it for our show. Juan González will be speaking tonight in Chicago at 8:15 at the Gene Siskel Film Center at North State Street and tomorrow at noon at Wayne State University in Detroit at noon.



Genocide Trial of Former Dictator Ríos Montt Suspended After Intervention by Guatemalan President Friday, April 19, 2013
_____________________________________________________________________ A historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Ríos Montt on was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Thursday’s decision is seen as a major blow to indigenous victims. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina. Ríos Montt was the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Nairn flew to Guatemala last week after he was called to testify in Ríos Montt’s trial. He was listed by the court as a "qualified witness" and was tentatively scheduled to testify on Monday. But at the last minute, Nairn was kept off the stand "in order," he was told, "to avoid a confrontation" with the president, General Pérez Molina, and for fear that if he took the stand, military elements might respond with violence. In the 1980s, Nairn extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres and was prepared to present evidence that personally implicated Pérez Molina, who was field commander during the very Mayan Ixil region massacres for which the exdictator, Ríos Montt, had been charged with genocide. _____________________________________________________________________

Juan Gonzalez: An historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last


night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina. Ríos Montt was the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. He was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. On Thursday, survivors of the genocide attempted to approach Ríos Montt inside the courtroom, screaming "Murderer!" Amy Goodman: The trial took a surprising turn last week when Guatemala’s current president, General Otto Pérez Molina, was directly accused of ordering executions. A former military mechanic named Hugo Reyes told the court that President Pérez, then serving as an army major and using the name Tito Arias, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage a Mayan Ixil area in the 1980s. We’re going right now to investigative journalist Allan Nairn. He flew to Guatemala City last week after we—he was called to testify in Ríos Montt’s trial. He was listed by the court as a "qualified witness" and was tentatively scheduled to testify Monday. But at the last minute he was kept off the stand "in order," he was told, "to avoid a confrontation" with the president, General Pérez Molina, and for fear that if he took the stand, military elements might respond with violence. In the ’80s, Allan Nairn had extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres and was prepared to present evidence that personally implicated Pérez Molina, who was field commander during the very Maya Ixil region massacres for which the ex-dictator, General Ríos Montt, has been charged with genocide. Allan Nairn, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the significance of the latest developments, the annulling of the trial of Ríos Montt? Allan Nairn: Well, this trial was a breakthrough, not just for Guatemala, but for the world. It was the first time that any nation had been able to use its domestic criminal courts to try a former head of state for genocide. Dozens upon dozens of Mayan survivors of the massacres risked their lives to come and testify. A massive evidentiary record was put together, in my view, to proving a case of genocide against General Ríos Montt and his co-defendant, his former intelligence chief. A verdict was just hours away. A verdict could have come today in the trial, but yesterday it was all annulled after intervention by General Pérez Molina, the current president, and the Guatemalan military and oligarchy killed it.


