Episode 5: Witness at Dos Erres


Ramiro Cristales' metamorphosis is inextricably tied to one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala's history. The massacre at Dos Erres claimed the lives of over 200 people who lived in the small hamlet in the north of the country. When Ramiro was just 5 years old, he witnessed the murder of his entire family and community in the massacre.  It may have happened thirty years ago, but for Ramiro, the massacre is as fresh in his mind as if it happened yesterday.    He was one of very few survivors and he now lives in Canada.

Instead of living a quiet life, hiding from his tragic childhood, Ramiro has devoted himself to bringing those responsible for this massacre to justice. Many times, he has taken the stand, retelling the horrors he witnessed.  But despite the strength of those memories, it's not just thoughts of the massacre that occupy his mind these days.  A terrible reminder of the event showed up recently in Ramiro's life, much too close to home. 


This week on Metamorphosis, we're bringing you the story of Ramiro's transformation from survivor to seeker of justice.


One quick note on the episode.  We mention in it that Ramiro is possibly at risk for sharing his story.  We also mention because of this, we're keeping parts of his life out of the broadcast. So, why do we use his name?  Ramiro has chosen to share his story publicly, through speaking to the media as well as giving talks.  When he does this, he uses his name and with Ramiro's permission we did the same.

Related Links


CBC story about Jose Sosa Orantes' arrest.


Information on Matt Eisenbrandt, lawyer with the Canadian Center for International Justice.


York University professor Marco Fonseca's blog


You can see the declassified US embassy cable here.


Guatemala's Truth and Reconciliation commission report: Memories of Silence (in English)