The testimony of Miguel Sisay

March 2, 2013 16:12 0 comments

He was one of the survivors of the armed conflict (1960-1996), and his father and brother were among the 250.000 who were killed or went missing due to security forces during this bloody period, according to estimates by humanitarian groups.

 .

El testimonio de Miguel 11Randy Saborit Mora

.

Sisay comes from the town of Santiago Atitlán, from the province of Sololá (Guatemala), and he wanted to share with Prensa Latina some of the experiences of the war, in which Efraín Ríos Montt and José Rodríguez were the masterminds of the killing of 1771 indigenous people according to evidence presented by the prosecution.

In Santiago Atitlán, he recalls, most of the families were involved, with one or more members in the conflagration.

El testimonio de Miguel 9“Many of the approaches to the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Movement were endorsed by the town of Santiago Atitlán because it struggled to solve problems such as land, poverty, education, discrimination, exploitation, and injustice lived in this country for hundreds of years”.

In his opinion, the terrible situation faced by citizens made them identify with the goals of the Revolutionary Movement, and said that many of those who were part of the guerrilla movement were students, peasants and workers.

“It wasn’t a crazy war, and we weren’t cannon fodder, as some say. We were well aware that we could fight for a better world” he said, having served as a sanitarian and also having sung melodies.

El testimonio de Miguel 2He remembers that he began his military life as a musician of the revolution, and as a group a lot of material was produced recounting, denouncing the repression, and the massacres committed by the army during the confrontation.

Asked if he could vocalize some fragment of one of the songs, he hummed: “Murdering army, out of power”, and states that first they chanted “Murdering army, out of Quiché” because it was one of the provinces which was most affected by the killings.

“There were many exterminations of villages, of whole towns, and we reported it and urged the military to leave the communities” as he recalls what happened during the 80s while in the guerrillas.

El testimonio de Miguel 4Did you also have to take up arms?

Of course, I was in the Guerrilla Army of the Poor, in front Ernesto Che Guevara, about seven years since the late 70s.

And what did your parents say about your decision to fight?

I had no contact with my parents during my time with the guerrillas. My father Salvador Sisay was murdered by paramilitaries in Santiago Atitlán, due to the fact that two of my brothers were in the guerrilla. One of them, Regino Cruz, was killed in combat.

Michael has a lump in his throat and his eyes glaze over; however, he finds the strength to emphasize this: “We knew it was not easy, of course the deaths of so many people so close to us are painful”.

El testimonio de Miguel 1Similar reactions were those experienced by family members who lament the liquidation of loved ones during the 36-year civil war, while thousands still do not even know where the bodies are.

Human rights organizations in Guatemala called for the resignation or dismissal of the secretary of the Peace and the Chairman of the Presidential Commission for Human Rights in Guatemala, Antonio Arenales.

The protesters also demanded the development and implementation of a human rights policy consistent with international obligations, a statement expresses which was accessed by Prensa Latina.

The document was initialled by groups as the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Living Memory Foundation Interiano Hector, the Myrna Mack Foundation and Serge Berten committee, days after sending a letter to President Otto Perez Molina, who would require compliance with the judgments of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

El testimonio de Miguel 3Arenales is accused of being the mastermind of actions such as closing the Peace files and is acussed of meddling in the actions of the judicial power by denying that during the Guatemalan civil war, forced disappearances and genocide were perpetrated, the latter a crime for which the former dictator Rios Montt and Rodriguez, his chief of military intelligence.

On the 25th of February, relatives of the victims placed the replica of an ossuary and photographs of loved ones outside the headquarters of the Congress, meanwhile the Working Group on Enforced Disappearance Guatemala staged a demonstration in the same place.

The director of the International Centre for Human Rights Research, Jorge Santos, asked the president of the legislature, Pedro Muadi, that the Board put on the agenda the law initiative which is expected to create the National Commission to Search for Victims of Enforced Disappearance.

El testimonio de Miguel 5The “Coordination Genocide Never Again” expressed in a statement its satisfaction with the progress of the case for genocide against the former military and Rodríguez Rios Montt.

However, the signatories of this social group considered that progress on justice in Guatemala is small compared to the barbarity committed by government agents during the armed conflict.

According to the note, “the government headed by a soldier (Otto Perez Molina) has militarised government institutions, has stopped actions involving memory recovery, clarifying the truth and promoting justice.

El testimonio de Miguel 14The protesters urged the Public and Government (Internal) ministries to resume the pursuit of General Luis Enrique Mendoza, a fugitive since October 2011, also accused of genocide.

They also urged the judges of the Trial Court for High Risk Matters to not be deterred by pressure from sectors wishing impunity to prevail in this nation, and they demanded that authorities provide security for judges, prosecutors, experts, witnesses and complainants involved in the case against Ríos Montt and Rodríguez.

The National Day of Dignity for the Victims of Civil War takes place in Guatemala since the 25th of February 1999, when the Commission for Historical Clarification of the UN released the report referring to the human rights violations committed during 36 years in this Central American country.

 

(Translated by: Sophie Maling – Email: sophie_maling@hotmail.com)

Share it / Compartir:

Leave a Reply


*



The Prisma News

  • Culture, Human Rights, On Stage, Politiks The Grandson… Argentina and its’ missing people

    The Grandson… Argentina and its’ missing people

    The Theatre for Identity “Teatro x la Identidad”, a movement that for 15 years has seen actors, directors and people from the theatrical world bring the message of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo to the stage, returning to The Calder Bookshop and Theatre, this time with the stage play “The...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus Women!

    Women!

    People say sometimes the first thing that comes to their minds (we all do, I guess; however, some of us try to avoid it or at least to rectify when we get it wrong).   Mabel Encinas   Saying things like ‘excessive traffic is migrants’ fault’, ‘English people have also the right to...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus What does UKIP mean?

    What does UKIP mean?

    Last year’s Rochester and Strood by-election victory for the United Kingdom Independence Party candidate, Mark Reckless, was a game-changer for British politics.   Steve Latham   It came hard on the heels of UKIP’s Clacton win by Douglas Carswell; both new MPs standing for seats they had previously...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus The illustrators of life

    The illustrators of life

    “There is too much blood; too much violence”,  Albert Camus.  I had thought that I would start the year with good memories and nostalgia. However, the Charlie Hebdo massacre has brought back memories of when, in the late 80s, Castaño’s paramilitaries shot down ‘JUCO’ militants –...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Multiculture, Our People, Visual Arts Angelika Berndt and the invisible culture

    Angelika Berndt and the invisible culture

    She has worked on projects in Africa, Asia and Europe, although her work is based mainly around Latin America, the region in which she grew up.   Juanjo Andres Cuervo Photos by Angelika Berndt    She first started in photography by helping the non-government organisation Anti Slavery International...

    Read more →
  • Comments, Culture, In Focus, Pages Words to remember Clarice Lispector

    Words to remember Clarice Lispector

    Writing, says Lispector, is not knowing what’s coming next. To find out, we throw another word out, as bait: which words will take the bait, if indeed any? Or will nothing follow but a void?   Carlos Skliar*   If it’s true that the world started with a yes, wrote Lispector, if it’s true...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Globe, Latin America, Music Danzón: a dance that overcame discrimination and racism

    Danzón: a dance that overcame discrimination and racism

    The first night of 1879 was calm and fresh, and those attending the Artistic and Literary School, currently the Sala José White, rested after performing a dance.    Wilfredo Alayón   At the conductor’s signal, an orchestra that had regaled those at the soirée on 1st January began to play...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus Power, for whom?

    Power, for whom?

    I met Isidoro Morantes on that 2nd day of January, at the age of 84. People say on that day his age was not noticeable like other times. In spite of his vitality making you forget for moments his advanced years, he was an old man.   Armando Orozco Tovar   That night Isidoro seemed younger asking for...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus Birdman flies

    Birdman flies

    As we came out from the cinema, my wife commented that “Birdman” is the kind of film any man in his fifties is bound to identify with – she, of course, meant me.   Steve Latham   The movie is centred on the emotions of a man in the midst of his mid-life crisis, wondering whether his life...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus, Migrants, Multiculture The great battle announced by women

    The great battle announced by women

    Yesterday I found myself on a pavement in Las Aguas, where – amongst other books for 1000 pesos (30p) – I saw “Memoirs of a Standard Bearer”, by the 19th Century writer and painter José María Espinosa, and published in the 71 volumen15 by the Banco Popular.   Armando Orozco Tovar   They...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Screen Ventura Pons and Ignasi M: “Films are what directors are”

    Ventura Pons and Ignasi M: “Films are what directors are”

    The Catalonian director took a gamble on a documentary about the true-life story and difficulties of the life of a famous gay HIV-positive museum curator.   Virginia Moreno Molina   The idea of the documentary “Ignasi M” emerged by chance while Ventura Pons was trying to picture a “silly”...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus Greeks bearing gifts

    Greeks bearing gifts

    As I write, Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is traveling across Europe, trying to woo European Union leaders to grant Greece a bail-out from their obligations under the debt rescue plan.   Steve Latham   This is the second act of the drama unfolding after the election victory of Syriza,...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus Faces and traces

    Faces and traces

    Faces are part of the individual and collective imaginations. They are invented. This is especially so of those belonging to characters who have made a strong impression on others.   Rostros y rastros – Rostros Borrados by Juana la Loca flickr.com/photos/74049931@N07/6839899278/ Armando Orozco...

    Read more →
  • Comments, Globe, In Focus, World Terror & democracy in Islam

    Terror & democracy in Islam

    The key issue is the development of moderate political Islam. Violent repression of Islamic movements only removes the possibilities for integration of the deeply rooted religion into the political processes in those countries which were in the hands of westernised elites during the colonial period,...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus Parallel London

    Parallel London

    Recently, a friend of mine awoke to find that his street in Bethnal Green had been the site for a battle between two rival gangs.   Steve Latham   Instead of the black-on-white violence which characterised the 1990s, this was a fight between two Asian gangs. In parts of London, the chequerboard of...

    Read more →
  • Comments, Globe, In Focus, World Young Jihadis: fighting the good fight… or the bad one?

    Young Jihadis: fighting the good fight… or the bad one?

    In the current hysteria about jihadi attacks in Europe, a sober analysis is important, to assess the real risks we face while also understanding their sources. What are the deeper psychological and social motives of volunteer jihadis? What part does the Islamic theory of war play, and what happened to...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Visual Arts Art and aftermath of war in Colombia

    Art and aftermath of war in Colombia

    “There is an aesthetic precariousness, poverty, and neglect in the open desolation where the dead have neither surnames nor temples.”   Reina Magdariaga Lardue   The Colombian artists Bibiana Vélez and Cristo Hoyos express in their art a reflection of the consequences of the armed...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Music “Hay quien precisa”: a song about identity and roots

    “Hay quien precisa”: a song about identity and roots

    Venezuelan folk singer Cecilia Todd and Cuban singer-songwriter Liuba María Hevia are combining their unique voices in a compilation album that includes some of the most successful songs of their careers.   Cecilia Todd, photo from corriente-alterna.net Martha Sánchez   For them, 2015 began in Havana...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus And seventy years ago the Red Army liberated Auschwitz and released its stench

    And seventy years ago the Red Army liberated Auschwitz and released its stench

    The “work sets you free” sign remains at the entrance of the Nazi hell… The camp´s prisoners endured cruel forced labour on top of the intense cold, all types of hunger, torture, a variety of illnesses, and their bodies were subject to physical and chemical experimentation.   Armando Orozco...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Pages, Visual Arts Grito de Mujer 2015: a festival across 34 countries

    Grito de Mujer 2015: a festival across 34 countries

    Photo from www.gritodemujer.com The Movimiento Mujeres Poetas Internacional Inc. (MPI, International Female Poets Movement) in the Dominican Republic has already published the list of countries that have confirmed their involvement at the Grito de Mujer (The Cry of Women) International Poetry Festival...

    Read more →