The Wonderful Reagan Years!

The Reactionary MindOn December 5, 1982, Ronald Reagan met Guatemalan president Efraín Ríos Montt in Honduras. It was a useful meeting for Reagan. “Well, I learned a lot,” he told reporters on Air Force One. “You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries.” It was also a useful meeting for Ríos Montt. Reagan declared him “a man of great personal integrity… totally dedicate to democracy.” He also claimed that the Guatemalan strongman was getting “a bum rap” from human rights organizations for his military’s campaign against leftist guerrillas. The next day, Daniel Wilkinson tells us in Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala, one of Guatemala’s elite platoons entered a jungle village called Las Dos Erres and killed 162 of its inhabitants, 67 of them children. Soldiers “grabbed” babies and toddlers by their legs, swung them in the air, and “smashed” their heads “against a wall.” Older children and adults were forced to “kneel at the edge of a well,” where a single “blow from a sledge hammer” sent them plummeting below. The platoon then raped a selection of women and girls it had “saved for last,” pummeling their stomachs in order to force the pregnant among them to miscarry. They tossed the women into the well and filled it with dirt, burying an unlucky few alive. “The only human remains that [later] visitors would find” were “blood on the walls and placentas and umbilical cords on the ground.”

—Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind
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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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