Searching for Everardo: A Story of Love, War, and the CIA in Guatemala

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9780446673624: Searching for Everardo: A Story of Love, War, and the CIA in Guatemala
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Harvard-educated attorney Jennifer Harbury went to Guatemala to help refugees, and found herself drawn into a political drama that would test her beliefs, courage, and moral strength. She fell in love and married Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, better known as Commander Everardo, a Mayan Indian resistance leader. Soon after, he vanished in combat. This is the story of Harbury's search for Everardo, one that grew into an impassioned crusade to expose those responsible for the human rights abuses suffered upon the victims of Guatemala -- one woman's heroic stand against the Guatemalan oligarchy, the U.S. State Department, and the CIA.

A headline-making story of love, war, and courage, this is the personal account of an American woman and her unrelenting fight to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of her husband, a Guatemalan guerrilla leader.

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Though the civil war in Guatemala ended in December of 1996, the conflict still rages for human rights activist Jennifer K. Harbury. Searching for Everardo is an often chilling account of her search for her husband, a communist guerrilla leader, who was tortured and killed in 1992 by members of the Guatemalan army. While desperately clinging to the hope that he was still alive, Harbury spent three years battling the governments of both Guatemala and the U.S. to discover his fate, gaining insights into the covert dealings of the CIA in Guatemala.

Her contention is that members of the CIA knew what happened to her husband, but withheld the information in an attempt to cover up the actions of its agents. The Guatemalan government did a similar dance around the facts in order to hide the brutality of its own military forces. After unwavering pressure and protests, legal action, and three hunger strikes, Harbury finally forced the two governments to release the information they held on her husband and reveal the painful truth. This powerful memoir details her struggle in the most personal terms while offering a detailed--if one-sided--examination of the insidious political forces at work in the conflict.

From the Back Cover:

She is Jennifer Harbury, a Connecticut-born, Harvard-educated attorney who came to Guatemala to help protect the rights of refugees fleeing the turmoil of that country's long-running civil war. He was Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, better known as Commander Everardo, a resistance leader dedicated to ending the Guatemalan oligarchy's brutality against its own people, and a Mayan Indian who reached the top ranks of the rebel army. Born a peasant and having grown up illiterate, he ran away to join the rebels at age eighteen. By the time he was thirty-five, he had already lost two loves to the war and most of his friends. They met in 1990 in guerilla camp at the Tajumulco volcano. He was emerging from the shadows of the pines with his distinctive mountain walk and old man's eyes. Knowing the odds were against them, they fell in love and married anyway. During combat in March 1992, Everardo vanished, and Harbury began her long, fiercely desperate search to find him. Two governments - one of them our own - blatantly lied to her. She would endure the nightmare of watching bodies unearthed from unmarked graves. Eventually, she would stage three hunger strikes - two in Guatemala City and another in front of the White House - to force officials to disclose their files. Her crusade attracted the attention of the world, galvanized public protest against the thousands of Latin American victims of official injustice, and inspired congressional investigations into long-standing abuses by the State Department and the CIA.

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