Accused of lying about military past, two Central Americans face extradition

An officer accused of participating in Guatemala's Dos Erres massacre lost his appeal to block extradition to the US, while a former Salvadorian general is fighting potential extradition to Spain.

• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, centralamericanpolitics.blogspot.com. The views expressed are the author's own.

Jorge Orantes Sosa is accused of having participated in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre in which the Guatemalan army killed over 200 civilians. Yesterday, a Canadian judge denied an appeal to block his extradition to the United States where he faces perjury charges.

According to court records supplied by the United States for the extradition hearing, Sosa misled American authorities about his military service and participation in the crimes when he applied for U.S. citizenship in California in 2008.

Sosa is accused of being one of several commanding officers of a squad of “Kaibiles,” an elite commando force accused of massacring the villagers of Dos Erres in December 1982.

Former Salvadoran general Inocente Montano is set to appear in a Boston courtroom today related to his lying on immigration papers. He faces the possibility of jail time in the US and, eventually, extradition to Spain for trial once his immigration charges are resolved in the US. He is not wanted in El Salvador. Sosa, on the other hand, is wanted by authorities in Guatemala who are looking to try him for war crimes.

I sincerely hoped that the legal proceedings begun in Spain, Guatemala, and elsewhere in Latin America would force Salvadorans to begin to chip away at the impunity that has reigned since 1993. While there have been important apologies by President Funes for the Salvadoran state's roles in the Romero assassination, Mozote massacre,  and Jesuits murders, it doesn't look like he or the country are prepared to do much more.
  
Perhaps it's possible that Mitt Romney and Bain Capital's alleged ties to Salvadoran death squads will force a reexamination of the US and Salvadoran state's roles in 1980s El Salvador. I'm not sure about this one yet.

Mike Allison is an associate professor in the Political Science Department and a member of the Latin American and Women's Studies Department at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.  You can follow his Central American Politics blog here.

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