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Sanctity of Marriage, indeed
November 20, 2004 10:29 PM   Subscribe

Republican Congressman Jerry Weller of Illinois just got married-- to Zury Rios Sosa, a current member of congress in Guatemala. "The U.S. Congressional Historian in the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives confirmed this would be the first ever inter-parliamentary marriage between a sitting U.S. Representative and someone currently serving in national legislative body abroad. "

What Rep. Weller's own site omits is that his new wife is the daughter of former Guatemalan dictator Efraim Rios Montt, friend of Ronald Reagan, born-again Christian, and, according to many, genocidal thug.

The unholy union was reported in the local press, but one reporter who had been following the congressman's connections turned up brutally beaten outside his apartment under mysterious circumstances.
posted by gimonca (24 comments total)

 
Oh, and among Congressman Weller's committee assignments, he sits on the House International Relations Committee. And more specifically, on the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere...including Guatemala.
posted by gimonca at 10:30 PM on November 20, 2004


( Insert sleeping with the enemy joke here )
posted by Balisong at 10:46 PM on November 20, 2004


Well I guess its time to start the Hunta operations in the US, Anyone wanna bet on when the "Mystery disappearances and Mythical Death Squads" start in the US? Or have they started already?
posted by Elim at 11:01 PM on November 20, 2004


Do we really have to visit upon the daughter the sins of the father?

This reporter who was attacked was also passed information about possible al-Qaeda operations, was putting together a story on the father, and also the marriage. Just because he was attacked doesn't mean it was at the Congressman or his new wife's request.
posted by sbutler at 12:27 AM on November 21, 2004


Do we really have to visit upon the daughter the sins of the father?

From googling her, it seems like she is a member of her father's party and is characterized as his political ally and strategist. If she chooses to associate herself uncritically with his politics, then I don't see what's so unfair about coloring her with the same brush as her father.

Guatamala has a long history of treating its Mayan population like crap, and Rios Montt is a poster boy for that history. I doubt either he or his daughter think he was doing anything wrong. As shown in his "scorched communist" quote from the "thug" link, he just saw the Mayans as communists who deserved to die. (I remembered his name when I saw this post as one of the worse of a long line of right-wing thugs that I studied in a Latin American history class.)

The reporter link is rather sketchy on details, but even if you ignore the reporter story, Rios Montt is a bad, bad man, and I wouldn't trust anyone who is affiliated with him or his politics.
posted by Planter at 2:49 AM on November 21, 2004


None of the eleven links provided answered the immediate question that came to my mind....

Is she hot?
posted by flarbuse at 2:58 AM on November 21, 2004


None of the eleven links provided answered the immediate question that came to my mind....

Is she hot?


http://www.zuryrios.com/
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:09 AM on November 21, 2004


If she chooses to associate herself uncritically with his politics, then I don't see what's so unfair about coloring her with the same brush as her father.

You're right. She should be more careful about who she associates with....
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:13 AM on November 21, 2004


:-0 Nice one, NotMyselfRightNow.

We don't get to choose our parents, and for most of us there's that little thing called familial loyalty that makes it hard to look upon the deeds of close relatives with a detached, objective eye. I don't see that it makes any sense whatsoever to tar Ms. Sosa or her husband with the sins of her father; if she must be condemned, let it be for what she herself has said and done.
posted by Goedel at 4:25 AM on November 21, 2004


the Latin Americans' traditional unwillingness to cherish Washington's (and Langley's) Messianic role in our time never fails to surprise. the US did a lot of good to her Southern neighbors, after all. a lot of good.
ah, those ungrateful Spanish-speaking people.
posted by matteo at 5:48 AM on November 21, 2004


flarbuse, derailing and profoundly stupid comments like that are exactly why so many see this place as a boyzone.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2004


Just because he was attacked doesn't mean it was at the Congressman or his new wife's request.

True...that bit is very intriguing, but circumstantial.
posted by gimonca at 7:01 AM on November 21, 2004


From one of the links:

In the film, there is a scene in the Guatemalan parliament, in which Bauer tries to discuss Ríos Montt's ties to the genocide. However, he was not recognized. Ríos Montt was then the president of the chamber and his daughter was also present and presiding over the session.

The daughter is currently in the Guatemalan Congress blocking attempts to have her father investigated. That doesn't make her equally a murderer. It does make her, well, unsavory.

Weller's subcommittee assignment means that he's currently sitting on the U.S. House subcommittee that oversees, among other things, human rights issues in Latin America.
posted by gimonca at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2004


Considering that Zury Rios Sosa is a) a member of her father's political party, and b) worked to get him elected in 2003 I think its fair to suspect that she isn't a very nice person at all. According to one report her father was touring through an area where his genocidal policies had killed scores of people. Villagers took umbrage at this and threw rocks at his car. "What happened is a violation of human rights," said Ms. Sosa, but she was talking about the villagers throwing rocks, not the genocide.

Many prominent Republicans [1] have never really seen anything wrong with supporting genocidal dictators, as long as they were anti-Communist genocidal dictators. Wittiness General Pinochet, Reagan's revolting comparison of the Contras to the US Founding Fathers, etc. Genocide, torture, dictatorship, and general thuggery in the name of anti-Communism is often seen as being a good thing. Obviously Jerry Weller doesn't think that supporting a genocidal dictator is a bad thing, or else he wouldn't be marrying someone who supports a genocidal dictator.

