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Home Facts Graduates Notorious Grads Notorious Graduates from Guatemala
Notorious Graduates from Guatemala PDF Print E-mail

For a summary of the most notorious graduates from Guatemala click here

Guatemala

Name: General Efrain Rios Montt 
Country: Guatemala
Dates/courses: Attended the SOA in 1950
Info: Former dictator of Guatemala who seized power in a coup in 1982.  Two Truth Commissions documented widespread human rights abuses by his regime including rape, torture, executions and acts of genocide against the populace, including indigenous population through a scorched earth campaign.  Conservative estimates cite 200,000 Guatemalans being killed.  His regime was supported by U.S. aid and President Ronald Reagan declared during a meeting with Ríos Montt on December 4, 1982: "President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. ... I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.”

Name: Colonel Byron Disrael Lima Estrada 
Country: Guatemala
Dates/courses: Attended the SOA in the 1960’s*
Info: Arrested in January 2000 for involvement in the death of Guatemalan
Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi in 1998 as part of continuing concerns about SOA graduates undermining peace and justice throughout Latin America.  Bishop Gerardi was murdered in April 1998 just two days after he released a report accusing the Guatemalan military for most of the human rights abuses committed during the country’s civil conflict.

*(Does not appear in the SOA Grads Database, but appears in other sources) 

Name: Pedro Pimentel Ríos
Country: Guatemala
Dates/courses
Info: Following on the heels of an earlier conviction in the case of the 1982 Dos Erres massacre, SOA-trained Pedro Pimentel Ríos was sentenced to 6,060 years for his role in the killings of 201 people. After his participation in the massacre, Ríos left to become an instructor at the School of the Americas.*

*(Does not appear in the SOA Grads Database, but appears in other sources) 

Name: Otto Perez Molina
Country: Guatemala
Dates/courses:
Info: 1985, Command and General Staff College (Commandant's List) Assassination, 1994: Chief of the G-2 (military intelligence) and on the payroll of the CIA, Perez Molina was in charge in 1994, when the General Staff was implicated in the assassination of Judge Edgar Ramiro Elias Ogaldez. (Allan Nairn, The Nation, 4/17/95)

The SOA played a key role in the three brutal military dictatorships that ruled Guatemala from 1978 to 1986. SOA graduates comprised four of eight military officials in the cabinet of Lucas Garcia , six out of nine under Rios Montt, and five out of ten under Mejia Victores.


Furthermore, three top leaders and many officials of the fearsome
Guatemalan intelligence agency D-2 (also known as G-2) were SOA
graduates. In a chapter titled “D-2: The Very name of Fear,” the
Guatemala Nunca Mas Report states that Guatemalan military intelligence
played “a central role in the conduct of military operations, in
massacres, extra-judicial executions, forced disappearances and torture”
(Vol. 2, p.65) SOA graduates featured in the report include three D-2
directors, Francisco Ortega Menaldo, Cesar Augusto Cabrera Mejia, Manuel
Callejas y Callejas, and others in leadership posts, including Federico
Sobalvarro Meza, Cesar Quinteros Alvarado, Luis Felipe Caballeros Meza,
Harry Ponce, Francisco Edgar Dominguez Lopez, Eduardo Ochoa Barrios,
Domingo Velasquez Axpuac and Jose Manuel Rivas Rios. (Guatemala Nunca
Mas)

GEN Hector Mario Lopez Fuentes, 1952, Cadete, Infantry Weapons,
Engineering, Accused of  genocide of more than
300 indigenous Maya civilians from the Ixil region
in 1982 and 1983.