Juan Gonzalez: And, Allan, can you talk about what you learned in terms of the threats to the judges and—the judge and the prosecutor and what’s been their reaction, even though they’ve been sitting here now for several weeks in this trial? Allan Nairn: In one case, one of—one of the lawyers involved in pushing the case forward was approached by a man who offered him a million dollars if he would kill the case against Ríos Montt, a million U.S. dollars. He also said he would help him launder the money, set up offshore bank accounts. The lawyer rejected that. The man then took out a pistol, put the pistol on the table and said, "I know where your children are." Another was approached on the street with a—with a direct death threat. Despite those threats, though, the case went forward. And now, after [inaudible] to kill the case, the attorney general of Guatemala, the trial judge presiding in the case are both vowing to try to go forward with it. They’re vowing to continue with the court hearing just a couple hours from now, even though they’ve been told they can’t. So a direct political confrontation has been set. Amy Goodman: We’re talking to investigative journalist Allan Nairn. He’s in Guatemala City. We’re reaching him by Democracy Now! video stream. Listen carefully. It’s a little difficult to make out what he is saying. But, Allan, we wanted to ask about why your testimony was canceled before the overall annulment of the trial yesterday. Why was your testimony considered so dangerous? Allan Nairn: I was given to understand that if I were called to the stand, two things would happen. First, President Pérez Molina would intervene to shut down the trial. And secondly, there could be violence, particularly from retired military. The reason was that, as you mentioned in the introduction, one witness had already implicated Pérez Molina in the massacres. He was a field commander at that time. After that testimony, Pérez Molina called in the attorney general, and the word went out that if he was mentioned again in the trial, if his name came up once, he would immediately shut it down. So—and they knew that I could implicate Pérez Molina further, because I had met him in the highlands during the massacres when he was operating under a code name. And I interviewed soldiers under his command who described how, under orders, they executed and tortured civilians. Juan Gonzalez: And, Allan, in terms of the—of Pérez Molina himself, you have a situation here, obviously, after the Central America accords, when some sort of relative peace came to the region. How did Pérez Molina rise to power, being one of the underlings of Ríos Montt and the military that visited such carnage and such destruction on the people of Guatemala? Allan Nairn: Well, the reason the military was doing those massacres in the first place was to preserve a political and economic system under which there was 80 percent attrition in the area around Nebaj, which is where Pérez Molina was stationed and where, at the same time, there were world-class rich people running the plantations, the banks, the industries. Those massacres were basically successful in


crushing the population and crushing any resistance and in maintaining that system. And within that system, Pérez Molina was able to rise. He became a colonel. He became the head of the G-2 military intelligence service during a time [inaudible]— Amy Goodman: We’re having a little trouble hearing, Allan. Allan Nairn: —placed on the CIA payroll. At one point, an office under his control was implicated in the—at one point, an office under Pérez Molina’s control was implicated in the assassination of a judge. He rose to general, and he was able to become president. That’s the—that’s the Guatemalan system. Yet, remarkably, even given that system, this movement from below of massacre survivors who refused to give up, who insisted on trying to bring generals to justice, was able to generate this trial, aided by people of integrity who had found their way into the Guatemalan judiciary and prosecution system, and a trial was begun. They heard massive amounts of evidence. I believe it was on the verge of giving a verdict, but then, at the last minute, Pérez Molina and the powers that be intervened. Amy Goodman: Very quickly, Allan, we just have less than a minute, the attorney general is a woman. The judge is a woman. They are saying they’re going to move forward with this case, although it has been anulled, with a trial today? And what about protests outside? Allan Nairn: Well, protests are planned outside the court. The judge, Yassmin Barrios, and the attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, both say they’re going to defy this order to kill the case, which is extraordinary. You know, this indicates, I think, that Guatemala has reached a higher level of civilization than the United States has. Even though this case was killed in the end, it’s inconceivable that in the United States a U.S. attorney, say, could indict a former U.S. president, could indict a George W. Bush for what he did in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, or could indict an Obama, and that this could proceed to trial and that massive amounts of evidence could be heard. That’s not yet conceivable in the American legal system, but it happened here in Guatemala, and it almost succeeded. It came very close. And now there’s going to be a popular reaction to try to continue that fight for law enforcement and justice. Amy Goodman: And is it possible the trial will continue? Allan Nairn: Excuse me? Amy Goodman: Is it possible the trial will continue? Allan Nairn: Well, I guess it’s possible, if Judge—Judge Barrios and the prosecutors are physically allowed into the courtroom, that they could try to have the trial. But the powers that be above them have now banned it, have now prohibited it. Ríos Montt and his lawyers may not show up. I don’t know what will happen. This is a real political crisis for Guatemala.


Amy Goodman: Investigative journalist Allan Nairn, speaking to us from Guatemala City. When we come back, we sat down with Allan before he left to go through the history of this trial and also play the videotape of his interview with the current president back more than 20 years ago when he was a major under Ríos Montt, on trial for genocide. Stay with us.


