The harrowing and heartrending story of Guatemala’s Dos Erres massacre, and the survivors whose lives were forever changed by it
In 1982, at the height of Guatemala’s civil war, twenty soldiers from the army’s commando unit, called the Kaibiles, invaded the farming village of Dos Erres. Masquerading as leftist guerillas, the squad members cut their way through the small town, killing more than 250 men, women, and children. Only a handful of people survived. One of them, a young boy, was adopted by Kaibil lieutenant Ramírez and raised by Ramírez’s family, who named him Oscar. Just three years old at the time of the massacre, Oscar grew up unaware of his true origins. It wasn’t until almost thirty years later, living in the suburbs of Boston with a family of his own, that Oscar would learn the truth.
Drawn from interviews with massacre survivors, commandos-turned-protected witnesses, lawyers, and forensic anthropologists, Finding Oscar is a powerful, groundbreaking investigation into the Dos Erres massacre and its aftermath. It is an unforgettable account of the secret abductions of Dos Erres survivors, the mission to bring the perpetrators to justice, and the courage of the Guatemalan people.
This ebook contains content not available anywhere else. Additional features include:
A preface by Sebastian Rotella An afterword by acclaimed author Francisco Goldman
Oscar’s story is also featured on the May 25, 2012, episode of This American Life.
Excellent article by Ms Arana about the early 80's in Guatemala. This was a time of civil war and uprisings by the poor against the strong, corrupt and murderous government. This story tells the sad story of a Army lieutenant who is a family man yet a murderer when serving and fighting against the rebels. Well written and easy to read, this story will tell a story that a lot people will not recall yet will be glad it is being told now. In the end its all about justice for the dead and the country.
This book presents a contemporary incident that took place in Guatemala, Central America, in a town called Dos Erres (The Two R's). The incident was the total destruction of the town in that country, by soldiers (Kaibiles) considered to be an elite group similar to American "Seals." The difference is that those soldiers are assassins. Under false pretenses, that there were "guerrillas" in the town, the Kaibiles rounded up all the men,women, and children assassinating them and throwing the bodies in common graves, later found during the investigation conducted by the government. Some of the "Kaibilies" were found living in the U.S. The only survivor of the massacre is a boy by the name of "Oscar" living in Massachusets.
As the Dos Erres massacre hit the news again as trials for the killers concluded, there were a flurry of reports revisiting the massacre. Sebastian Rotella and Ana Arana have come out with a stunning piece of long-form journalism on the event -- told through the terribly human story of Oscar, a boy who was spared and raised by the participants of the massacre. It's a great, thoughtful project-- a great read, and a tragic tale with a hopeful ending.
The book is filled with intrigue, seeing that it is a non-fictional account of a true story. It is very powerful. So many unnecessary lives were lost in the Guatemalan Civil War, and the mystery around Oscar o Alfredito makes a stunning read.
This was a great book which takes the reader back to the horrific realities of civil war in a third world country. I was impressed by the investigator who never gave up searching for the truth, and Oscar who left his stable life in the US to help persecute the mass murders of his boyhood village.
And we continue to take our freedoms for granted .... a touching, frightening story of what goes on in so many other countries. "Finding Oscar" is well done and one of the few happy endings. Jeanne Kosek
Sebastian Rotella is an award-winning author, foreign correspondent and investigative journalist. His first novel, Triple Crossing, was named favorite debut crime novel and favorite action thriller of 2011 by the New York Times Sunday Book Review. His second novel, The Convert's Song, was published in December, 2014. He is also the author of Twilight on the Line: Underworlds and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border (1998), which was named a New York Times Notable book. He has written two e-books: Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala (2012) and Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story (2011.) Since 2010, he has been a senior reporter based in Washington, D.C. for ProPublica, an investigative newsroom dedicated to journalism in the public interest. He previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, serving as bureau chief in Paris and Buenos Aires and as correspondent at the Mexican border. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2006. His work from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia has won honors including a Peabody Award; Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot Award and Dart award for coverage of Latin America; the German Marshall Fund's Weitz Prize for excellence on reporting on European affairs; five awards from the Overseas Press Club and five awards from the Inter American Press Association; and the Urbino Press Award of Italy. He was correspondent and narrator for "A Perfect Terrorist," a television documentary on Frontline PBS that received an Emmy nomination. His reporting from the Mexican border inspired two songs on Bruce Springsteen's album The Ghost of Tom Joad in 1995. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and studied at the University of Barcelona. He speaks Spanish, French and Italian. He was born in Chicago.
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