The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2023 27 Dissent Channel June 10, 1982 Subject: US Should Condition Recognition of Presidency of Rios Montt … The USG should not and cannot recognize without comment the new presidency of General Rios Montt. To have recognized the military junta that took power on March 23 was to stretch our concept of democracy to its limits. In the instance, however, there was at least popular support for the overthrow of the corrupt Lucas regime, and power was at least divided to some degree among the junta members. Now we have neither a reflection of popular will nor anything that resembles a division of power. To try to push this country in the direction of democracy after recognizing the legitimacy of a Rios Montt presidency would be as hypocritical as suddenly recognizing the Argentine’s claim to the Falklands just to avoid further problems for ourselves. … He has no national mandate, no popular will expressed by a vote, only the tenuous support of the military. As long as the USG continues to recognize heads of state imposed on the citizens of a country by the military powers, we have not gone far from the days in which we recognized Fulgencio Batista, Anastasio Somoza or Juan Vicente Gomez. … We should withhold any immediate recognition or aid until he sets a specific date for elections and publicly declares he will step down from office at that time.