Allan Nairn: After Ríos Montt Verdict, Time for U.S. to Account for Its Role in Guatemalan Genocide
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 _____________________________________________________________________ Following last week’s guilty verdict in Guatemala’s historic genocide trial, reporter Allan Nairn says the United States should follow Guatemala’s lead and indict the Reagan administration officials who supported the genocide under General Efraín Ríos Montt. "All of [these crimes] were crimes not just of General Ríos Montt, but also of the U.S. government," Nairn says. Former President Ronald Reagan once called Ríos Montt "a man of great personal integrity." After the verdict, Judge Yassmin Barrios ordered the attorney general to launch an immediate investigation of "all others" connected to the crimes. _____________________________________________________________________ Amy Goodman: As we wrap up, investigative journalist Allan Nairn, the compensation end of the trial, what you feel needs to be done now? You have covered this throughout these decades. Allan Nairn: Well, all of the crimes that Rigoberta Menchú just described were crimes not just of General Ríos Montt, but also of the U.S. government. The U.S. prosecutors in Washington should immediately convene a grand jury with two missions: first, coming to the aid of the Guatemalan attorney general, who has just been ordered by the court to investigate all others involved in Ríos Montt’s crimes, by releasing all classified U.S. documents about what happened during the slaughter, which U.S. personnel were involved, providing to the Guatemalan attorney general a list of all Guatemalan army officials and security force officials who were on the payroll of the American CIA, and then proceeding to issue indictments against U.S. officials who acted in the role of accessory or accomplice to the crimes for which Ríos Montt has already been convicted. Amy Goodman: And those people, you believe, would include? Allan Nairn: The top officials of the Reagan administration who made the policy— President Reagan is deceased, but his top aides, including Elliott Abrams and many others, are still alive; the U.S. CIA personnel on the ground who worked within the G2, the military intelligence unit that coordinated the assassinations and


disappearances; the U.S. military attachés who worked with the Guatemalan generals to develop this sweep-and-massacre strategy in the mountains. There would be hundreds of U.S. officials who were complicit in this and should be subpoenaed, called before a grand jury and subjected to indictment. And the U.S. should be ready to extradite them to Guatemala to face punishment, if the Guatemalan authorities are able to proceed with this. And General Pérez Molina is one who should be included. And Pérez Molina, himself, was among— Amy Goodman: The president. Allan Nairn: Yes—is among those who was on the CIA payroll. Amy Goodman: We will leave it there. Allan Nairn, investigative journalist, Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace laureate, we thank you so much for being with us in Mexico City.


40 Years After Chile Coup, Family of Slain Singer Victor Jara Sues Alleged Killer in U.S. Court Monday, September 9, 2013

_____________________________________________________________________ This week marks the 40th anniversary of what’s known as the other 9/11: September 11, 1973, when a U.S.-backed military coup ousted Chile’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende and ushered in a 17-year repressive dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet. We’re joined by Joan Jara, the widow of Chilean singer Víctor Jara, who has just filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. court against the former military officer who allegedly killed Jara 40 years ago. Jara’s accused killer, Pedro Barrientos, has lived in the United States for roughly two decades and is now a U.S. citizen. Jara’s family is suing him under federal laws that allow U.S. courts to hear about human rights abuses committed abroad. Last year, Chilean prosecutors charged Barrientos and another officer with Jara’s murder, naming six others as accomplices. We also speak with Almudena Bernabeu, an attorney with Center for Justice and Accountability, who helped file the Jara family’s lawsuit last week. "I saw literally hundreds of bodies that were piled up in what was actually the parking place of the morgue," Joan Jara says of finding her husband’s body 40 years ago. "I recognized him. I saw what had happened to him. I saw the bullet wounds. I saw the state of his body. I consider myself one of the lucky ones in the sense that I had to face in that moment what had happened to Victor. I could [later] give my testimony with all the force of what I felt in that moment — and not the horror, which is much worse, of never knowing what happened to your loved one. That happened to so many families, so many women who have spent these 40 years looking for their loved ones who were made to disappear." _____________________________________________________________________

AMY GOODMAN: Today we look at another September 11th. It was 40 years ago this week, September 11, 1973, that General Augusto Pinochet ousted Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, in a U.S.-backed military coup.


The coup began a 17-year repressive dictatorship during which more than 3,000 Chileans were killed. Pinochet’s rise to power was backed by then-President Richard Nixon and his secretary of state and national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. In 1970, the CIA’s deputy director of plans wrote in a secret memo, quote, "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. ... It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [that’s the U.S. government] and American hand be well hidden," unquote. That same year, President Nixon ordered the CIA to, quote, "make the economy scream" in Chile to, quote, "prevent Allende from coming to power or [to] unseat him." After the 1973 coup, General Pinochet remained a close U.S. ally. He was defeated in 1988 referendum and left office in 1990. In 1998, Pinochet was arrested in London on torture and genocide charges on a warrant issued by a Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón. British authorities later released Pinochet after doctors ruled him physically and mentally unfit to stand trial. Last week, Chile’s judges issued a long-awaited apology to the relatives of loved ones who went missing or were executed during the Pinochet dictatorship. This is Judge Daniel Urrutia. JUDGE DANIEL URRUTIA: [translated] We consider it appropriate and necessary. We understand, for some citizens, obviously, it’s too late, but nothing will ever be too late to react to what may happen in the future. AMY GOODMAN: The relatives of some victims have rejected the belated apology and called for further investigations into deaths and disappearances during the dictatorship. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said the country’s courts had failed to uphold the constitution and basic rights. PRESIDENT SEBASTIÁN PIÑERA: [translated] The judiciary did not rise up to their obligations or challenges, and could have done much more, because, by constitutional mandate, it’s their duty to protect the rights of the people, to protect their lives—for example, reconsidering the appeals, which they had previously massively rejected as unconstitutional. AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, on Sunday thousands of Chileans took to the streets of Santiago to mark the 40th anniversary of the military coup and remember the thousands who disappeared during the brutal regime that followed. This is the president of the Families of Executed Politicians group, Alicia Lira. ALICIA LIRA: [translated] Forty years since the civil military coup, the issue of human rights, the violations during the dictatorship are still current. This denial of justice, there are more than 1,300 processes open for 40 years, for 40 years continuing the search for those who were arrested, who disappeared, who were executed without the remains handed back. Why don’t they say the truth? Why don’t they break their pact of silence? AMY GOODMAN: Just last week, the wife and two daughters of the legendary Chilean folk singer Víctor Jara filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. court against the former


military officer they say killed Jara almost exactly 40 years ago. Víctor Jara was shot to death in the midst of the 1973 U.S.-backed coup. First his hands were smashed so he could no longer play the guitar, it is believed. Jara’s accused killer, Pedro Barrientos, has lived in the United States for roughly two decades and is now a U.S. citizen. Jara’s family is suing him under federal laws that allow U.S. courts to hear about human rights abuses committed abroad. Last year, Chilean prosecutors charged Barrientos and another officer with Jara’s murder, naming six others as accomplices. Well, today we’ll spend the hour with the loved ones of those who were killed under Pinochet, and the attorneys who have helped them seek justice. First we’re joined by Joan Jara. She is the widow of Chilean singer Víctor Jara. She is the author of An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara, first published in 1984. We welcome you back to Democracy Now! JOAN JARA: Thank you. Thank you. AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us and in studio here in New York, as victims and those who have worked for justice in Chile gather for this 40th anniversary of the September 11th coup. JOAN JARA: Indeed. AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the lawsuit you have just filed. JOAN JARA: Well, this lawsuit, which is for the central justice and accountability, is a civil lawsuit, but the—our aim is not to receive pecuniary, because this doesn’t help at all. It’s to reinforce the extradition petition, which was approved by the Chilean Supreme Court and is now in United States territory. It’s somehow to support that and to appeal to public opinion here in the United States. We know we have—there are many people here. In repeated visits here, I have met so many friends who have condemned the coup on the 11th of September, 1973. And I appeal to all the people who listen to Víctor’s songs, who realize—and for all the victims of Pinochet, for their support and appeal to their—your own government to remit a reply positively to this extradition request. AMY GOODMAN: After break, we’ll also be joined by your lawyer to talk more about the lawsuit. But describe what happened on September 11, 1973. Where were you? Where was Víctor? JOAN JARA: Yeah, well, we were both at home with our two daughters. There was somehow a coup in the air. We had been fearing that there might be a military coup. And on that morning, together, Víctor and I listened to Allende’s last speech and heard all the radios, the—who supported Salvador Allende, falling off the air as, one by one, being replaced by military marches. Víctor was due to go to the technical university, his place of work, where Allende was due to speak to announce a plebiscite at 11:00, and Víctor was to sing there, as he did. And he went out that morning. It was the last time I saw him. I stayed at home, heard of the bombing of the Moneda Palace, heard and saw the helicopter’s machine gun


firing over Allende’s residence. And then began the long wait for Víctor to come back home. AMY GOODMAN: And how long did you wait? JOAN JARA: I waited a week, not knowing really what had happened to him. I got a message from him from somebody who had been in the stadium with him, wasn’t sure what was really happening to him. But my fears were confirmed on the 11th of September—well, I’m sorry, on the 18th of September, Chile National Day, when a young man came to my house, said, "Please, I need to talk to you. I’m a friend. I’ve been working in the city morgue. I’m afraid to tell you that Víctor’s body has been recognized," because it was a well-known—his was a well-known face. And he said, "You must come with me and claim his body; otherwise, they will put him in a common grave, and he will disappear." So then I accompanied this young man to the city morgue. We entered by a side entrance. I saw the hundreds of bodies, literally hundreds of bodies, that were high piled up in what was actually the parking place, I think, of the morgue. And I had to look for Víctor’s body among a long line in the offices of the city morgue, recognized him. I saw what had happened to him. I saw the bullet wounds. I saw the state of his body. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones, in the sense that I had to face at that moment that—what had happened to Víctor, and I could give my testimony with all the force of what I felt in that moment, and not that horror, which is much worse, of never knowing what happened to your loved one, as what happened to so many families, so many women, who have spent these 40 years looking for their loved ones who were made to disappear. AMY GOODMAN: Because he was so well known, there have been many stories about his death. Some said because he was this famous folk singer, guitarist, his hands were cut off. JOAN JARA: No. AMY GOODMAN: Others said they were smashed. How did you see—what did you see when you saw his body? JOAN JARA: No, I—this is not true. There was this invention of myths that I people, I suppose, thought would help. The truth was bad enough. There was no need to invent more horrors. Víctor’s hands were not cut off. When I saw his body, his hands were hanging at a strange angle. I mean, his whole body was bruised and battered with bullet wounds, but I didn’t touch his hands. It looked as though his wrists were broken. AMY GOODMAN: How long had Víctor played guitar? How long had he been singing?


JOAN JARA: Oh, how long had he been singing? Since he was small. Since he was—he didn’t really learn to play the guitar until he was adolescent, but his mother was a folk singer, and he learned from her, yeah. AMY GOODMAN: And how did you meet? JOAN JARA: We met because in the University of Chile we—Víctor was a student in the theater school, and I was a dancer in the national ballet, but I also gave classes in the theater school. That’s how I met him. He was an excellent student. He was at least the best of his course. But we actually got together after, later, when I was recovering from when I was sort of ill, and he heard I was ill. He came to see me with a little bunch of flowers that I think he took out of the park, because he was penniless. AMY GOODMAN: And you have two daughters together? JOAN JARA: No, not together. My first daughter is actually the daughter of my first husband, whom I had separated from, but she was very, very small when Víctor came to see us that day. She was only a year old, slightly less than a year old. And she always felt that Víctor was her father, and Víctor always felt that he—she was her daughter. She—he—sorry, I’m not used to speaking English. So, they were very, very close. AMY GOODMAN: And the hundreds of bodies you saw in this morgue. How many of them were identified? JOAN JARA: Can’t tell you that. This particular young man who worked in the identification, civil—civil registry—I don’t know what you call it—he was overwhelmed with what he had to do. I can’t—I can’t tell you. I can’t—I can’t tell. AMY GOODMAN: Were you able to claim his body and bury him? JOAN JARA: I was—I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to claim his body, but we had to take it immediately to the cemetery and inter it in a niche high up in the back wall of the cemetery. There could be no funeral. And after that, I had to go home and tell my daughters what had happened. AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking with Joan Jara, the widow of Víctor Jara. And we’re going to continue with her, as well as her lawyer. She’s just brought suit against the man she believes was responsible for his murder, among others. We’re also going to be joined by Joyce Horman, another widow of the coup. Her husband, Charles Horman, American freelance journalist, was also disappeared and killed during the coup. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. It’s been 40 years since the September 11, 1973, coup that overthrew the first democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvador Allende, who died in the palace that day as the Pinochet forces rose to power. Stay with us. AMY GOODMAN: "Vivir en Paz," by Víctor Jara, the Chilean singer, songwriter, tortured and executed during the Chilean coup of Salvador Allende, September 11, 1973. This week marks the 40th anniversary the U.S.-backed coup. You can also go to our website at to see highlights from our coverage over the years.


This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Our guest is Joan Jara, the widow of the legendary Chilean singer Víctor Jara. Last week she filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. court against the former military officer they say killed Jara almost exactly 40 years ago. Víctor Jara was shot to death in the midst of the 1973 U.S.-backed coup within the next week. Joan Jara is author of An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara. Also with us is Almudena Bernabeu, attorney who helped file the lawsuit last week against Víctor Jara killers. She’s with the Center for Justice and Accountability, where she directs the Transitional Justice Program. Tonight there will be a major event where people from around the world will gather who have been involved with seeking justice since the coup took place. Pinochet rose to power on September 11th, and over the next 17 years more than 3,000 Chileans were killed. Almudena, describe this lawsuit, the grounds, the legal grounds on which you bring this 40 years after Víctor Jara was killed. ALMUDENA BERNABEU: Absolutely. This is under—these lawsuits are happening in the United States, and there’s an important number of them. They are civil by nature, because it’s what the—it’s a tort, which is a legal word, but, I mean, it’s—what they really look for is a reward on damages. But really, the nature of the evidence and the relevance of the documents and everything that goes into the case really doesn’t distinguish, in my mind, between criminal and civil. It’s under two federal statutes in the United States called the Alien Tort Statute from 1789— ironically, first Congress—and the Torture Victims Protection Act, which is later on in 1992. And what they provide for is the right to victims, whether they’re aliens under the ATS or also U.S. citizens under the TVPA, or what we call the TVPA, to bring suit for human rights violations. The second statute provides for torture, extrajudicial killing, specifically. And the Alien Tort Statute allows you to bring in a more open or wide number of claims, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and slavery, many claims over the years. Colleagues and friends have brought suit under these laws. In, I guess, the jurisdictional basis, not to be overtechnical, but one of the more solid ones has been the physical presence of the defendant in the United States, which is what I will say the Center for Justice and Accountability specialize. Other colleagues at the Center for Constitutional Rights and other institutions have more experience with corporate cases and so forth. And in this particular instance, Pedro Pablo Barrientos, the guy who has been investigated and identified by Chilean prosecutors and judges as the author, through testimony, of Víctor Jara’s assassination, was living—has been living for number of years, for almost 20 years, in Florida, of all places. So— AMY GOODMAN: How did you find this out?


