El Espectro del Militarismo / The Spectre of Militarism

Militarismo: Es la abusiva injerencia de las fuerzas armadas, como institución, o de sus miembros individualmente, en la conducción política de un Estado. Es también el sistema de privilegios que, en algunos países, se concede a los elementos militares.”

A fines de 1979, tras años de persecución política y de asedio constante de los escuadrones de la muerte, el ejército y las fuerzas oscuras y extremistas que aún hoy, gobiernan al país, nuestro padre,                      el Dr. Rafael Cuevas del Cid murió en el exilio en México, El fue, un hombre honesto, un padre amoroso, un académico íntegro al que la gente, aún recuerda como el ‘Rector de la Dignidad’.

Tras su muerte, el asedio del Estado militar no terminó. Parte de su familia, hijas e hijos, su esposa y nietos, sufrimos esa misma persecución: el asesinato, la desaparición forzada, el exilio y la tortura a manos de quienes aún hoy, se niegan a reconocer sus actos criminales y el destino de nuestro hermano detenido-desaparecido en 1984 y el asesinato de su esposa Rosario e hijo el año siguiente.


Fuimos forzados al exilio y obligados a dejar atrás lo más preciado, lo más querido, aquello que por derecho era nuestro. Nuestra cultura, nuestros seres amados, lo conocido y el amor de y por nuestra tierra. No quedó nada, sólo resistir la tristeza y el desarraigo. La búsqueda de la sobrevivencia en nuevos espacios y la continua lucha por nuestros derechos. El éxodo marcó el fin y el principio de dos períodos muy diferentes en nuestras vidas. Por un lado cerramos una parte del ciclo largo de participación y persecución política y por otro, el alejamiento.

Ha pasado ya muchísimo tiempo desde la muerte de papá, y aún así, extrañamos su presencia física, particularmente en los momentos familiares sencillos y cotidianos…las discusiones en la mesa.
Sin embargo, nos  reconforta pensar que no vivió (o continuó viviendo) las experiencias desgarradoras que vivimos después de su partida.

 

"Militarism: The abusive interference of the armed forces as an institution, or its individual members, in the political leadership of a state. It is also the system of privileges that in some countries, is awarded to military personnel".

At the end of 1979, after years of political persecution and constant harassment by death squads, the army and the dark extremist forces that still govern our country Guatemala, our father,
Dr. Rafael Cuevas del Cid, died in exile in Mexico.  He was an honest man, a loving father, and an incorruptible academic who, still today, people remember as the 'Chancellor of Dignity'.

 After his death, the harassment by the military state did not end. As members of his family, sons and daughters, his wife and grandchildren, we suffered the same persecution: murder, enforced disappearance, exile and torture at the hands of those who, still today, enjoy impunity and refuse to admit to their criminal acts.  The most striking of these became the destiny of our brother, Carlos, arrested and disappeared in 1984, and the murder of his wife, Rosario,  and their son the following year.
 
We were forced into exile and to unwillingly leave behind what was rightfully ours, what was most precious and most dear: our loved ones, our culture, the love from and for our country.  Nothing was left, just the resistance to sadness and uprooting.
And so began our search for survival in new places, and the continuing struggle to defend our rights. The exodus marked the end of a long cycle of political participation and persecution, and the beginning of estrangement .
 
A long time has passed since our Dad died, and we still miss his physical presence, particularly in the simple, everyday family moments, the discussions around the dinner table.  However, it comforts us to think that he did not have to suffer through the harrowing experiences that we lived following his death.
 


Rafael Cuevas del Cid en el centro con cuatro de sus hijos e hijas, sus dos hermanos y sobrinos.
Rafael Cuevas del Cid in the middle with four of his children, his two brothers and nephews.

We also miss our father when we witness that cruel emptiness left in Guatemala stripped, after so many years of war, of its best sons and daughters, those who struggled and died in the pursuit of justice and the defense of a more equal society.  Guatemala, our country that, unfortunately, has remained in the bloodied hands of the "winners" of the conflict.

Papá nos hace falta también en ese vacío cruel que vive Guatemala, a la que en tantos años de guerra, despojaron de sus mejores hijos e hijas: Aquellos que se esforzaron y murieron en la búsqueda de la justicia y del bienestar de un pueblo, que ha quedado en las manos ensangrentadas de los “ganadores” del conflicto.

