When, in 1954, the U.S. government overthrew popularly elected progressive President Jacobo Arbenz, it initiated a horrendous reign of terror that resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 Guatemalans.
Ex-President Efrain Rios Montt, who came to power in 1982, was the first former head of state to be convicted of genocide in his own country. However, the verdict was overturned last week by the Constitutional Court after intense lobbying by Guatemala's rightist business federation.
Rios Montt, who was supported by the Reagan administration, is a prime example of our government's propping up of foreign oligarchies rather than common people. Our unofficial sponsorship of death squads and genocide may have abated, but not our doting on the wealthy, both at home and abroad.