Doc shows activism resulting from mass shootings in parkland



The guard

El Salvador’s House of Horror becomes a gruesome symbol of the war against women

Authorities have attempted to portray the ex-police officer, who can bury up to 40 bodies, mostly women, in his house as a mad psychopath, despite nine other suspects being arrested. Forensic scientists work in the house of former police officer Hugo Ernesto Osorio, where at least 15 bodies and up to 40 are believed to be buried. Photo: Marvin Recinos / AFP / Getty Images Day after day, they flock to the emerald green greenhouse on Estévez Street looking for news from loved ones who have disappeared without a trace. “They say there are many, maybe 40,” said Jessenia Elizabeth Francia, a 38-year-old housewife who had traveled 20 miles to reach the heavily guarded building under a punishing midday sun. Francia had come to Chalchuapa, a small town in western El Salvador, looking for her son Luis Fernando, who disappeared seven years ago at the age of 16 Find Peace, ”she said, clutching a cell phone with a photo of her missing person Child and the words: “I have faith. “Others were looking for daughters or wives, while Central American women feared they had fallen victim to the homeowner, former police officer and alleged serial killer Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chávez, who fears that he has buried his victims inside. “She was 24 years old,” said Candelaria Carranza Castro, a silver-haired mother whose daughter went missing in July 2015 and who visited the house on Monday. “Whatever happened, I want to find her.” The mass grave at 11 Estévez Street was discovered on the night of May 7th after neighbors called the police after hearing a young woman’s screams. When the police arrived more than an hour later, she and her mother were dead – reportedly beaten to death with an iron pipe by Osorio, who confessed to the crimes. While they were taking the 51-year-old into custody, police stumbled across the half-buried bodies of two men on the terrace of the house and, as they started digging, found more bodies in a series of pits. Authorities have not yet disclosed the exact number of bodies buried inside, but the excavators, which are still examining their foundations, believe there could be as many as 40 and no fewer than 15. Officials say they believe most of the victims are young women who Osorio lured home by allegedly promising to help them find work in Mexico. At least three were young children, ages two, seven, and nine. Nine other suspects were arrested, including human traffickers and other former police and military personnel, suggesting that Osorio was also using his secret cemetery to dispose of other people’s victims. “We never expected anything like this from him,” said Arnoldo González, a 40-year-old neighbor, as the searching families continued to arrive in front of Osorio’s one-story residence in a village on the rural outskirts of Chalchuapa. “He was always on his motorcycle and seemed very easy going and normal. Sometimes he told us that he worked as a private detective or bodyguard, but we never suspected anything because he had been a police officer before, ”said González, one of the few locals who dared to express his thoughts. The case has sent shock waves across El Salvador, putting the spotlight on the femicide emergency across Latin America, from Argentina to Mexico, which killed 4,000 women in 2019 alone. El Salvador has long been considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. This reality is forcing many to flee north to seek refuge in the United States. Last year, according to Ormusa (Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace), 541 women with 6.7 million inhabitants disappeared in the country. “The serial killer of women in Chalchuapa is not an isolated incident,” said feminist and social activist Morena Herrera. “It is an incident based on two factors: society’s tolerance of violence against women and the complicity of the institutions. El Salvador’s institutions care very little about women’s lives – and I’m not just talking about the police, ”added Herrera. A relative looking for his family member in front of the house in Chalchuapa. Photo: Bryan Avelar Since taking office two years ago, El Salvador’s populist President Nayib Bukele has claimed a dramatic drop in the country’s homicide rate, with the average number of daily murders falling from nine to three. However, questions have been raised as to whether this reduction was the result of the government’s tough security push or a secret deal with Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), El Salvador’s largest criminal gang. Last year the Salvadoran news group El Faro released a cache of leaked documents alleging government officials persuaded jailed gang bosses to “pacify” the country’s notoriously vulgar streets and offer political support in exchange for better treatment. Others point out that while the homicide rate has fallen in El Salvador, the disappearance is increasing in a country where thousands disappeared during the 1979-1992 civil war. The mass grave has further undermined claims that 39-year-old Bukele, whose increasingly authoritarian behavior is causing international concern, is that El Salvador is becoming safer. Authorities – apparently unsettled by the outcry over what local newspapers are calling “the slaughter of Chalchuapa” – have tried to portray the murders as the insane acts of a deranged “psychopath”, although the arrests of former security forces seemed to undercut them Narrative. “Thanks to the swift action of our officers and investigators, he will be in prison for at least 100 years,” tweeted El Salvador’s social media-savvy president last Friday, vowing Osorio would never enjoy direct sunlight again. Earlier in the day, Attorney General Rodolfo Delgado had attacked the “pathological” media coverage, while Security Minister Gustavo Villatoro criticized “malicious” journalists who were using the case to draw broader conclusions about the security situation in the Central American country and the US growth Disappearance. A man is seen near the home of former policeman Hugo Ernesto Osorio in Chalchuapa, El Salvador, last week. Photo: Marvin Recinos / AFP / Getty Images For families of El Salvador’s missing people, the discovery has given a tiny glimmer of hope that there might be at least some answers for those searching for missing relatives. A security officer guarding the scene said up to 15 people arrived each day looking for answers and remains. On Friday, the Guardian met six families who had come to Chalchuapa, about 50 miles northwest of the capital, San Salvador, in hopes that their loved ones could finally be found. Sitting in the shade of a tree near Osorio’s secluded area, Francia remembered sending her son out on August 30, 2014 to buy lunch in Ahuachapán, a town 30 minutes west of Chalchuapa. “He left and I never saw him again,” she said, describing her relentless search to find him. “We looked for him in hospitals, we looked for him in morgues, we looked everywhere … but it was all in vain,” said Francia, as white-clad excavators came out of the property and hauled wheelbarrows full of dirt. Carranza said she was shown a photo album of personal items found in the house in case they belonged to her daughter Arely Aracely Antillón. “I saw clothes, shoes and jewelry,” said the woman, who perfectly remembered what her child was wearing when she disappeared. “But there’s nothing of her in there, nothing at all.” “Maybe you will find something later, you never know,” said her sister, who had accompanied her to the house, calmly. Carranza, cradling a portrait of the child she hadn’t seen in six years, replied, “Maybe.”



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