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News > Guatemala

Guatemala: Daughter of Dictator Rios Montt to Run for President

  • Zury Rios attending the funeral of his father, the dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who was being judged for genocide. April 1, 2018.

    Zury Rios attending the funeral of his father, the dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who was being judged for genocide. April 1, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 December 2018

Zury Rios started her own personal political party to promote her candidacy.

The former conservative lawmaker and daughter of the ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt, Zury Rios, will be running in the Guatemalan presidential elections in 2019 with the man who absolved his father from genocide charges as a candidate for vice-president.


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Being a lawmaker for 16 years, Rios has struggled to form a successful political party since the far-right Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG) collapsed after his father, the founder, left it. All her following political experiments have been short-lived, as they didn’t get enough votes to keep the registry, but in 2017 she announced the creation of “Valor” (Value), promising to combat abortion, malnutrition and defend private property under the slogan “Let’s Recover Guatemala.”

In her latest political venture, she will run for the presidency with Roberto Molina Barreto, a former judge from the Constitutionality Court (CC), as her vice presidential partner. During his term, the CC was harshly criticized for revoking the genocide sentence against Rios Montt shortly before his death on April 1.

“Our Guatemala of the Valor party will give value to children and youth,” said Rios during a press conference in which she also pledged the death penalty for murderers and kidnappers, to create a brand new secretary to honor and look after army veterans and to eliminate import taxes at border departments.

The party’s list of aspiring representatives include politicians close to President Jimmy Morales, such as Antonio Arenales Forno, who are also at odds with the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity, or CICIG.

Geronimo Bernal, mayor of Nebaj, also joined Valor’s but has not decided if he will run for a position next elections. As part of the ceremony on Sunday, Indigenous Ixil people linked to Bernal, including his daughter, dressed Rios and Molina with the traditional clothing, sparking controversy within other Ixil communities. The traditional Indigenous authority of Nebaj, Miguel de Leon, called Bernal’s gesture “an act of the old politics” and accused him of having “no shame.”

“Rios is a woman who always defended her father from genocide accusations against the Ixil people. Now we understand the position of the vice-president candidate, ex-judge Roberto Molina Barreta, of always voting against the genocide accusation. Everything was planned and now we see them together as they have always been,” said De Leon.

This is the second time Rios runs for the presidency after losing to Jimmy Morales on 2015. Guatemala will hold general elections on June 16, 2019.

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