Ríos Montt’s Daughter’s Engagement Politicized

July 16, 2004

GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) – Themarriage announcement of U.S. congressmanJerry Weller (R-Illinois) andGuatemalan congresswoman Zury RíosMontt, daughter of controversial formerdictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, hasbecome a hot political issue in Illinois,where the five-term Representative seeksreelection this November.Last week’s announcement of the twolawmakers’ engagement has become politicalfodder for Weller’s Democratic challengerTari Renner.“Congressman Jerry Weller is demonstratingquestionable judgment by aligningwith the family of one of the most horrendousdictators of the 20th century,” saidMatt Glavin, Renner’s campaign chief.“While the Department of State has distanceditself from Ríos Montt, Weller hascourted the daughter of the ex-dictator.”Efraín Ríos Montt, 77, was dictatorfrom 1982-1983, during which time hisgovernment employed “scorched earth”tactics that claimed the lives of tens ofthousands of mostly Maya Guatemalans.The former leader, who has been accusedof genocide in Spain, is currently facingcharges in Guatemala for inciting a violentriot during a reelection rally in July2003.The wedding between Weller and ZuryRíos Montt, which U.S. congressional historiansclaim would be the first-ever weddingbetween a U.S. congressman with anactive foreign lawmaker, is scheduled forNovember.

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