In the summer of 1983, eight Peruvian opposition journalists traveled to Uchuraccay, a remote corner of the high Andes to investigate rumors of extrajudicial killings related to the fight against the Shining Path. Shortly after arriving in Uchuraccay, all eight men—and their guide—were grotesquely and brutally murdered.
Who committed the crime has long been up for debate. The government commission looking into the crime (led by novelist Mario Vargas Llosa) declared that the reporters were lynched by villagers who confused them with terrorists. At the time, the commission—in all seriousness—reported that the Indian villagers were unable to tell the difference between weapons and camera equipment.
The more likely suspect in the assassinations is the Peruvian military. Families of the journalists and their supporters believe that the murders were staged to prevent any unsavory stories about illegal military tactics from getting into the press. As with most things involving the Peruvian military, the investigation into their deaths was riddled with ineptitude and inconsistency—not to mention tragedy: a number of witnesses died under suspicious circumstances themselves. Moreover, local military personnel never cooperated with investigators.
Twenty-three years later, Oscar Retto, the father of one of the slain men, and a documentary crew travelled to the scene to ask the questions that should have been asked 25 years ago. His journey is covered in Uchuraccay, an upcoming documentary from independent film director Carmen Valdivieso, who knew a number of the men personally. The film has been shot and partially edited (there’s a trailer online), but a lack of funding has prevented the work from being completed. Please consider making a donation, however small, to support this important documentary. Journalism in Peru is a tenuous thing. The families of the slain men will be deeply appreciative.
(Via Least Wanted.)
Posted by C-Monster.