Four candles

Bowen, Gordon L.

GUATEMALA TERROR FOUR CANDLES IN THE WIND ONCE MORE THE DISAPPEARED hree Catholic catechists "disappeared" on October 29, 1987, shortly after being taken into the custody of uniformed...

...Among all the Central American tragedies, Guatemala's might appear closest to a happy ending...
...President Cerezo, a sincere man of no small intellect, has publicly chided the lack of realism-of human rights groups (i.e., the "Mutual Support Group," or GAM) which have submitted petitions of habeas corpus on behalf of missing souls from earlier times...
...Their neighbor (and fellow catechist), Seiiora Benita Tale Coche, once was released...
...peasants know that it is important to act quickly to save lives...
...She told the locals of her April 1986 torture by soldiers at the military base in Mazatenango...
...These three families have joined in the search made daily by the family of Danilo Morales, a member of a Christian base community, who on October 18, 1987, was seized in front of his home, in Zone 6, Guatemala City...
...He teaches political science at Mary Baldwin College...
...Even the moderate, pro-American, non-Communist, Christian Democrat Cerezo government cannot expect American Catholics to be indifferent to the "disappearance" of four more religious workers today...
...We can effectively express our concern in air mail letters to Presidente Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo, Palacio National, Guatemala City, Guatemala...
...On its surface, then, Guatemala appears to have vindicated the Reagan administration's often fruitless search for a middle road in the region...
...Peasants at San Basilio remember that, when the world was not informed of the "disappearance" of local residents Miguel Ulario (April 11, 1986) and Baltazar Quican Coche (April 3, 1986), cries for mercy in Guatemala alone were of no avail...
...Further, in 1986-87, kidnappings and assassinations of leftists have been quite rare...
...They have joined the more than thirty-five thousand Guatemalans violently "disappeared" in recent years...
...A fairly elected Christian Democrat government, led by a reform-minded moderate, President Vinicio Cerezo, is finishing the second year of civilian rule in a country long dominated by generals...
...This fall, soldiers took catechists Jose Ruiz Ramirez, Jose Velasquez Garcia, and Manuel Chin Bosos away from their homes, away from the San Basilio Estate where they worked, away from the Rio Bravo municipality of Suchitepequez, Guatemala...
...Bitterly, most have come to accept Cerezo's realism, especially when the traces of g6od men and women have become too faint to follow...
...Life at ground level may always be more mundane, but some Catholic families in Guatemala still can hardly be expected to appreciate this superficial success: they are missing their heads-of-household, moderate government or not...
...GORDON L. BOWEN Gordon L. Bowen wrote "No Roadblocks to Death: Guatemala's War Against the Church" in the June 15, 1984, issue of Commonweal, as well as other reports on Guatemala...
...But the memory of the four Catholic activists who have "disappeared" this fall are still fresh in their families' minds...
...Communist guerrillas that once numbered ten thousand (or more) have been turned back: according to the U.S...
...Where are Danilo Morales, Jose Ruiz Ramirez, Jose Velasquez Garcia, and Manuel Chin BOSOS...
...GUATEMALA TERROR FOUR CANDLES IN THE WIND ONCE MORE THE DISAPPEARED hree Catholic catechists "disappeared" on October 29, 1987, shortly after being taken into the custody of uniformed soldiers of the Guatemalan army dramatic evidence of the distance yet to be traveled between the promise of freedom and the reality that is everyday life in Central America...
...military's Southern Command, fewer than two thousand remain at war with this new democracy...
...No longer can inattentiveness to soldiers' human-rights abuses be excused, as in the past, by reference to the exigencies of war...
...Guatemalan Catholics appreciate the president's candor...
...On this wellinformed basis, the villagers now have asked for North Americans' help...
...Away where...
...Three were seen being beaten by soldiers as they were hauled away...
...In Rio Bravo (indeed, on the San Basilio Estate...
...These persons are not alive," he has stated more than once...
...then she vanished a second time last year...

Vol. 114 • December 1987 • No. 22


 
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