…and that was before commandos dropped out of helicopters and started shooting up the place.
The Mexican eyewitness Lucía Morett Álvarez counted the bombs and managed to survive, only to find herself trashed in the “free” press as a member of “Mexico’s FARC support group” and treated with contempt by the Mexican consul forced to visit her hospital bedside. Blanche Petrich interviewed Morett Álvarez’s father for La Jornada.
Lucía Morett Álvarez, the sole Mexican survivor of the Colombian bombardment of the FARC camp in Ecuador, was unable to call home until March 2nd, when she was already in a military hospital in Quito. Her mother, María Jesús (Chuy) answered. “Ma,” said Morett Álvarez, “don’t be frightened, but I’ve had a little accident here in Ecuador. I’m in the hospital.”
Now, when they are together, chatting, they recall that moment and laugh until Lucía begs to stop, because the laughing hurts her wounds. But Chuy and Jorge Morett, who spoke in a telephone interview with La Jornada from Quito, were lucky their daughter survived.
The parents of Juan, Verónica Natalia, Fernando and Soren were not so lucky. Their children died. The parents of the first three are already in Quito and have been able to confirm along with the authorities of the municipal morgue, their children’s identity. The father of polytechnic student Soren Ulises, is still waiting.
“We’ve already seen everyone, hugged and cried together. They found the bodies of their children in awful conditions. Can you imagine a father having to identify his child by a hand or foot?” said Morett, an anthropologist like his wife, and rural sociology teacher at the Autonomous University of Chapingo.
Planning an Association for Parents of the Massacred
Brought together by the tragedy, the Mexicans have begun to talk about an idea: “We’d like to form an association for parents of the massacre at Lago Agrio. I don’t know what we’re going to call it. We’d like to formalize the group when everyone’s together.”
For Morett, the conduct of his country’s authorities pains him. “The Mexican government has kept silent and in this silence is complicity. Our children, and I say this because I already feel for all of them as though they were my own, were unarmed Mexicans, civilians massacred while they were sleeping. And the government’s response is that it will wait for the investigations to see what they were doing there. It shouldn’t be like that.”
In his opinion, “In conformance with international law, Mexico ought to deeply condemn Colombia and whoever supported them in this attack. And this implies a contradiction for the present government.”
He complains specifically of the insensitivity shown by Mexico’s ambassador, José Ignacio Piña, the Foreign Ministry’s director of Latin American affairs, sent to Quito to attend to the case of the Mexicans felled in the Colombian attack. “He arrived at the hospital with Ambassador Héctor Romero. For the first time, in front of them, our daughter was able to tell in detail the horror she’d suffered. In one particularly hard part, very emotional, she told how they’d counted up to 12 bombs falling.”
“I was very moved as I listened to her. Imagine, as a father, hearing something like that. The most terrible thing for her was the sexual abuse she suffered when the first soldiers arrived, the humiliating and obscene comments of the Colombian soldiers facing a wounded woman. That seems to me an unpardonable offense.”
“Later Lucía praised the kindness of the Ecuadorans and contrasted it with the coldness of the Mexican consul who’d come to visit her in the hospital for a few minutes. And she appealed to them as ambassadors. I believe they didn’t care for that, because Piña left without bothering to say goodbye to her.”
In addition to enduring “the most distressing days of our lives” because of the tragedy, the families of the victims “have had to put up with certain press statements, especially Mexican, who take the information supplied by intelligence agencies as the absolute truth, without any analysis, that their fallen children were subversives, guerrillas, practically drug traffickers.
Jorge Morett exclaims, “It’s disgusting! Moreover, since Lucía is the only survivor of the group, they brand her as the leader, the coordinator, the one most to blame. Or as one newspaper here said offensively, ‘the mera mera guerillera.’ I don’t know how they can say that about these kids.”
To the contrary, he insists, the young people were “nonconformists, each one with their causes, their struggles. They’re the most courageous people in the country. Youth with social concerns, with a sense of responsibility to their country and their people. If our children had such concerns, if they wanted to change so much injustice, we must not disappoint them. Although many years may pass before we achieve justice for our children, we’re not going to give up. Just like the Chileans, who waited so long for their genocide to be recognized, we’ll fight against this atrocious violence.”
In the midst of speaking, Morett chokes up: “Chuy and I are the only people in this group who are lucky enough to be with our daughter, to be able to caress her in her hospital bed.”
He points out that for her 26 years, Lucía carries a tremendous weight for having been the only survivor. “Her mother and I realized how her head is roiling with thoughts. We want to let her thoughts flow free, to say whatever she wants, that she tells us how it was, how she feels.”
Her immediate concern is for the two Colombians, Doris Bohórquez y Marta Pérez, who also survived and share the hospital room with her daughter. “We’ve adopted them. Now we bring apples for the three of them, shampoo and scrunchies for their hair. If it weren’t for the Ecuadoran human rights organizations, these women would be quite alone.”