I think it’s the emergency police of the Army. Then, he was tortured cruelly for three days and they said they didn’t find any wrong doing with him. Then, they send him to the General Quarters for his death. We were negotiating, but at the last minute they said that it wasn’t their choice but they couldn’t let go anyone that was intelligent, otherwise, they may spread the word of what has happened. Then, on July 5, 1985 another son was captured. He is a lawyer. His “fault” was that he worked at a coop as the manager. And since they talk about Peasant Unions in that that group, they consider that everyone that works there is a communist, guerrilla, terrorist. This is what we have suffered…
Translator: And someone from the Army came to tell that they killed your son or how?
Carlos’s father: Nothing, we didn’t hear anything from the Army. We tried for a year, and then we learned that Carlos had been at the Army Quarters in Chimaltenengo. That’s how we knew he was dead. (We learned this from) Only through other people who do business with the Army. They disappeared. Were they killed in Chimaltenango? Or are they alive? We still have hope that they may return one day or they are dead already, we don’t know it.
Translator: He said that there is a person, Marco is his name, from him they had the information that Carlos was alive. But to negotiate they went to the Army and to other groups and finally they said that it’s really bad for the Army if they let him go because…. So then, they moved him to Chimaltenango and from there, they don’t know. They didn’t tell Marco if he’s alive or he’s dead, or what.
So they never found his body?
Carlos’s father: For 2 years we went to the morgue in Guatemala. There were many corpses there, tortured, but we couldn’t find them. And at the end, I don’t know whether the man was telling the truth. I trusted him, he’s an evangelical called Miguel Gomez. We did business and he said, “I will go there and get some information if your two sons’ names appear there”. He went to look in the book where the Army records the names of the dead and he said he didn’t find the names of my sons. We gave him 3,000 quetzales. That’s the only information he gave us.
When I was in (name of town) they said that the Army made the people go patrolling and it was on February 4, 1982 and it ended on October 20, 1988. And when I went there, around 9 p.m. that people got together to talk, the mayor, Osorio and the Ramey went to…. And they killed him, they burned him with gasoline. And they put the body(ies) where there was hay to burn them, and that’s why he can’t stand it anymore and left. And since my other son, Lazaro worked at a Coop, Union Campesina, they supposed everybody who worked there was a communist. When he was there he started a project to export cauliflower, broccoli and arracachina. But, since he was in the group with the peasants, they thought they were training him to be a communist or guerrilla. So, they went after him, the police, and he ran. He complained to someone, “What is it that I’m doing, I’m just working, and why does the police follow me?”. So, that person went to the police and asked them why they were following him if all he’s doing is he’s working. So, they let him go. A year after that the Army came to his home and he wasn’t there, but they chased him and got him. That’s his great fault, to be working, to study law. That’s the great “wrongdoing” that my sons committed.
Also Francisco, my other son was there too but when he realized that the Army had been around too much, he decided to flee. I don’t know whether it was psychological, or he was also being persecuted. He went to live to another country for 20 years. And that’s why he is alive and came back now, after the peace was made, but about 10 years after it was made… because when they signed the peace they continue to kill people, since they don’t respect peoples’ dignity. The Army here is not human, they are wild beasts because they think they own Guatemala and life itself. They don’t respect God.
Francisco escaped. But I didn’t know where. We cried because it was all very sad. I had already thought that my son, Francisco, was dead. And since the Catholic priests worked a lot with the people, a priest from Spain came and asked me, “Are you Doroteo? that’s good. I’m priest Juan”, and we started talking about my sons’ kidnappings. “How many children do you have?” he said. “Are they all here?” No, 2 were kidnapped and my son- in-law, but the other one wasn’t kidnapped, he escaped. The priest said “I feel so bad for you. Do you suspect that he’s in the mountains”? And I couldn’t say anything.
