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The "Desembarco"


Lidia remembers the 1986 "Desembarco" invasion of Arcatao and tells how she was threatened during the weeks prior to the invasion.


The Desembarco was in 1986. That was when they came to kill us all. They had me in one of those dining halls that is around the corner by the town hall. They kept me there at gunpoint. The lieutenant insulted me and called me a such and such, old guerrilla woman. A woman that wasn’t at all agreeable had told everyone that we were guerrillas. That’s why Colonel Cáceres came to massacre the entire town. The lieutenant was carrying a long list with him. A young soldier who was from here asked me, “Ma’am, what is your name?”. “My name is so and so”, I said. “Well, you are on the lieutenant’s list,” he explained. The woman who lives on that corner mentioned a lot of people from here, and the lieutenant put them all on the list. It’s a lot of people. Colonel Cáceres was coming to kill us because he heard we were guerrillas.

And when he came to get you at the dining hall, what

A colonel came and called me an old guerrilla woman. He would call me an old whore. He would keep calling me an old whore. That was a big operation and they made a mid-long list. I told him, “well, I may be an old woman. However, in this world nobody was born from a virgin. We were all born from an ‘old woman’, like you keep calling
me.” He threatened to kill me five times. I asked the young soldier, “what is the lieutenant going to do with that list?” He answered, “he’ll see what to do.” Fifteen days after that, he ordered the Desembarco, to kill us all. They didn’t end up killing us because they captured those two journalists. But they were ready to machine-gun us all.