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Remembering Dos Erres 30 Years Later

December 6, 2012

Thirty years ago, in the early morning hours of December 6, 1982, the Kaibiles, the Guatemalan elite special forces unit, stormed into the sleepy village of Dos Erres. Later that day, more than 200 men, women, and many children, had been brutally tortured, murdered, and thrown into the village well. Thirty years have passed, and many questions still remain unanswered, but progress toward justice is being made.

Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes as a young soldier. (Sebastian Rotella)

Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes as a young soldier. (Sebastian Rotella)

In September of 2012, former commanding officer of the Guatemalan special forces, the Kaibiles, Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes was extradited to the United States to face charges of immigration fraud.  ProPublica reported that Sosa “is the highest-ranking officer to have been arrested on charges alleging direct involvement in the massacre by a 20-man unit of elite commandos in the northern Guatemalan farming hamlet of Dos Erres.” Sosa’s trial date is set for April 30th 2013 in California.

The story of this harrowing massacre was brought to light more recently in the United States when the Public Radio International program, “This American Life,” devoted an entire show to it this past May. Read more about Dos Erres, declassified U.S. documents, and story of one of the only survivors of the massacre, Oscar Ramirez, here: “Document Friday: What Happened at Dos Erres?”

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