Famdegua coordinator had his father and uncle captured and disappeared by the Guatemalan dictatorship (LWS/HP)

The headquarters of the Association of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared Persons in Guatemala (Famdegua) is modest and has historically been monitored by structures of repression that, even after the recent election of President Bernardo Arévalo, continue to represent a threat to its activists. The room where the entity’s coordinator, Paulo Estrada, welcomes us is full of black and white photos of people kidnapped for a one-way trip. Symbolic records of some of the more than 40 thousand officially disappeared, five thousand of them children.

These are not just bones and bones of popular, indigenous or religious leaders opposed to the regime, but boys, girls, women and elderly people seen as a risk by those who governed the Central American country between 1960 and 1996. With the enormous Israeli presence and the With the arrival of Ronald Reagan to power in the USA, the 1980s gave more than carte blanche to genocidal practices: they covered them with resources, weapons and advisors.

Studies by the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation leave no room for doubt about the involvement of the military in the massacres (LWS/HP)

The son of Otto René and nephew of Julio Alberto Estrada, both “captured and disappeared” by the Guatemalan state in 1984, Paulo survives without a fixed residence for security reasons and to keep the allegations of crimes against humanity alive, following the proceedings in international courts. An archaeologist committed to fighting for justice for the victims and their families, he seeks to bring to light not only the evidence of the crimes, but also their financiers, those who benefited and continue to profit from the pain and blood of others in order to hand over their country to transnational corporations. It is in this context that the name of the terrorist state of Israel appears more prominently, on a gigantic and shiny billboard.

Cobán, ammunition factory and clandestine cemetery

Paulo Estrada reminds us that human rights organizations received information that near the Cobán ammunition factory, located in the clandestine detention and execution center in Alta Vera Paz, “there were possibly two people buried.” From then on, between 2012 and 2015, exhumations carried out by the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) found 565 skeletons in four graves, he explained, people who had been tortured and buried there between 1981 and 1988. “There were at least 90 children and adolescents,” he said.

“This is the first extermination center located in Guatemala, where boys and girls were transported by helicopter. Children who will later appear in mass graves”, explained the activist, who also represents the victims at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Retired general Manuel Benedicto Lucas García is one of 14 accused of this massacre (AP)

One of those accused of this massacre, with extreme cruelty with bruises on the head, throat and mercy shots, is retired general Manuel Benedicto Lucas García, who is being tried by the Guatemalan High Risk Court for crimes against humanity.

Horror story

Before becoming a military base, the area was inhabited by around a hundred families in the community of Chicoyogüito, where they grew coffee and corn. In July 1968, eight years after the start of the Internal Armed Conflict, the Army took over the village, beat and enslaved its inhabitants, burned their houses and destroyed their crops. With the scorched earth policy, he also prostituted his women, converting the place into Military Zone 21.

The denunciation of the action at the temple of carnage – where the United Nations Regional Peacekeeping Operators Training Center (Creompaz) currently operates – is strengthened by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. There, the Institute points out, “with Israeli help, Guatemala built the ammunition factory to manufacture bullets for the M-16 and Galil assault rifles.” And it is in this horror environment where corpses are found, shot in the head, blindfolded, tied to their feet and hands.

“Israeli formation, Galil rifles and Arava planes”

According to Estrada, “there were several structures in our country that had Israeli training, one of which is the Counter-Intelligence Unit and the General Archive of Support Services.” In this way, he explained, in the same way that to combat the guerrillas in the countryside, with their planes dropping bombs and their helicopters strafing, in the capital the dictatorship had Israeli technical assistance for unlimited repression. Measuring the energy consumed and the waste produced, it identified the flow of movement in homes and the possible presence of fighters. And eliminated them.

Leonardo Severo next to an Aravá plane, sent by Israel to carry out the genocide of more than 200,000 people between 1960 and 1996

The Famdegua leader said that “the first time” he heard about Israel “was through the Galil rifles and, soon after, through the Aravá planes.” “Another issue we heard was that my father and those the military were looking for were going to be thrown into the sea, on death flights. A name also began to catch our attention: Ben-Hur, an Israeli who arrived in Guatemala and became very friendly and very close to those who created the illegal clandestine intelligence system, especially the military who stood out as the most dangerous and darkest”, he added.

In the case of the “Military Diary”, the so-called “death dossier” that established the policy of forced disappearances, some survivors who left the torture centers alive “denounced the monitoring of foreign agents and mentioned several times the presence of South American agents , Chileans and Argentines”. “But there was one who caught our attention because he said that an Israeli arrived with him, who was in his interrogation when they were moving him from one detention center to another located in a synagogue, with the Star of David and everything, in which The names of the people who had passed by were written. This report is in the Historical Clarification Commission and, because of his testimony, he continued to be persecuted in exile”, explained Paulo Estrada.

“There were Israeli military and intelligence documents, written in Hebrew

“Don’t be surprised that a parallel intelligence archive was found that contained Israeli documents. He was a professor at the Guatemalan Intelligence School, and Israeli documents and manuals appear in Hebrew. But the most surprising thing is that there were deeds of private security companies in which Ben-Hur was an active partner. We are talking about a structure of almost 120 companies in which Ben-Hur was one of the four main shareholders,” he emphasized.

When asked about the throwing of prisoners into the sea, the Famdegua coordinator cited reports, documented mainly during the period of the Mexican dictatorship, with which the Guatemalan regime was very close. Furthermore, he pointed out, “the evidence is strong because the person passed through here under the auspices of Ben-Hur.”

“I was born on April 26, 1983 and my father was disappeared on May 15, 1984, victim of the policy of forced disappearance by the illegal clandestine Guatemalan intelligence system. I begin to reconstruct the figure of my father because I don’t remember him, nor his face, nor his voice, nor anything. They took my father and my uncle from me, but they gave me many brothers in this fight for justice. And we will follow your path so that atrocities like these never happen again,” he concluded.

*List of entities supporting this coverage for Comunicasul: Union of Teachers of the Official Education of the State of São Paulo (Apeoesp), Federation of Workers in Credit Companies of São Paulo (Fetec-SP) and Union of Workers in the Construction and Furniture Industries of Araraquara (Sticma)

Source: vermelho.org.br

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