 


Rafael Cuevas de Cid junto a su colega y amigo Adolfo Mijangos López, (asesinado en enero de 1971)
Rafael Cuevas del Cid with, to his left,  his colleague and friend Adolfo Mijangos Lopez (assassinated in January 1971)


Rafael Cuevas del Cid junto a Edmundo Vásquez Martínez y Manuel Colom Argueta (asesinado en marzo de 1979)
Rafael Cuevas del Cid with Edmundo Vásquez Martínez (seated) and Manuel Colom Argueta (assassinated in March 1979) standing to his right.

Although it has been more than 30 years since our departure to exile, the "umbilical cord" that links us to the place where we were born has never been broken.
We follow with interest the political developments in Guatemala: we rejoice with its tiny steps 'forward'; we grieve at its big steps 'backwards'.

That was why, in time, our hearts fell back into dark places when a military man, the now ex-President Otto Perez, took 'control' of the country in 2011.  How was it possible that in a country like ours, the military had again invaded the political landscape?
On the other hand, with the 'unveiling' of the crimes committed by him and his 'colleagues', and their recent incarceration, we've been given renewed hope.

There is no doubt that this year, Guatemala has lived some very special moments, where we've witnessed the birth of arduous and necessary discussions and debates as to the kind of change that Guatemala requires.

Although according to social indicators Guatemala continues to be a country where the majority remain in poverty, those of us who lived the horrific years of war can distinguish changes, perhaps too small for our dreams, but real changes arising from new and different social movements.

What is significant, however, and according to a study by the UNDP in 2012, 70% of Guatemala's population, those who are suffering directly from the situation of national political corruption and economic collapse, are 30 years of age or younger. 
It is likely then, that many of those who are now preparing to elect new 'rulers' have not lived the nightmares of the years of the dirty war.

And yet, there are those of us, both of the older and younger generations, who are alert to, and astonished by the re-emergence of the military presence in groups aspiring to political power.  It is no joke the men behind the candidacy of 'comedian' Jimmy Morales.

In a sincere desire to contribute to the debates which seek to 'help history progress by better roads',  we publish below an intimate 'family account' which addresses the character of those who would seek to re-establish their power over our national destiny.

In 1984, four months before the 'Security Forces’ of the State and the army kidnapped my brother Carlos, my mother, and her two youngest daughters, hurriedly left Guatemala for Costa Rica.  With one suitcase in hand, we closed the door of our house, leaving behind most of the family’s material history.  During the following months, the house was looted of everything the forces of 'military intelligence' thought was of relative 'value'.  What was left behind, and has survived to this day, were some of our library of books, and a box containing some old handwritten notes and a few family photos.

For us, the 'survival' of these notes is special, allowing us to look back at our history and to reflect.  Stained by time, these loose-leaf notes had been written by my father during the years when he was Chancellor of the National University of San Carlos of Guatemala, between 1970 and 1974.
Amongst these, we share here a ‘note’ that my father wrote about his experiences during the military government of General Carlos Arana Osorio.

A pesar de que han pasado ya más de 30 años de nuestra partida, el ‘cordón umbilical’ que nos vincula con el lugar donde nacimos nunca se ha roto.
Seguimos con interés los acontecimientos políticos en Guatemala: nos regocijamos con los diminutos pasos ‘hacia adelante’, nos entristecemos con los grandes pasos ‘hacia atrás’.

Fue por eso que, en su momento, nuestros corazones descendieron de nuevo a lugares oscuros cuando un militar, el ahora ex-presidente Otto Pérez, tomó el ‘control’ del país en el 2011.
¿Como era posible que en un país como el nuestro, un militar invadiera de nuevo el paisaje político?
En acción inversa, la ‘develación’ de los crímenes cometidos por él y sus ‘colaboradores’ y su reciente encarcelación, nos ha traído renovada esperanza.

No hay duda que éste año, Guatemala ha vivido momentos singulares.
Las discusiones acerca del tipo de cambio que necesita el país son arduas y necesarias.

A la vez, y a pesar de que los indicadores sociales continúan siendo los de un país en el que la mayoría vive en la pobreza, aquellos que vivimos los años horrorosos de la guerra, podemos distinguir cambios, quizá demasiado pequeños para nuestros sueños, pero cambios que surgen de movimientos diversos y nuevos.