COL Baltazar Aldana Morales, 1960, Armas de Infanteria
Illegal detention and torture, 1991: A group of 32 Mayan peasants
charged that Aldana Morales and other military officers tortured three
men before killing one of them and then killed eight more people. Their
objective was to force them and hundreds of others off land they had
been occupying for centuries in order to construct a clandestine
airstrip for drug-running. Human rights ombudsman Ramiro de Leon Carpio
declared the charges of illegal detention and torture proven. (Voice,
8/2/94)


COL Julio Roberto Alp?rez, 1989, Command and General Staff College;1970,
Combat Arms and Support Services
Torture, extrajudicial execution, 1992: A paid agent of the CIA, Alp?rez
supervised the prolonged torture of Efrain B?maca Vel?squez, husband of
U.S. lawyer Jennifer Harbury, and his execution.
Assassination, 1990: Six months after graduating from the SOA's most
prestigious course, while still on the CIA payroll, Alp?rez ordered the
murder of U.S. citizen Michael Devine. (The New York Times, 3/23/96)

GEN Julio Arnoldo Balconi Turcios, 1983, Command and General Staff
College
Disavows basic human rights principle, 1993: In an interview with
Americas Watch in October 1993,
Balconi defended the actions of one of Guatemala's infamous civil
patrols. which had nearly killed a
guerrilla after capturing him. In defiance of the Geneva convention,
Balconi stated that guerrilla
prisoners "lost" their rights simply by being guerrillas. (Americas
Watch Report: Human Rights in Guatemala During President De Leon
Carpio’s First Year, 1994)

COL Edgar Ricardo Bustamonte Figueroa, 1973, C-2
Death Squad: According to information provided to Jennifer Harbury by
Guatemalan witnesses, Bustamonte Figueroa was a member of the Jaguar
Justiciero Death Squad. (Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA)

GEN Guillermo Caal Davila, 1952, Cadet Orientation
Cover-up of officer accused of human rights abuses, 1996: In an
interview with Prensa Libre, Caal Davila, claimed that Col. Carias
Lopez, accused of ordering the Dos Erres massacre in the Peten, did not
even exist. However, later that year the army admitted that Carias
Lopez was in active service. (CERIGUA)

GEN Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas, 1988, SOA Hall of Fame;1970,
Command and General Staff College
Assassinations: Under brutal dictator Lucas Garcia in the early
eighties, Callejas was a senior
intelligence officer in charge of choosing targets of assassination.
Under Cerezo, was Armed Forces
Chief of Staff, with H?ctor Gramajo as Defense Minister. (Guatemala
Nunca Mas)

COL Juan Chajon Perez, 1971, Auto Maintenance for Officers
Corruption, 1996: Removed from his post in a 1996 purge by the Arzu
government. It is widely
believed that this purge was designed to remove corrupt officers
involved in drug- and illegal wood-
trafficking. The purge occurred shortly before “The Role of the
Military in Civilian Society” was
discussed as part of the peace negotiations. (CERIGUA)

COL Hugo Rolando de la Cruz Mendez, 1973, 0-26
Harboring Car Thieves: Suspended from duty in February 1996 for
harboring fugitive car thieves in his Guatemala City home. (CERIGUA)

COL Morris Eugenio De Leon Gil, 1988-90, Guest Instructor; 1988, Command
and General Staff College; 1970, Combat Arms/Support Services
Publicly denounced humanitarian, 1994: When Rosalina Tuyuc received a
French Legion of Honor
Award in 1994 for her humanitarian work in Guatemala, De Leon publicly
denounced her and members
of her family, which in Guatemala is often tantamount to a death threat.

COL Rolando Diaz Barrios, 1973, C-2
Corruption: Diaz was removed from office in a 1996 purge of top
military officers believed to have ties
to smuggling lord Alfredo Moreno. (Washington Office on Latin America)

Marco Tulio Espinoza, 1967, Cadet Orientation
Mincho Case, 1996: In a 1996 case that nearly derailed the Peace
Process, Espinoza was alleged to be
responsible for the disappearance of Juan Jose Rodas (alias Mincho).
(Guatemala Nunca Mas)