ALMUDENA BERNABEU: We—actually, came to the attention Chile television first, and they did a big program about both the investigation in Chile and the likelihood of this person—it was an interesting step—likelihood of this person being the Barrientos that was named in the pleadings in Chile. And after the program, the judge ordered a couple of extra, you know, steps from a criminal investigation standpoint, and they were able to identify him. And I was contacted by the prosecutors in Chile, with whom we have a relationship from prior work, to see if we could actually corroborate one more step to see if he was the person. And he is the same officer that left Chile, we believe between 1989 and 1990, and relocated in Deltona. AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe the U.S. knew? ALMUDENA BERNABEU: That he was in the United— AMY GOODMAN: Who he was? ALMUDENA BERNABEU: I’m not sure he was high enough, to be frank, from all the information that we have right now. AMY GOODMAN: Because he was granted U.S. citizenship. ALMUDENA BERNABEU: He was granted U.S. citizenship. And what I don’t—I don’t necessarily know that at the time that he was probably requesting to file his naturalization application, that the U.S. will know of his involvement. And I think that these guys specialize in lying in those applications, in my experience. So there’s no way necessarily for the U.S. to know, although I do believe that, overall, the U.S. looked somewhere else when all these people were coming from Latin America in the aftermath of their conflicts, no question, particularly military men. AMY GOODMAN: This Alien Tort Claims Act, which we have covered many times in the past, you yourself have used in other cases. Very briefly, if you could talk about the archbishop of El Salvador, Óscar Romero? ALMUDENA BERNABEU: This really was an important case, on a personal and professional level. It was filed in 2003. And also with a little bit of this twisting of fate, the—a guy who was crucial to the assassination had been identified by the truth commission, by U.S. important declassified documents and other sources, as the driver, as the sort of right-hand man of Roberto D’Aubuisson, who conceived the assassination and sort of the whole plot. And he was the guy who drove the shooter to the church, and he was living in Modesto, California, running an auto shop. And after we were able to establish that truthfully and corroborate it, we filed suit, which was a very important suit, I will say. It was the only time in the history of the crime for the conditions of El Salvador when any justice has been provided for this emblematic killing, and it was the first case— AMY GOODMAN: He was killed March 24th, 1980. ALMUDENA BERNABEU: 1980.


AMY GOODMAN: The archbishop of El Salvador, as— ALMUDENA BERNABEU: While celebrating mass, absolutely. And he was kind of marks—in the history and the imaginary of Salvadorans, marks the beginning of their 10-year civil war. It really was a declaration of war in the old-fashioned sense. It was—and against all civilians and against the pueblo that he defended so much. It was one—a provocative statement, killing the archbishop, who had been in his homilies and publicly condemning the actions of the army against the people of El Salvador. AMY GOODMAN: Joan Jara, how did you figure out that—who was responsible for the killing of Víctor, your husband? JOAN JARA: I didn’t figure it out, because the—the Chilean army would not give the information of who—of the officers who were responsible for the Chile stadium where Víctor was killed. But gradually, within the proceedings of the case, officers were named, especially by the conscript, under whose—become orders, they were, yeah. And it’s these people who were these soldiers of lesser ranks who have identified the officers who were responsible for the crimes. ALMUDENA BERNABEU: That’s a very important point. Sorry, just to—there’s been no desire or willingness on behalf of the armed forces in Chile to collaborate with the families and the victims struggling for 40 years. They have to rely, the investigators, in now testimony from these low-level soldiers, who don’t have that kind of pact of silence, and they’re providing information that is crucial for their work. AMY GOODMAN: Joan? JOAN JARA: Well, they say that they have had to have a pact of silence during many decades because they have been threatened by the armed forces, they should not speak. And there have been many who have been very scared to give their testimony until now.


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