Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes

In June the Canadian government was implored to respect its obligation to prosecute crimes against humanity. Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes has been living in Canada since his release from a US prison this spring.

Orantes in 2011
40 years ago the special unit he commanded tortured and murdered more than 200 people, including children, wiping out the Guatemalan village of Las Dos Erres. Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, 63, is accused of slaughtering villagers using a grenade, gun and sledgehammer. He paints himself as an instructor at a military training school, working with local communities. He actually was an officer of an elite military death squad known as the Kaibiles. Sosa Orantes served 10 years for immigration fraud in the US, where he also held citizenship until it was revoked in 2014.
In the early 80s, the Guatemalan military junta began a ruthless campaign against guerrilla groups that wiped out 440 villages, killing over 75,000. Sosa Orantes was a leader of a special forces group that led a mission to Las Dos Erres in December 1982. The military killed at least 162 civilians, including 67 children. Women were raped and children were thrown into an 18-metre dry well. "The members of the special forces group killed their victims by hitting them on the head with a sledgehammer, by hitting their heads on a tree, shooting them, or by slitting their throats."
"I was not in Las Dos Erres," he wrote. Sosa Orantes says that in late 1982 and early 1983 he was travelling to towns as part of a goodwill effort, handing out notebooks, pens, chalk, educational games and sports equipment for children. Sosa Orantes married an American woman and attained U.S. citizenship in Sept 2008. In 2010, the U.S. discovered he had committed immigration fraud by concealing his past and he was arrested the following year in Lethbridge.
In ordering his extradition, the Alberta Court said Sosa Orantes was one of the commanding officers who decided to murder the villagers.