From Sweet Waist of America: Journeys Around Guatemala, p. 142:
On the way from Antigua to Escuintla, along an unmade road of surpassing beauty, I gave a lift to a schoolteacher on her way home. For something to say, I mentioned that I had interviewed General Rios Montt.
“A terrible man,” she said shaking her head vehemently.
“Why do you say so?” I asked.
“When he was president,” she said, “he ordered all the teachers in the department of Escuintla to attend a meeting with him in a cinema in the city. There were five hundred of us.” She was almost choking with rage at the recollection of it. “Do you know what he did?”
“No,” I said.
“He told one of the teachers to put out his cigarette.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing.
“Is that any way to speak to professionals?”
“No,” I said, feigning shock.
“Then he said that the teachers were not doing their work properly. He called us lazy. Is that any way to speak to professionals?”
If they are lazy, I thought.
“No,” I said. “It isn’t.”
There was a pause in the conversation as I drove over some ruts in the road. The teacher was still raging at the recollection of the humiliation.
“But some people say,” I resumed, “that when Rios Montt came to power things got much better. They say there was less killing.”
“Oh yes,” she said. “Before Rios Montt we used to see trucks go by with bodies when we stood by the road waiting for a lift. Then, after his coup – no more.”
I looked at her as I drove. It was a dangerous thing to do but I wanted to see whether she was serious. She was, and so I concluded that the episode with the cigarette weighed more with her than the disappearance of trucks laden with bodies. It was a curious scale of values, and one that helps explain the appearance of the trucks in the first place.