Photos by Alex Montalvo (RevelRiter Media)
UW Center for Human Rights Director Angelina Snodgrass Godoy announces the Center’s Freedom of Information lawsuit against the CIA. The University of Washington is suing the CIA for noncompliance with the Freedom of Information Act following the Agency’s denial of the Center’s requests for the declassification of documents regarding former Salvadoran Colonel Sigifredo Ochoa Pérez, commander of the November, 1981 military operation in Cabañas State which during which the Santa Cruz massacre was committed.
Salvadoran human rights lawyer Mirla Carbajal, representing victims of the November 1981 Santa Cruz massacre and the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University (IDHUCA), speaks about the situation of impunity for civil war crimes in her country. Carbajal emphasized the lack of investigation of such cases by the Attorney General’s office, despite Constitutional Court rulings mandating investigations.
Kate Doyle, Senior Analyst of U.S. policy in Latin America at the National Security Archive and Director of the Archive’s Evidence Project, introduces her presentation on the importance of archives and access to information in exacting justice and combating impunity across Latin America.
Kate Doyle answers questions following her presentation. Kate Doyle and the National Security Archive collaborated with the UW Center for Human Rights’s publication of the “Yellow Book,” an album of photographs of Salvadorans targeted by the military during the civil war.
Center for Human Rights Director Angelina Godoy, with panelists Mirla Carbajal, a Salvadoran lawyer with the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University (IDHUCA); interpreter Griselda Ruiz; Maria Dina Cabrera, Salvadoran human rights defender and survivor of the Lempa River and Santa Cruz massacres; Philippe Bourgois, Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology at UCLA and survivor of the Santa Cruz massacre; and moderator Tony Lucero, Chair of Latin America and Caribbean Studies at the UW Jackson School of International Studies.
Maria Dina Cabrera, a civil war survivor from El Salvador, recounts her experiences during the November, 1981 military operation which resulted in the Santa Cruz massacre. Cabrera told how she spent 22 days fleeing from Salvadoran army troops while wounded and several months pregnant. During that time she witnessed the burning of dozens of dead and wounded civilians by soldiers. Excerpts of Cabrera’s testimony are included in UW CHR’s report “God Alone Was With Us,” released as part of its Unfinished Sentences project.
Maria Dina Cabrera speaks in front of a photo of her mother, taken by Philippe Bourgois in 1982, in the refugee camp at Mesa Grande, Honduras
Professor Philippe Bourgois tells how he came to be caught up in the military operation that led to the Santa Cruz massacre while conducting field studies in El Salvador in the early 1980s as a Stanford graduate student. After his experience in El Salvador, Bourgois testified before the U.S. Congress and advocated against U.S. military aid to El Salvador. During the panel, he recounted how his advocacy visits with legislators were surveilled by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzón presents a keynote address detailing the importance of access to information as a tool for truth, justice and reparations for victims of crimes against humanity.
Baltasar Garzón with interpreter Griselda Ruiz. Garzón’s wide-ranging keynote address touched on cases from his indictment of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to the role of whistleblowers including WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Hervé Falciani.