Jose Luis Fernandez Ligorria, 1989, Comando y Estado Mayor
Corruption: Accused of illegal negotiations involving drugs and timber.
(CERIGUA)
Weapons Sales to Paramilitary Groups in Mexico: Under investigation for
selling weapons to
paramilitary groups and drug dealers in Mexico. (Cr?nica de Hoy, 1/3/98)

COL Alfredo Garcia Gomez, 1960, Tacticas de Infanteria; 1960, Armas de
Infanteria; 1975 Command and General Staff
Illegal detention and torture, 1991: A group of 32 Mayan peasants
charged that Garcia Gomez and other military officers tortured three men
before killing one of them and then killed eight more people. Their
objective was to force them and hundreds of others off land they had
been occupying for centuries in order to construct a clandestine
airstrip for drug-running. Human rights ombudsman Ramiro de Leon Carpio
declared the charges of illegal detention and torture proven. (Voice,
8/2/94)

GEN Cesar Augusto Garcia Gonzalez,1971, Engineering for Officers;1973,
C-4;1975, Advanced Engineering for Officers
Corruption: On September 18, 1996, Garcia Gonzalez was removed from his
post following charges of falsifying documents, charging illegal fees
for work done by army engineers and sabotaging the army warehouse where
the Bamaca case files were stored. (CERIGUA)

GEN Jos? Domingo Garc?a Samayoa, 1975, Infantry Officer Advanced Course
Attempted coup, 1993: One of three top Guatemalan officers (all SOA
graduates) who supported former
President Serrano's auto-coup attempt. (Washington Office on Latin
America, 9/29/93)

GEN Edgar Godoy Gait?n, 1987, Command and General Staff College; 1975,
Military Intelligence Course
Assassination, 1991: Strongly implicated in the assassination of
Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna
Mack. Godoy Gait?n, a former chief of Guatemalan military intelligence,
was once on the CIA payroll.
(Allan Nairn, The Nation 4/17/95; Americas Watch Report: Human Rights in
Guatemala during President de Leon Carpio’s First year, 1994)

COL Francisco Luis Gordillo Mart?nez, 1974, Command and General Staff
College; 1961, Infantry; Weapons; 1961, Infantry Tactics
Violent coup, 1982: Gordillo aided General Efrain Rios Montt in the
violent overthrow of the
Guatemalan government in 1982, an event which initiated a period of
immense brutality on the part of
the military toward the poor and indigenous peoples of the Guatemalan
countryside. (The New York Times, 5/28/95)

GEN H?ctor Gramajo, 1991, Guest Speaker
Genocide, 1980-1991: Architect of genocidal policies which essentially
legalized military atrocity in Guatemala throughout the eighties. (Z
Magazine, July/August 1991) Found guilty by default of numerous war
crimes in a U.S. Court six weeks before speaking at a prestigious SOA
graduation. (The Bayonet, 1/3/92) Former SOA Commandant Jos? Feliciano
claimed Gramajo inspired many SOA policies. (The Benning Patriot
2/21/92)

LTC Mario Roberto Grajeda, 1990-1992, Instructor
Threatening ex-comabants, 1997: In 1997 , URNG combatants who had
demobilized after the signing of the peace accord began receiving death
threats from the 22nd Military Zone. Various human rights groups
reported this incident to the justice of the peace, holding Grajeda, who
was commander of the Military Zone, and another colonel
responsible.(Comision de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala)

Luis A. Issacs Rodriguez, 1977, Advanced Infantry Officer; 1986,
Instructor
Failure to investigate human rights abuse: Rodriguez stated that the
disappearances of four CERJ activists would not be investigated since
the army is innocent because army officials are trained to respect the
law. (Americas Watch Report: Messengers of Death: Human Rights in
Guatemala, 1988-1990)
Illegal detention and torture, 1991: A group of 32 Mayan peasants
charged that Issacs Rodriguez and other military officers tortured three
men before killing one of them and then killed eight more people. Their
objective was to force them and hundreds of others off land they had
been occupying for centuries in order to construct a clandestine
airstrip for drug-running. Human rights ombudsman Ramiro de Leon Carpio
declared the charges of illegal detention and torture proven. (Voice,
8/2/94)