Según un estudio del PNUD en el 2012, el 70% de la población en Guatemala es joven y sufre directamente la situación de colapso nacional. Es muy probable entonces que muchos de los que ahora se aprestan a elegir a los nuevos ‘gobernantes’ no hayan vivido las pesadillas de los años de la Guerra sucia.

Por otro lado, hay quienes, (de la vieja y nueva generación), seguimos viendo con estupor la posibilidad de la continuación de la presencia militar en grupos que aspiran de nuevo al poder. No son ninguna ‘broma’ los hombres que están detrás de la candidatura del 'cómico' Jimmy Morales. ¿Cómo es posible que esto pueda suceder?

En un afán sincero de contribuir a que la historia avance por mejores caminos, compartimos aquí un ‘retazo íntimo’ de nuestra experiencia familiar que muestra el carácter de aquellos que tratan de restablecer hoy su poder sobre nuestro destino nacional.

En 1984, cuatro meses antes de que las ‘fuerzas de seguridad’ del Estado y el ejército secuestraran a nuestro hermano Carlos, nuestra madre y sus dos hijas más jóvenes salieron apresuradamente de Guatemala rumbo a Costa Rica.
Con una sola maleta en la mano, cerraron la puerta de nuestra casa dejando allí la mayor parte de la historia material familiar. Durante los meses siguientes, la casa fue saqueada por el ejército de todo aquello de relativo ‘valor’. Lo que quedó atrás y lo que sobrevivió hasta hoy en día fueron los libros de la biblioteca familiar, fotos y una caja con ‘viejas notas’.

Para nosotras, la ‘sobrevivencia’ de esas notas es extraordinaria y nos dan la oportunidad de ver hacia atrás y reflexionar.

Las hojas sueltas-manchadas por el tiempo- son anotaciones que hizo papá, durante los años en que fue Rector de la Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, entre los años 1970 y 1974.
Las "notas" que compartimos nos cuentan sus experiencias durante el gobierno militar del general Carlos Arana Osorio.

Coronel Carlos Arana Osorio y su ayudante se reunen con asesores del ejérito Estadounidense (1965)
U.S. military advisers confer as Col. Carlos Arana Osorio (on the right) and an aide look on (U.S. Army, 1965)

 

Arana Osorio, fue uno de los gobernantes militares más sanguinarios de la historia reciente de Guatemala. Se le apodaba, ‘El Carnicero de Zacapa’. Ejerció el poder de manera dictatorial y autorizó la guerra.
Es el primero de una sucesión de gobernantes militares y políticos de extrema derecha, algunos de los cuales aún están activos en la política nacional. Políticos,  como Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre actual presidente provisional y quien se inclinó por la extrema derecha desde inicios de los años sesentas. Maldonado fue parte del partido Movimiento de Liberación Nacional (MLN), también llamado partido de la violencia organizada.

Para más información sobre Maldonado Aguirre

Patrick Ball (et al) en su libro, “Violencia Institucional en Guatemala, 1960 a 1996” describen aquel momento histórico de la siguiente forma:

“En noviembre de 1970, poco después de asumir la Presidencia, el coronel Arana suspendió las garantías constitucionales, declarando un estado de sitio que llegó a perdurar hasta febrero de1972.
En el área rural, dicho estado permitió que la autoridad fuera transferida de civiles electos por el pueblo a comisionados militares nombrados por el Ejército.
Esto subvirtió a la autoridad civil y contribuyó a que las tensiones políticas llegasen a brotar en muchas comunidades durante la década siguiente
(Brintnall 1979: 160)
Arana aprovechó una serie de secuestros de la insurgencia como pretexto para declarar el estado de sitio. Otra de sus preocupaciones fue la organización legal en contra de las políticas de su gobierno, en especial el movimiento que surgió para bloquear un contrato multimillonario con la empresa EXMIBAL, subsidiaria de una compañía canadiense minera que pretendía explotar las reservas de níquel del país. Varios intelectuales y políticos de la oposición consideraban el contrato como un negocio turbio destinado a regular las reservas minerales y una muestra de que la elite político-militar pretendía ejercer, en un grado sin precedente, su control del gobierno. Para acallar las protestas, Arana empleó la detención masiva y suspendió el derecho de la libre asociación. Al no cesar éstas, el Ejército ocupó la Universidad de San Carlos, el centro de oposición al negocio. Pocas horas después del fin de la ocupación, un escuadrón de la muerte asesinó al profesor en Derecho Julio Camey Herrera. Con este acto, el Estado inició un ataque sistemático en contra de ilustres intelectuales universitarios que cuestionaron el contrato. Entre las víctimas se cuenta al profesor en Derecho y diputado al Congreso, Adolfo Mijangos López, quien fue asesinado en su silla de ruedas en una transitada calle del centro capitalino.
(Fuentes Mohr 1971: 202-203; Toriello Garrido 1979).
Bajo el estado de sitio, el nivel de violencia política creció a estadios similares a los del período de 1966 a 1968.”

