Two decades have passed since peace accords were signed ending Guatemala’s decades-long civil war, but many of the worst crimes associated with the traumatic conflict continue to go unpunished. Among those, one particularly heinous massacre carried out in the remote village of Dos Erres dogged advocates and human rights lawyers for years, and the new documentary Finding Oscar, directed by Ryan Suffern, follows the international effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Over two days in early December 1982, government forces took Dos Erres hostage in search of a stockpile of stolen weapons, and proceeded to rape and torture residents before massacring over 200 innocent people – including 67 children. The problem for prosecutors looking to bring the architects of the massacre to trial is that only two witnesses survived – and they happened to be infant children who were kidnapped by soldiers that same day.
Finding Oscar documents the efforts of a diverse team of advocates to track down the two children – now grown men living in the US and Canada – and find the truth behind this horrific chapter in a war that ultimately took over 200,000 lives. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film employs chilling archival footage alongside powerful testimonials and poetic imagery to tackle a difficult subject matter.
Thankfully, this particular story ends on a hopeful note, suggesting that with persistent efforts and international solidarity, Guatemala can some day begin to bury the last remnants of this devastating conflict.