One of the other things that stood out from this morning's maneuverings was Efrain Rios Montt's lawyer, Francisco Garcia Gudiel, taking it out on the foreigners in the audience. Like CACIF's advertisement today, he said that there was no talk of genocide and crimes against humanity during the decade-long peace process.
The idea of genocide in Guatemala only came about because of a ten-year campaign by foreigners (NGOs and Europeans took the brunt of the damage) to convince the courts that genocide had occurred. They were the ones who paid for the trial to move forward. Don't get him wrong - he also blamed the guerrillas in the public prosecutor's office who want revenge, not justice.
There are several interesting angles, some more interesting than others, here. I think most of the foreigners in today's audience got a kick out of his description of them staying in five star hotels and flying first class. While there were some well-dressed extranjeros, I'd say that most were of the sandal wearing variety. I'm still not really sure what to think of the journalist/photographer with the North Korea t-shirt.
Francisco Garcia Gudiel also took it to criticize foreign "specialists" who had never visited the sites where the atrocities were alleged to have occurred. I'm sure that some of the individuals who have fought to hold the generals accountable have never visited a massacre site. I never have. But many of the specialists have done significant work exhuming mass graves and collecting testimony from survivors. As I've mentioned before, we know much more about the repression in Guatemala because of the tireless work of international academics and specialists who uncovered what the Guatemalan military did not want the world to see.
In blaming the foreigners for pushing for a trial, one does see a bit of racism at work as well. It does not appear that the defense believes Maya-Ixil capable of understanding, on their own, what was done to them. You cannot expect them to understand what they are accusing the government of and it is impossible to believe that they would have been able to do all this legal work without the terrible influence of those Europeans. They are just not smart enough.
Finally, in a way, Garcia Gudiel is right. There were numerous foreigners who were influential in bringing this case to trial. They worked in D.C., New York, Spain and elsewhere - academics, human rights advocates, lawyers, and other specialists. The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala was critical for opening space for Guatemalan lawyers to pursue the charges.
However, Garcia Gudiel and the defense team should not be surprised with the international cooperation. His former client, since he was dismissed from the case, is charged not only with genocide but with crimes against humanity. They are characterized as crimes against humanity for a reason.