Arana Osorio, was one of the bloodiest military rulers of the recent history of Guatemala.  He was nicknamed,
'The Butcher of Zacapa'.  He ruled dictatorially, and felt he had the authority to wage war against the political opposition, and by any means.  His was the first of a succession of governments of military rulers and the extreme right, some of which are still active in national politics.  Most obvious of these is Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre, currently the interim president, and he who since the early sixties, has bowed by the extreme right.   Maldonado was part of the political party The National Liberation Movement [MLN], or the so called “party of organized violence”.

For more information about Maldonado Aguirre (in Spanish)  →


Patrick Ball (et al) in his book, "Institutional Violence in Guatemala, 1960-1996" describes that historic moment as follows:

"In November 1970, shortly after taking office, Colonel Arana suspended constitutional guarantees by declaring a state of siege that came to last until February of 1972. In rural areas, this status allowed the authority to be transferred from elected civilian to military commissioners appointed by the Army.
This undermined civilian authority and contributed to political tensions that would erupt in many communities over the next decade.
(Brintnall 1979: 160).  
Arana took a series of kidnappings by armed insurgents as a pretext to declare a state of siege.
Another concern was the legal organization against the policies of his government, especially the movement that came to block a multimillion contract with EXMIBAL, subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, which that sought to exploit the country's nickel reserves.
Several intellectuals and opposition politicians felt that the contract was a corrupt deal to regulate mineral reserves, and an indication that the political and military elite sought to exercise a unprecedented degree of government control.
To quell the protests, Arana ordered mass arrests and suspended the right of free association. When these did not stop, the army occupied the University of San Carlos, the center of opposition to the business.
A few hours after the end of the occupation, a death squad assassinated law professor Julio Camey Herrera. With this act, the State began a systematic attack against leading university intellectuals who questioned the contract. Among the victims there were law professor and congressional deputy Adolfo Lopez Mijangos, who was killed in his wheelchair on a busy street in the capital's center.
(Fuentes Mohr 1971: 202-203; Toriello Garrido 1979).
Under the state of siege, the level of political violence rose to levels comparable to those of the period from 1966 to 1968. "

 


                                                                                       BASIC GUIDELINES

          1.  UNIVERSITY AUTONOMY:  To fulfill its role, especially in Latin America, the University needs to be autonomous.  Autonomy means independence, and having responsibility to deliver the high academic values of the University, including its social objectives.   Because of the important role that the it plays in the country, the University must prepare itself to fulfill that social mission.  The University's first duty is to defend and increase its autonomy against all types of interference that might be contrary to its nature.  It is necessary to raise awareness among its students about the value of the University’s autonomy, and through it’s social work, to bring that awareness to the rest of the population, so that they can, as well, participate inits defense.

Dr. Rafael Cuevas del Cid -  memorias del militarismo.
Dr. RafaEl Cuevas del cid -  recollections of Militarism

Nota No. 1
Note No. 1

 

3 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s March or early April of 1970.

"Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio is elected as President of the Republic and will take office on July 10.

It has been pointed out that we (the Chancellor’s office) need to arrange an interview with the future ruler in order to know his position with more clarity, especially in respect to the University.

Humberto Salazar, on the one hand, and Eduardo Caceres Lenhof, (recently elected Vice President and in whose house I lived before doing my post-graduate studies in Germany) they have been commissioned to arrange the interview.  It was agreed that this is going to take place without publicity, and in the house of Caceres.

We got there with Humberto Salazar. Girls from the domestic service take us to the luxurious private office of the house.

Minutes later the owner comes:

"How are you? The Colonel will soon be here, as he is always very punctual. Tell me, how are things at the University? "
Inconsequential conversation develops for a few minutes. There is some tension in the air and, on my part, dread (or fear?).   I've heard so much evil about Arana that I fear the worst for the University and its students and professors.

