Family members of #CasoDiarioMiitar victims who now live in Canada tell their stories

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Luz Haidee Mendez Calderon, Orencio Sosa Calderon, and Hector Rolando Valdez Guzmán were disappeared in Guatemala and are listed in the Military Diary.

On September 18, the CBC reported about three women who moved to Canada after loved ones were disappeared by the Guatemalan military between 1983 and 1985 in what is referred to as the Military Diary case.

That article by Erin Ellis explains: “In 1999, families of the disappeared received the first evidence their loved ones had been captured, likely tortured and then killed, when the so-called Military Diary was leaked to researchers at the Washington, D.C.-based National Security Archive, a repository of declassified government documents from around the world.”

“The Military Diary is a disturbing catalogue of 183 entries containing photos, political party and labour connections of mostly young activists, along with the date and location of their capture. The code ‘300’ at the end of entries is understood to mean they were executed, although the location of their remains is unknown.”

“In June of this year, a judge ruled that 12 former members of the Guatemalan military will be tried in court on charges connected to the diary, including torture, murder and forced disappearance. The trial will start to hear evidence in a Guatemala City courtroom on Sept. 21, amid an ongoing campaign by army veterans and some politicians to issue a sweeping amnesty for crimes committed during the war.”

Wendy Mendez, Vancouver

“[Wendy] Mendez was nine years old on March 8, 1984, the day a group of men abducted her and her mother, Luz Haidee Mendez Calderon [who worked for a university newspaper and promoted organized labour], and took them to a clandestine detention centre. That day, Mendez not only witnessed her mother being tortured but was sexually assaulted herself.”

Maria Consueleo Pérez, Hull

“Maria Consueleo Pérez remembers the day that left her family broken. At 11 a.m. on Oct. 25, 1983, panicked staff at a hospital in Chimaltenango, west of Guatemala City, called her with the news: her husband, 39-year-old Dr. Orencio Sosa Calderon, had been taken in a van after gunshots were fired. Sosa had been wounded, they said. And he was now gone.”

Annabella Jiménez, Montreal

“In October 1983, Annabella Jiménez, then a 22-year-old private school teacher, was staying at her mother’s house because her foot was in a cast. One Sunday, her husband, 25-year-old Hector Rolando Valdez Guzmán, picked her up along with their young son and dropped them off at a circus in Guatemala City. But Valdez Guzmán, who was also a teacher, never came back.”

The full CBC article by Erin Ellis can be read at Still Missing.

PBI-Guatemala has been accompanying lawyer Edgar Pérez and the Human Rights Law Firm (BDH) at the preliminary hearings of the military officers accused of forced disappearance, murder and crimes against humanity in the Military Diary case.

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