Monday, January 24, 2011

Suspected Guatemalan war criminal arrested

In the twentieth century some Latin American political leaders and military officials abused their power and were behind terrible human rights atrocities. In recent years, however, the long arm of the law caught up with several of these figures and they’ve been forced to pay for their crimes. In the last month alone, for instance:
  • Ex-Argentine president Jorge Videla, who ruled for several years during the infamous “Dirty War” era, was sentenced to life in prison.
  • The former head of Chile’s secret police under dictator Augusto Pinochet was convicted for the murders of six political prisoners.
  • Corruption and misappropriation of public funds charges were raised against former Haitian president Jean-Claude Baby Doc” Duvalier. (Quick aside: where does ex-Congressman Bob Barr get the cojones to serve as Duvalier’s “advisor”?)
Jorge Sosa was a former military commander for several years in his native Guatemala during that country’s bloody civil war. He is accused of numerous war crimes including 1982’s Dos Erres massacre where he supposedly ordered troops to kill over 250 villagers. (A “United Nations-backed Truth Commission” found that soldiers killed babies by bashing their heads with hammers while women were repeatedly raped before being murdered).

Since fleeing Guatemala in the mid-1980s Sosa emigrated legally to the U.S. and Canada. While thousands of victims of Guatemala’s war nursed their physical wounds and psychological trauma, Sosa lived in impunity and even managed a martial arts training school in Calgary.

After one too many years living as a free man, Sosa was finally arrested in Canada last week. According to the Calgary Herald, Sosa “was retrained by heavy chains visible from his hands, which were closed and held up by his chest” during his first court appearance on Thursday.

Though he is wanted in Guatemala for his suspected war crimes, Sosa may face extradition to the U.S. where he’s accused of lying on his immigration papers. His son, who left Guatemala with Sosa for the U.S told the Canadian media that his father was innocent of the immigration charges against him. For one Guatemalan human rights activist whose bother died in the massacre, however, Sosa must be punished for the suffering his callousness caused:
"We're not looking for revenge, but we want justice to be applied and for these men to own up for what they've done -- to own up for the lives they took and give some peace to the families that continue to live with voids in their lives that can never be filled," (Aura Elena Farfan) said.

"They destroyed people's humanities, killed the innocent, and we're looking for a way for them to acknowledge the innocents, the lives they destroyed."
The Sosa case has raised serious questions over the Canadian immigration process. (He currently holds U.S. and Canadian citizenship). "I was astounded that war criminals always find a way to get into Canada and people who come in through the legal procedures have to wait like nine years to get all their papers" said Carmen Aguilera, Guatemala's former honorary consul to Canada, to the press.

Image- YouTube via CBC (“Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, 52, seen in a karate demonstration, is wanted in Guatemala on war crimes. He was arrested in Lethbridge, Alta., on Tuesday.”).
Online Sources- Herald Sun, Gawker, The Latin Americanist, EPA, Reuters, Calgary Herald, Vancouver Sun, Toronto Sun, CTV News

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

he needs the tire treatment in the zocalo of the village

we will get all you military pendejos, slow but sure

and their lawyers free fishing trips

Viva la Revolucion
Viva M. la Raza