A few minutes later we hear someone climbing the stairs, the ‘character’ (person) that was going to be of prime importance for Guatemala is arriving.  His military posture, and his severe forehead, confirmed our fears.
The conversation begins, and again I hear the question about the 'communists' at the University (athough for the first time I hear it from Arana’s lips)
I especially want to know about his plans, and Arana talks in long stretches about'the problems of Guatemala'.   Problems, of course, that he can only see based onanecdotal evidence; he does not have the resources to have an overall view.

It goes without saying that, according to him, everything can be solved without moving an inch the social structures. Caceres Lenhof points enthusiasticly:

"You see, Doctor, that is why I agreed to be the Vice-president of the Colonel.  He knows a lot about the problems of Guatemala, and has the real wish to resolve them "

Little can I argue with the colleague-lawyer.  Their ignorance of the deep problems that affect Guatemala is evident, as is their belief that they can be 'solved' without touching the interests of the oligarchy.

For my part I say, "I want to know what the University should expect from your government.  For us, the University’s autonomy is very important.  We want to know if it will be respected or not.”

Arana: "Look Doctor, my government will be respectful of the University’s autonomy ... provided that the University fulfills its function."

I know that this means the silencing of all the voices of protest against the violation of human rights which undoubtedly will be one of the characteristics of this government.

"I can also assure you, in any case, that dialogue will be open with the Univesity, and that we will never take any action without first talking to you."

History very shortly showed us what type of ‘dialogue’ would take place, especially during the raid on the University, and the death of our university colleagues.

This was my first interview with Arana.   Many more would follow in the four years of my Chancellory, full of stress and horror.

Nota No. 2
Note No. 2

 

AS TO RESPECT FOR THE UNIVERSITY'S AUTONOMY

It is 3:45 am on November 20, 1970.

I have gone to bed with a bitter taste in the mouth.

At 6 pm, while celebrating the anniversary of the University’s printing press with the workers, at home in Zone 12, I was informed of the violent death of Julio Camey Herrera.   I've seen hisbroken body, and I've been with his desperate family.  This has been a very long day for the University.

The telephone rings. It is Don Jorge, who is one of the four members of the Guard at the University, and which I call jokingly 'The University Armed Forces ‘.

"Doctor," he says with alarm, "the University City is surrounded. There are tanks here, soldiers, and trucks. And they look as if they are set to go...”

"Well, Don Jorge," I replied, "We can only wait and, if possible, let me know what happens.”

 A few minutes later the telephone bell rings again:

"Doctor, they are entering."

I try, with great haste, to communicate by telephone with the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Vassaux.   After speaking through an endless line of lieutenants and subordinates, I am informed that the Minister is not available.  I remember, then, that some years ago, I lived in a house belonging to Mr. Eduardo Caceres Lenhoff, today’s Vice President of the Republic.   I look at the telephone book and I manage to get in contactwith him.

Dr. Cuevas: "Mr. Lenhoff, the army has invaded the University City.  I must warn the President that this is a serious violation of the autonomy of the University, and that this situation needs to ne rectified.”

Mr. Lenhoff: "Well, I'll do anything I can.  I'm leaving today for Mexico for the inauguration of Mr. Luis Echeverria, the new president.   In any case, I will try to communicate with the Minister of Defense. "

Dr. Cuevas: " I would also remind you, that yesterday, Julio Camey, a colleague of yours (a lawyer) was killed.  I really hope that an enquiry will be carried out, and that we will know who are the authors of his death. "

I shower and get dressed in a hurry.  I wait until it is 5 in the morning, so that the curfew will have finished and I can travel by car to the University.   At 5 I went to the University City, a few blocks from my house.   At the main entrance, rolls of barbed wire are blocking access.  I come before the eyes and the gun of a soldier carefully pointing at me.   Getting out of the car I realize that I've only taken my passport as my only piece of identification.   Nowhere is it written that I am the Chancellor of the University.   Meanwhile, we have warned Roberto Diaz Castillo - General Secretary of the University, and Humberto Salazar - Maintenance Manager,  to join us as soon as possible.   I convince the soldier to call his superior, and soon he approaches us  (I notice that the strip of cloth that carries his name and his position is torn).   He invites me in.   I walk into my office, as if nothing has happened.  I do some work.  I sign some new professional certificates.   I regret, now, not having written down the name of those professionals whose certificates were signed under the watchful gaze of the guns.   The soldier looks at me carefully, and looks alarmed when I switch on my Dictaphone.    Soon after he, the officer, comes back, and he informs me that he "is in charge of this 'operation', that this is a routine search."

