They return, 32 years later

They await them at the entrance to the village, in the rain. Some cover themselves with torn umbrellas while others prefer to feel the water. They were waiting for those absent for 32 years.

The army took 80 men alive on the 2nd June 1982. The bones of six of them returned on 2nd June 2014.
Pambach received, with flowers and under a grey sky, Antonio Chiquín Max, 29 when taken away, Atanacio Xuc Mos, 31; Miguel Jalal Calach, 15, and the Cho Cuc brothers, Clemente, Domingo and Ernesto, 22, 17 and 15, respectively.

These bones, which before were men, were found and exhumed by the Foundation of Forensic Anthropology of Guatemala FAFG). They were found in what was the Military Base 21 of Cobán, Alta Verapaz. Nowadays, it functions as the Regional Training Centre of Peacekeeping Operations (CREOMPAZ).

In total, the bones of 533 adults and children were found. thanks to DNA, 49 have been identified and delivered to their families – 13 were from Pambach.

On the 2nd June, the inhabitants of the community went out to welcome those that the army had taken.

The past is present.

Children and adults dramatised what happened 32 years previously. Some were wearing military uniforms and others represented the people. The older ones remembered the violence of the armed conflict; the younger ones imagined it.

After this community tribute, each family made their way home to have an intimate moment with their returned loved ones. Later, together, they walked to the cemetery to bury the remains. Now they have somewhere where they can leave flowers – at the graves that carry the names of their departed.

This piece from Sandra Sebastián on Plaza Pública has great photos.

Categories: Guatemala, Indigenous peoples

2 replies

  1. Reblogged this on The Rockstar Anthropologist and commented:
    Identifying remains is just one part of the story. Often time forensic teams provide communities long overdue closure and peace

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