He (the priest) pulled out a portfolio and he said he knew that man… “Francisco is alive?” Here there is a letter. I didn’t know what to do, but it’s better that he doesn’t come back here until there is peace. After a few years, we communicated and I went to look for him and I found him. I got one son back. About the other two ….I don’t know anything. What can I do, that’s life. But here in Guatemala we think they (the Army) should go to the mountains and fight with the guerrillas that are armed. But not with the people that are at their homes. I’m angry too. The mayor was killed here because the Army commander is the one that kills everybody. I also am on a “black list” of people and I pray to God nothing happens.
In 1987, when we did protests and went to the Palace and the police was there and I told them that they were killers and they killed mostly indigenous people. Because what is more prominent here is discrimination. Well, I accused the Army and I have a copy of the words I said.
In 1985 and ’86 I left from here and went to look for them (my sons) everywhere, hungry, without anything. Then, in 1987, I wrote this and went directly to the Palace. “Christ died because of the truth, but I confront you to go to God’s court. There is justice there, and if my sons are criminals, or you are the criminals, we’ll confront before God’s tribunal.”
I said: “Mister President, Ministers, Minister of Defense, Army Generals,… and (search your) conscience… because you are the ones that kidnapped my sons, and if you believe in God, you still have time to free them. And as the Holy Bible (and I pulled it out), because the ones that pretend to be Christians like Rios Montt”.So that’s how I made it clear on a tape but I don’t have it right now. So I told them that and I’m still alive.
I have 2 grandsons who are traumatized. They’re Lazaros’ (his son-in-law) sons. Well, now we don’t cry that much during the day, but my wife , sometimes at night, says “wake up, wake up, why are you crying”? We cry in our sleep, at night. Day and night, always in tears. When Lazaro disappeared one of his sons was already born, maybe a year old, the other…
Carlos’s father: Since I’m a Christian, Catholic, the priests always come to see me, to give me fortitude. One day they were going to tell me who were the accusers, but I didn’t want to know because it’ll be troublesome. My conscience is at peace, it doesn’t matter if I cry day and night. There are certain songs that they used to like and one night my wife heard one and started crying. I’m sure I won’t forget until the day that I die. And for that reason… for instance the Army, they are not ignorant, they are scientific about it. I waited because in 1985 I realized that my sons and son-in-law Felipe were taken to Zone 6, to the Police. And then to the General Quarters. Then, they found those documents and maybe Carlos’ss father will show up one day, if they follow human rights and maybe he’ll appear. But…
Thank you. Because here in Guatemala there are thousands in the same situation. For instance there is a historic story that here the ones that are left, since they were not captured, the young ones, left. So, they captured the mother and sent her to jail. Then, the son, the one they were after, a Catholic, went to the priests to be confessed and asked them to give him the last blessing because he was going to be killed so that his mother could be free. So, they gave him Communion and the mother was let free. That’s a very deep pain because the mother and the father are alive but the son gave his life for his mother, That’s very cruel.
When one does God’s will, He saves you. For instance, I realized I am on the “black list” but, thanks to God I haven’t been killed. But, I don’t stop being charitable to others for love to God and my brothers. Many people fled. I received them in my house. And I don’t care if I’m killed for them. If there is work, I give them work.
Translator: He decided to tell you one more story, about what people had told him happened in Chocolo.
The Army got there and tied all the men with a rope. Then, they told the women to kill a few chickens, make lunch and so they wouldn’t kill their husbands. Then, they took all the 15 year old pretty girls to the mountains and raped them. Around 3 p.m. they killed the men. What criminals. The women fled and they told me about it. This is very sad about Guatemala and they don’t understand that in the US. The Spaniards also killed our people, took our gold, our land. We are poor and the sons of Spaniards took our farms, more than 500 years ago, and then came back to kill us. As one man said: “we, the indigenous, are saints, we are not killers”. But if we had arms now, I’d kill them. We were born good, but with everything that has been done to us, we became rebels because we can’t stand it anymore.