Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt died Sunday at 91 years of age. His trial for genocide had been suspended; Ríos Montt was accused of the murder of thousands of indigenous Guatemalans during his 1982-1983 rule.
His short but fearsome regime, full of terrible massacres of indigenous people, become a symbol of the most violent era of Guatemala’s 36 years of civil war (1960-1996). People close to the former dictator confirmed his death from a heart attack at his home in Guatemala City.
While slight in stature, Ríos Montt is considered one of the bloodiest dictators of the 20th century. Under his regime, entire Mayan communities were destroyed, and various opponents faced the firing squad.
On May 20, 2013, Guatemala’s highest judicial authority annulled the 80-year prison sentence for genocide that had been handed down 10 years before.