Guatemala: Former Military Leader Stands Trial for Genocide

Guatemala: Former Military Leader Stands Trial for Genocide
Image copyright: Robert Nickelsberg/Contributor/Archive Photos via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Manuel Benedicto Lucas García, who served as head of Guatemala's army for seven months in the early 1980s, was set to stand trial Friday on charges of genocide.

  • This comes as a national court for high-risk crimes adjourned the first hearing against the former general last week to allow a public defender to get familiar with the case after two lawyers of Lucas García resigned.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Given that the evidence against Lucas García is overwhelming, he should be found guilty. However, because Guatemala's judicial system is well-known for its tendency to favor foreign interests rather than those of its citizens, a negative outcome would be no surprise. It's important to remember that the Reagan administration actively backed this genocidal regime.

Pro-establishment narrative

When courts in Guatemala target former leaders, be it Benedicto Lucas García or the late dictator Ríos Montt, on genocide charges, it's their political beliefs that are in the spotlight rather than their real crimes — otherwise, war criminal insurgents should also face charges. That's easier to understand when only America is unfairly blamed for third-party crimes.

Metaculus Prediction

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