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News > Guatemala

Guatemalans Reject Candidacy of Former Dictator's Daughter

  • Victims of military violence demand justice in Guatemala, 2022.

    Victims of military violence demand justice in Guatemala, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @ajplus

Published 15 June 2023

"Zury Rios-Sosa's candidacy offends the conscience, dignity, and memory not only of the victims but also of those of us who are still seeking justice," human rights defenders stressed.

On Wednesday, relatives of Ixil Indigenous people murdered during the Guatemalan civil war rejected the presidential candidacy of Zury Rios-Sosa, who is the daughter of the late military dictator Jose Efrain Rios-Montt.


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The Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), which was part of the criminal process against Rios-Montt, issued a public statement recalling the State terrorism that Guatemala suffered between 1960 and 1996.

"Zury Rios-Sosa's participation as a presidential candidate offends the conscience, dignity and memory not only of the victims but also of those of us who are still seeking justice for the massacres, forced disappearances, torture, genocide, and rape."

The victims' representatives condemned that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the Supreme Justice Court, and the Constitutional Court have endorsed her participation.

While that was happening, those institutions prevented the registration of candidacies of progressive politicians who threatened to take away votes from Rios-Sosa.

The dictator's daughter will seek the presidency in the June 25 elections. Her participation, however, violates the Constitution that expressly prohibits former dictators and their relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity from running as presidential candidates.

Human rights defenders and progressive lawyers also warn that her eventual arrival at the Guatemalan presidency would jeopardize judicial processes related to crimes against humanity committed against civilians during the civil war.

In 2013, a court found Rios-Montt guilty of the deaths of 1,771 Ixiles and sentenced him to 80 years in prison. The former general was detained for a weekend and days later the Constitutional Court reversed the sentence, alleging failures in the process.

According to the latest polls, Rios-Sosa is among the top four places for voting intentions, since the Guatemalan authorities have eliminated many of her potential competitors.

Her candidacy is supported by the Valor-Unionista coalition, a far-right organization that rejects the convictions of ex-military personnel for crimes against humanity.

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