Dr. Cuevas: "You are mistaken, this is not a search, but a raid".

Officer: "You are mistaken.  The University is not superior to sovereignty, and its premises can be searched when the State wants. "

Dr. Cuevas: "You forget that I am a lawyer.   I reiterate that this is a raid.   Also, this action is not ‘clashing’ with our ‘State sovereignty’, because you (the army) sold it some time ago. "

I was told that Roberto Diaz and Humberto Salazar have arrived.   When I go to meet them, I find that Mr. Virgilio Villagrán Bracamonte (Chief of the Army’s Public Relations) is also waiting.

We say goodbye to the officer:

Officer: "Good Morning Licenciado (BA)”

Dr. Cuevas: “Good morning Lieutenant”

Officer: “I am a Colonel "

Dr. Cuevas:" Well Colonel, I'm a Doctor (PHD)... "

Nota No. 3
Note No. 3


... The cold morning, and the rising sun on the horizon could make one think of more pleasant moments. But the university had been invaded.

In the unpleasant company of Villagran (the army officer), we walk to the chancellor’s building.   The 'head' of the operation is a few steps behind us, taking hasty notes, showing off his efficient shorthand. I turned and said, "If you want,  Officer, I can dictate what I'm saying."

Villagrán repeated to me that autonomy could not be above sovereignty.   Gladly I repeat my belief that the sovereignty of Guatemala had been sold long ago, precisely with the collaboration, or at least with the silent consent of the army.

"And you may know Colonel, that yesterday the University’s professor Julio Camey was killed”, I said.
"Do you know what the government has done to find out about his death? "

"Of course I know.   What happens is that the investigation continues."

"Enquiries that, as usual, will lead to nothing," I replied.

When we had gone down to the basement, he says:
"I want you to give me the key to those filing cabinets, we need to search them"

"Unfortunately I do not have the key.   You will have to wait until the arrival of the Director of the Registration Office.   However, I suggest that you use the method well known by you: open them with rifle butts ."

I immediately thought about the administrative staff and how inconvenient would it be for them to enter the building.   I sent word to those who, I assumed, were among the multitude outside the University City. The students were there, jeering at the military (" All military are, are, are, … "The military are like Jorge Negrete, very courageous if they have a gun,  but without themthey are just bullshit!")

Some teachers arrived hastily after hearing the news of the raid.   I remember that principally among them were Rafael Piedrasanta Aramdi, Dean of Economics, and José Matta Gavidia, Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities.

The Deans were arriving one by one:  Victor Valley, in the absence of Carlos Asensio Wunderlic, Dean of Architecture;  Mario López Larrave, Dean of the Law School;  Mauricio Castillo Contoux, Dean of Engineering;  Guillermo Putzeys Alvarez, Humanities; and more. The Dean of Veterinary had not yet showed up.
A small man - whose name and position I ignore - asked me about the absence of the Dean of Veterinary.

Finally at 10 am, Victor Aguilar arrives, and I say to the military man, "Look Sir, Dr. Aguilar is here, he is the Dean of Veterinary.  You can go with him, and you will be in good hands."  
"Victor, please look after the Colonel, he deserves it."

My ironic remark has a hint of black humour.   Julio Camey's body is waiting in his cold coffin, waiting for justice and a recognition of what has taken place.

Meanwhile, there is a quiet interval.   It allows me to appreciate the magnitude of the "Operation".   About forty troop transporter trucks and several tanks have arrived.  Trenches have been dug in the proximity of the main University buildings.  Machine guns.  Helicopters flying over the campus... officers, non commissioned officers, etc.

It looks like the invasion of Normandy.   Not only because of the unusual and unnecessary display of force, but because, for me, this was certainly the longest day of my life.

At about 11am, we were at the Chancellor’s square and talking in a close circle with the Deans of the different faculties.   Villagrán Bracamonte was convinced that the "Operation" was perceived by us as something necessary.   He was preparing to retire.   He began to shake hands with the Deans.  When my turn came, I felt revulsion, I turned my back and began to point to the helicopter flying over us.

I can not shake hands stained with blood.  And many soldiers have them stained.  Many non-university people have suffered the barbarity carried out be the military gorillas and their paramilitary allies. Someday the blood that cries out for justice,  will settle its accounts.

