In 1982 President Reagan received a worrisome report from the CIA describing Guatemalan army operations in rural Guatemala: "When an army patrol meets resistance and takes fire from a town or village, it is assumed that the entire town is hostile and it is subsequently destroyed." When the army encountered an empty village, it was "assumed to have been supporting the EGP, and it is destroyed. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of refugees in the bush with no homes to return to. …the entire Ixil Indian population is pro-EGP [so] the army can be expected to give no quarter..."
In March 1982, the situation grew even more dramatic when General Efrain Rios Montt seized power in a coup d'état. He soon began a new scorched-earth campaign and secretly gave orders to expand death squad operations. The U.S. embassy promptly heard new reports about the army massacring Indians.
In view of the alarming situation in Guatemala, on Jan. 7, 1983, Reagan lifted the ban on military aid to Guatemala and authorized the sale of $6 million in military hardware. Approval covered spare parts for UH-1H helicopters and A-37 aircraft used in counterinsurgency operations.
State Department spokesman John Hughes said political violence in the cities had "declined dramatically" and that rural conditions had improved too. The following month a secret CIA cable reported a rise in "suspect right-wing violence" with kidnappings of students and teachers. Bodies of victims were appearing in ditches and gullies.
Ronald Reagan with the genocidal Evangelical
Protestant tyrant of Guatemala Efraín Ríos Montt
Source: History of Guatemala's Death Squads, by Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com, 1/11/05
AND SUCH A CHARMING MAN, TOO!