COL Rodrigo Leal Cruz, 1967, Cadet Orientation
Corruption, 1996: Removed from his post in a 1996 purge by the Arzu
government. It is widely
believed that this purge was designed to remove corrupt officers
involved in drug- and wood-trafficking.
The purge occurred shortly before “The Role of the Military in Civilian
Society” was discussed as part of
the peace negotiations. (CERIGUA)

GEN Roberto Letona Hora, 1969, C-3
Links to smuggling, 1996: On November 5, 1996, the defense minister of
Guatemala ordered an
investigation of Letona Hora, who was then military attach? to
Washington, for his connections to
Alfredo Moreno Molina, head of a smuggling empire. The investigation
followed a report in Prensa
Libre that Letona Hora had helped to create the military infrastructure
for Moreno’s empire to operate.
The report was based on information provided by a member of the
Guatemalan intelligence agency.
(CERIGUA)

COL Mario Salvador L?pez Serrano,1969, C-3; 1974, Basic Combat,
Counterinsurgency
Drug-trafficking and car theft: When Lopez Serrano was accused of drug
trafficking and car theft in 1996, the U.S. D.E.A. searched his home and
found a suitcase with white powder residue as well as drug-related lab
equipment. Two undocumented vehicles were also found on his property.
(CERIGUA)

GEN Manuel Benedicto Lucas Garcia, 1970, Command and General Staff
College; 1965, Combat Intelligence Course
Creator of Civil Defense Patrols (PACs): According to the Archdiocese
Guatemala Nunca Mas Report Lucas Garcia masterminded the creation of the
Civil Defense Patrols (PACs) which were responsible for some of the most
atrocious human rights abuses during the 1980’s. He is the brother of
brutal dictator Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia. (Guatemala Nunca Mas)

COL Mario A M?rida Gonz?lez, 1985, Combat Arms Advanced Course; 1970,
Combat Arms and Services Course
Pattern of brutality, 1994: On January 1, 1995, Guatemalan president De
Leon Carpio reassigned
M?rida, then Vice-Minister of Governance, following several high profile
cases of police brutality and
impunity, including the murder of a 22-year-old college student and the
death of Belgian priest Alfonso
Stessel. (CERIGUA)

COL Luis Felippe MirandaTrejo, 1985, Command and General Staff College
"Escape" of CPT Hugo Roberto Contreras, 1993: In May 1993, only hours
after being convicted of
murdering U.S. citizen Michael Devine, Contreras escaped from a military
prison under the command of
Colonel Miranda, who was subsequently promoted to general. (Human Rights
Watch World Report 1994)

Raul Molina Bedoya, 1960, Armas de Infanteria; 1960, Tactica de
Infanteria
Cover-up: As Vice-Minister of Defense, Molina was involved in the
cover-up of army involvement in
the 1989 kidnapping of PSD activist Eulalio Ambrosio. (Americas Watch
Report: Messengers of Death: Human Rights in Guatemala 1988-1990)

COL Hector Ismael Montalvan Batres, 1960, Armas de Infanteria; 1960,
Tactica de Infanteria
Assassination: Montalvan is believed to have ordered the assassination
of presidential candidates
Manuel Colom Argueta and Alberto Fuentes Mohr. (Americas Watch Report:
Closing the Space: Human Rights in Guatemala,1987-1988)

LTC Carlos Ochoa Ruiz, 1969, C-3
Drug-trafficking: Sought by the U.S. government in 1991 to face six
drug-related charges, including the shipment of up to half a metric ton
of cocaine to Tampa, Florida. The extradition was approved by Judge
Epaminondas Gonzalez Dubon, who was assassinated a week later. Shortly
thereafter, another judge reversed the decision on extradition (Source:
La Nacion, 11/18/97; The Wall Street Journal 3/10/95)

