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"Dos Erres" Conviction

Oct 8, 2013

Last week, one of the lieutenants in the Guatemalan army squad that killed more than 200 people at the village of Dos Erres in 1982 was found guilty of immigration fraud in a court in California. The Dos Erres massacre was the subject of an episode we aired last year, called What Happened At Dos Erres, about a Guatemalan immigrant named Oscar Ramirez Castañeda who discovered, after decades of not knowing, that he had been at the massacre as a young child and had lost most of his family there. In the decade since the massacre, the lieutenant, Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, has lived between the United States and Canada, and for a while operated several karate schools in Southern California. He was found guilty of lying to the U.S. government about his involvement in the massacre when he applied for citizenship. Oscar traveled to California from his home in Massachusetts to be at the trial.

Sosa is now the eighth soldier who was involved in the Dos Erres massacre to be convicted in either Guatemala or the U.S. Seven soldiers remain at large.

One of the reporters of our story, Sebastian Rotella, has been following the Sosa trial for ProPublica. You can read more about the trial and testimony and also the conviction at their web site.

Pictured: Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes as a young soldier. Photo by Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica.