30 Years After Massacre, Family Comes Together Again
The man with piercing green eyes began to shake as he stared past the checkpoint, down a crowded corridor into an unfamiliar airport terminal.
It would be the first time Oscar Alfredo Ramírez Castañeda, now 32 and living in Framingham, would meet his biological father since a squad of government soldiers slaughtered his mother and eight brothers and sisters 30 years ago in their small village during the height of the civil war in Guatemala.
Until last year, when he received a call from prosecutors in Guatemala and agreed to submit to a DNA test, Ramírez had no idea that as a young child he had been abducted by an army lieutenant who led that assault, and raised as a member of his family. Or that his real father was still alive.
On Monday, as his own young children giggled with excitement and held signs to welcome their new grandfather to Newark Liberty International Airport, Ramírez was not sure what to feel. “I’m nervous,” he said. “Anxious.”
Ramírez said he grew up in a loving family and lacks any grudge against Lieutenant Oscar Ovidio Ramírez Ramos, the deputy commander of the notorious squad of commandos that killed more than 250 men, women, and children and wiped Dos Erres, his village in northern Guatemala, off the map.
A court found three former commandos who participated in the attack on Dos Erres guilty of murder.
“It’s very hard for me,” Ramírez would say later. “I can’t change what happened in my life. I just can’t. He was good to me. First of all, I didn’t get killed, and then he didn’t treat me bad.”