MAJ Juan Guillermo Oliva, 1991, Command and General Staff College
Assassination. 1991: Implicated in the 1991 assassination of Guatemalan
anthropologist Myrna Mack.
(Americas Watch Report: Human Rights in Guatemala During President De
Leon Carpio’s First Year, 1994)

GEN Luis Francisco Ortega Menaldo, 1973, Military Intelligence Course
Attempted coup, 1993: One of three top Guatemalan officers (all SOA
graduates) regarded as the most
critical and prominent supporters of Serrano's May 25, 1993 auto-coup.
(Washington Office on Latin America, 9/29/93) Was head of G-2 (military
intelligence) and on the CIA payroll in the late 1980's during a series
of assassinations of students, peasants, and human rights activists.
Currently works in Washington as general staff director at the
Inter-American Defense Board. (Allan Nairn, The Nation, 4/17/95)
Myrna Mack murder, 1990: In 1999, the US State Department released a
summary of information culled from diplomatic cables and CIA reports,
which stated that Ortega Menaldo “may have been involved” in the 1990
murder of anthropologist Myrna Mack. At the time, Ortega Menaldo was
chief of intelligence for the Guatemalan army’s general staff. (Miami
Herald, 1/26/99)

COL Otto Perez Molina, 1985, Command and General Staff College
(Commandant's List)
Assassination, 1994: Chief of the G-2 (military intelligence) and on the
payroll of the CIA, Perez Molina
was in charge in 1994, when the General Staff was implicated in the
assassination of Judge Edgar Ramiro
El?as Ogaldez. (Allan Nairn, The Nation, 4/17/95)

GEN Jorge Roberto Perussina Rivera, 1974, Command and General Staff
College; 1973, Tactical Officer, Cadet Course
Attempted coup, 1993: One of three top Guatemalan officers (all SOA
graduates) regarded as the most
critical and prominent supporters of Serrano's May 25, 1993 auto-coup.
(Washington Office on Latin America 9/29/93)

COL Haroldo Ruano del Cid, 1970, Armas de Combate y Servicios de Apoyo;
1986, Operaciones Sicologicas
Bamaca case: Commanded the special forces that forced Efrain Bamaca,
while he was a prisoner, to guide army patrols in their search for
guerilla arms caches. (Guatemala Nunca Mas)

COL Jacobo Salen Sanchez, 1992, Comando y Estado Mayor; 1974, Combat and
Support Services
Corruption: Salen was removed from office in 1996 in a purge of
high-ranking military officials believed to be linked to smuggling lord
Alfredo Moreno. (Washington Office on Latin America)

Ismael Segura Abularcach, 1976, Infantry Officer Advanced
Bamaca case: Commanded the special forces that forced Efrain Bamaca,
while he was a prisoner, to guide army patrols in their search for
guerilla arms caches. (Guatemala Nunca Mas)

MAJ Mario Sosa Orellana, 1990, Officer Administration Course
Torture, extrajudicial execution, 1992: Implicated in the torture and
extrajudicial execution of Efrain B?maca Vel?squez, husband of Jennifer
Harbury. (National Catholic Reporter, 6/2/95) A former soldier also
accuses Sosa Orellana of ordering the execution of a Guatemalan army
soldier so that B?maca's grave could be faked.

LTC Julio Alberto Soto Bilbao, 1991, Command and General Staff College;
1990, Training Management Officer Course; 1974, Basic
Combat/Counterinsurgency Course
Torture, extrajudicial execution, 1992: Implicated by former prisoner
Santiago Cabrera Lopez in the
Efrain B?maca Vel?squez case. Cabrera Lopez was the last friend to see
B?maca alive - but transfigured
by torture - in a prison camp run by Julio Roberto Alp?rez (above).

 

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