Certainly Ms. Sosa is not guilty of the crimes of her father, but she is guilty of supporting her father, working to put him into power, and a failure to denounce those crimes. I can only assume that this means that neither she, nor her husband, believe that it was wrong for her father to order the murder of at least 1,200 people.

[1] And, I should point out, several prominent Democrats belong in the same boat. Certainly President Clinton didn't shut down the so-called "School of the Americas"
posted by sotonohito at 7:24 AM on November 21, 2004


And geez, what kind of social circles are you hanging out in where you can hook up with the daughter of a mass murderer? Don't most congresspeople meet their mate at a Rotary Club function or something? Did he go to the Junta Retirees Bowling League that weekend? "So...your dad killed tens of thousands of people.....me, I'm an Aquarius!"
posted by gimonca at 7:29 AM on November 21, 2004


Yes, providing a two-line joke that leads to a further posting of more information about the subject matter is something that I shall be regretting for years to come now.

If you could only tell me which fork is for the the salad and which one is for the dessert, then I shall be eternally grateful.
posted by flarbuse at 7:56 AM on November 21, 2004




Verb: Not always. The fork 'above' the setting is for dessert, the two to the left are for your salad/appetizer and entree, respectfully. Remember, when it comes to silverware, start on the outside and work your way up; when they are all gone, move to the ones on top.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:09 AM on November 21, 2004


OMG WTF
posted by I EAT TAPES at 9:35 AM on November 21, 2004


I AM NICE TO TAPES
posted by euphorb at 12:01 PM on November 21, 2004


Yes, providing a two-line joke that leads to a further posting of more information about the subject matter is something that I shall be regretting for years to come now.

A, was "a further posting of information" honestly your intent? If so, why not merely post that information?

B, whatever the outcome, assholery like yours can't be justified. It's not clever, it's not interesting, it's just a yawn from stem to stern.

I'm sorry if you feel singled out or dumped on, but I am really, really sick of this sort of stupidity.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:39 PM on November 21, 2004


Just a note on spanish usage, Zury Rios Sosa's last name is Rios (like her father), Sosa is her mother's family name (like Montt is her paternal grandmother's name).
[OT] I think it's cool that spanish recognizes maternal ancestry as well[/OT]
posted by Octaviuz at 3:56 PM on November 21, 2004


I wouldn't want to visit the sins of the father upon the daughter, if she doesn't deserve it. Megawati Sukarnoputri was a reasonable leader of Indonesia, in theory an improvement on the generals who preceded and succeeded her.

But Rios Montt is hardly in Guatemala's past at this point. In 1985 the new consitution barred coup leaders from the presidency, but Rios Montt entered the legislature and has recently served as that body's president. He's tried to run before and had his papers thrown out by the courts, but after getting a more favorable make-up of the Constitutional Court he was able to secure a 4-3 decision allowing him to run. The line of argument put forth by Rios Montt was that the language of the 1985 constitution failed to explicitly make the coup-leader ban retroactive. Meanwhile, attempts to indict him on charges of genocide have so far failed, with activists entering bids in Guatemala and Spain which have been rejected. Nevertheless, his fortunes turned, with the US announcing they'd prefer someone without his baggage, and in July 2003 the Supreme Court suspended his candidacy at the behest of two right-of-center parties, scheduling hearings on the constitutional question, and opening Rios Montt once more to human rights charges:

> Ríos Montt denounced the ruling as judicial manipulation and, in a radio address, encouraged his followers to take to the streets to protest the decision. Within an hour of his speech, thousands of the general's backers had flooded Guatemala City, blocking traffic, chanting threatening slogans and waving machetes. Hooded men ransacked buildings, fired machine guns, smashed windows, and set fire to cars and tires....

followers of Ríos Montt, stirred into action by his right-wing Republican Front Party (FRG), charged into the streets of Guatemala City armed with machetes, clubs and guns. Led by FRG militants, the crowds, including many members of the Guatemalan army, marched on the nation's courts, opposition parties and newspapers, torching buildings, shooting out windows and bullying the opposition....

The situation became so chaotic over the weekend of July 26 that both the UN mission and the US embassy were closed.


Despite such posturing, or perhaps because of it, Rios Montt placed third in the presidential elections held a year ago, winning just 11% of the vote. The winner after a run-off represented an alliance of conservative parties, which does not include the FRG. Nevertheless they have 41 seats in the legislature and Zury Rios is a top official (if I understand correctly, she represents no specific district but is on a national list; seats are allotted roughly by percentage of the vote, as in many parliaments). They probably expect to run her for President someday. I guarantee you she isn't marrying him to set up house in Morris (although an issue in Weller's election was whether he actually lived in Chicago, you bet she's going to be a Washington socialite from day one). And this will likely help Weller; his district has some heavily Hispanic areas such as Joliet.
posted by dhartung at 8:26 PM on November 21, 2004


dhartung - James Waller's "Becoming Evil" has some stomach churning testimony from Guatemala of the Rios Montt period, early 80's.

Not stuff to read before bedtime.
posted by troutfishing at 9:08 PM on November 21, 2004


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