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“Dos Erres: the long road to justice”

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In 1979, Juan Pablo Arévalo dug a well in his land, unaware of the fact that he was digging his own grave. His son, Saúl Arévalo, 54, takes off his black rimmed spectacles, pushes them back to the nape of his neck and points to the place where the Arévalo well was located. Much to the community’s disappointment, water was never found there. Fifteen years after the well was built, in 1994, an Argentinean forensic anthropology team extracted one by one, from that same well, the remains of 162 inhabitants of Dos Erres, including Juan Pablo Arévalo and two of his sons.
The soldiers gathered small groups of women, taking the youngest ones first, and dragged them out of the church. When it was his mother’s turn to go, Ramiro clutched her leg but a huge black boot sent him flying across the church. The door was slammed shut and he never saw her again.
When they reached eight meters they found eight male skeletons but they were forced to halt their work as the soil was too saturated with rainwater, and the sides of the well could collapse any minute burying the anthropologists and the peasants who were assisting them. They had to wait until the rainy season was over and continue the exhumation the following year. By June, a total of 162 bodies had been found.

Today, Dos Erres, a village in the municipality of Las Cruces, in Petén, Guatemala’s Northernmost...

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