At about 13.30 hours, the warmongers gave signs that the operation has concluded.   My professional practice inclined me to make sure that a written regisiter, an affidavit, was made about the "results" of that brilliant “operation”.   I wanted to make sure that they hadn't reported that they had found an arsenal when, visibly, they had found nothing...

 


(Nota: José Millán-Astray y Terreros (5 de julio, 1879 -. 01 de enero 1954) fue un militar español y más tarde un abogado militar, fundador y primer comandante de la Legión Extranjera española, y una importante figura del régimen del general Francisco Franco en España durante el período de la guerra civil. Millán-Astray es quizás mejor recordado por una acalorada discusión con Miguel de Unamuno, el escritor vasco y filósofo, el 12 de octubre de 1936, cuando Millán-Astray gritó: "¡Muera la inteligencia! ¡Viva la muerte!" en respuesta a los gritos de los falangistas de Franco.

Unamuno replicó: "Este es el templo de la inteligencia, y yo soy su sumo sacerdote Usted está profanando su dominio sagrado. Va a ganar, porque tiene suficiente fuerza bruta. Pero no convencer. Para convencer hay que.... persuadir, y para persuadir se necesita algo que le falta: la razón y el sentido en la lucha. Veo que es inútil pedirle que piense en España ".)

 

.....Rolando Sanabra Morgan, Secretary of the Faculty of Law, was waiting patiently.   I had warned him that we would have to do that legal register, and that the time had come.   With great serenity, we approached the "Head of Operations".

"Sirs,” Roland Morgan started, “the Chancellor has instructed me to write an act in where I state the results of this operation.   I am a notary.   You two, the heads of this operation, can you give me your names, your military rank, and show me the order to raid the University? "

With great embarrassment the highest in rank responded:
"Look, Sir, we follow our superior's orders, which we can not show you.   We can not give our names."

"Well, I will write that in the minutes.   But now tell me what have you found? "

"Well, it was no big deal.   We found an old military coat in the closet of the concierge of the Faculty of Engineering.   We also found some subversive books, and a newsletter by the FAR".  (Nb. Revolutionary Armed Forces)

“ Is that it? "

" Yes," answered both, "that's it ."   And, sensing that I could ask them to sign, they boarded a jeep hastily and drove away.

The Affidavit appeared in the newspapers, but only in those which agreed to insert it as a paid-for notice. (The press also played a negative role on many occasions like this.)

That Pyrrhic operation, with its poor results, allowed me, as the Chancellor, when I addressed the University Council, to justly call it  ‘Operation Ridiculous".

The army could have avoided to be ridiculed, but they have now become, - as Arciniegas says - an internal occupation army.   This was a great victory for our armed forces (ours?).    To attack a helpless university city,  whose only weapon was and still is intelligence, courage and honesty, serving the best popular causes.

Sure, we would like to see the army on our campus, but sitting in their classrooms, learning, talking, feeling and sharing the respect for thought and learning.   And not as mules, crammed into barracks,  defending causes that are not their own,  killing people who are their sisters and brothers, s tooping to the role of torturers,  humbling themselves before the White Hand, NOAS, Eye by Eye (all anti-comunist, clandestine organizations).   These organizations are taking 'justice' into their own hands, calling communism about anything that smells of forward thinking.

That is why, a few hours later, at the funeral of Camey, I said with all my heart, that the intelligencia never die, even if there 'many Millán Astrays' in the world.

 

(Nb. José Millán-Astray y Terreros (July 5, 1879 – January 1, 1954) was a Spanish soldier and later a military lawyer, the founder and first commander of the Spanish Foreign Legion, and a major early figure of Gen. Francisco Franco's regime in Spain during the period of their Civil War.   Millán-Astray is perhaps best remembered for a heated public argument with Miguel de Unamuno, the Basque writer and philosopher, on October 12, 1936,  when Millan-Astray reportedly shouted out, " ¡Muera la inteligencia! ¡Viva la Muerte!" ("Death to intelligence! Long live death!" to the cheers of Franco's Falangist supporters.

Unamuno replied: "This is the temple of intelligence, and I am its high priest.   You are profaning its sacred domain.   You will win, because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince.   In order to convince it is necessary to persuade, and to persuade you will need something that you lack:  reason and right in the struggle.   I see it is useless to ask you to think of Spain."

Maria Ruth del Rosario Cuevas Molina
Ana Lucía Cuevas Molina