ERIC AVERY AFTERWORD Looking for the Disappeared A Letter from Guatemala BY JENNIFER HARBURY Sometimes journalism works best when it steps out of the way and allows the subject of a story to have her say. Lawyer Jennifer Harbury has spent the better part of two years looking for her husband, a conimandante in whom the government says took his own life after he was wounded in an exchange with government soldiers. Her husband, Efrain Bamaca \(Comandante Everardo of the after the army reported he was dead and buried. Harbury’s first attempt at exhuming the body said to be her husband’s was stopped at the last minute by the Guatemalan govand several graves were once again opened. The United States government helped equip and train the Guatemalan military during the 1980s and Congress has appropriated $56 million in economic assistance this year. We defer to Harbury to tell her own story, through a ‘letter dated August 24, 1993: IWANT TO WRITE and fill in some gaps from the last several reports. We have carried out the exhumation doWn here. The body in the grave in question is not Everardo’s have found a great deal of evidence of a major hoax last year. To sum it all up, the army captured my husband alive. To avoid interference while they tortured him for information, they buried someone else in the grave in Retalhuleu but sent the URNG a detailed description of Everardo’s face to convince everyone he was dead. Here’s the proof: Last year, when the URNG requested forensic photos, etc. of the body supposedly Everardo’s \(He was the only “compa” who disappeared on the date and exact place where a body in olive green was recovered by the army. I don’t think anyone else dresses up army replied that no photos, etc., had been taken by the G-2, but sent an incredibly detailed description of the face accurate feature by feature and to the centimeter Everardo’s face and height. The report said the person had shot himself through the mouth to avoid capture. This left the question of whether or not the description was really of a dead body, or whether they were lying about the suicide and describing a live prisoner. When I went to the exhumation, I was thrown out of the cemetery with a lot of uproar, as Last year a prisoner who had seen my husband and a number of other prisoners being secretly held by the G-2 escaped from an army base. He saw my husband being tortured. The Army claims he’s lying. He knew my husband well they were from the same frente, and I interviewed him at length. So much for review. Given this story I returned to. Guatemala on July 8, 1993, to set up another try at an exhumation of the body. The official story and that my husband was buried in Retalhuleu. In preparing the legal papers, I found the forensic and autopsy description of the body buried last year. They completely contradict the official description sent by the army last year. The only points in common are that the body was found March 13, 1992, [in] Rio Ixcucua, Nuevo San Carlos Retalhuleu, in olive green and with a rifle. I repeat, Everardo was the only one lost to the group. The forensic report filed last year about the body describes someone 1-meter-55-cm, tache, and about 25 years old. The report sent by the army to the URNG said 1-meter60 cm,, dark, no mustache and was then 34 the body also described an old scar on the hand which Everardo did not have. This was omitted from the army description. 22 SEPTEMBER 17, 1993 ..rtrty,rt -yrtst ortArtrt.rt,
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