Statement from Alejandra Garcia at the close of her Fathers trial
Good afternoon, gentlemen of the Court, today is a momentous day for my family, for myself and it would be for Fernando Garcia, since based on the conclusions reached before this court, and the evidence submitted and analyzed, you will sentence those held responsible for the crime.
If Fernando Garcia could be present today, he would probably have identified the accused as those responsible for his illegal detention and forced disappearance, and could affirm that on February 18, 1984 he and Danilo Chinchilla had agreed to meet Lucrecia Molina Theisen that morning in the market located in Zone 11 near the Clover intersection, a meeting that never took place.
This due to the fact that both of them were illegally detained, as stated by Danilo Chinchilla in his recording, which also states that along with Fernando Garcia he was stopped by the police in an arrogant abuse of power, suffering beatings, insults and humiliation for allegedly being communists…perhaps the authorities forgot that the police are a state institution that exists to look after the wellbeing of its citizens and was not created to humiliate them.
Fernando Garcia was a citizen of this country like any other, who like all citizens deserved the respect and attention of state security institutions. Fernando Garcia was not a criminal, a psychopath, murderer or terrorist…on the contrary…Fernando Garcia was a human being filled with dreams and aspirations for his life and his family, a man with a promising future ahead, someone who aspired to be a professional and work like anyone else, who dreamed of growing old with his family, to share jokes with his brothers, laughter and sadness…in sum, Fernando Garcia was a wonderful person and was also my dad.
I wonder, what was the crime committed by my dad that would allow those who stand here accused to take upon themselves the right to decide on the life and fate of my father, as if they had the right to completely change the fate of my family.
Fernando Garcia was not committing any crime on the day of his disappearance…to think differently is not a crime, to have ideas different than others, and to not accept everything we see and hear, is a right…it is our right to think freely…what kind of society would it be if we could not express our views?
From childhood we are taught to believe in our ideas and fight for them, so is that a crime??
Fernando Garcia and many more thousands of disappeared believed in a different Guatemala, better for all of us, and isn’t this what we all want?
Fernando Garcia was a simple man of clear convictions, who believed that if each of us added our grain of sand we could make Guatemala a better country.
I have no words to describe how difficult it was for my mom to explain to a little girl that her father had disappeared, without knowing if he is dead or alive, if he will return home or not. These things are not easy to explain, much less to a little girl that lost her father when she was a year and nine months old, and kept asking for him every moment.
I do not seek revenge, neither would my dad have, but I do seek the truth, I want to know where he was taken, I want to know why he wasn’t formally charged, I want to know who gave the order, I want to know where he was taken and who he was handed over to, I want to know what happened to him. My heart cannot rest and be at peace without the truth, as harsh as it may be, the truth always heals the soul.
If my father is dead, he deserves to be buried like the beloved man that he was and still is, his name deserves dignity, he was not a sewer rat that can be killed with impunity, he was a human being.
While it is true that Fernando Garcia cannot be present, I am here, his daughter who has become his clamoring voice to demand justice for him, and I will do so until the day I can see him again, dead or alive.
Thank you very much.