Dear Sombath…from Pablo Solón

Logo-Speak OutDear Sombath,

Today, I left Asia. Among all my memories, yours is for sure the most brief but the deepest. We met very shortly in Vientiane during the Asia Europe Peoples Forum in 2012 and we shook hands saying that we would continue chatting. But that never happened. A few months later, you were last seen at a police outpost and since then the authorities of Laos have never given an explanation of what had happened to you.

When I came to Asia, more than three years ago, I had just finished writing the book about my brother José Carlos Trujillo Oroza who was enforced disappeared in 1972 during the dictatorship of Banzer. I was able to finish his book before my mother passed away after searching for him for 40 years.  I must confess that when we presented that book I had the thought that the nightmare of enforced disappearances was something of old dictatorships. I didn’t think that I would face again a situation like that and even less in Asia.

What the government of Laos did is not only an aggression to you and your family it is a crime against humanity that denigrates the human condition. After more than two years of total impunity I don’t have any doubt that high authorities of Laos were involved in your disappearance. How can it be possible that in a country which such control of the state over the society a very well known person like you can vanish after being stopped by the police? The car you were driving that night also disappeared. There is no public investigation with full participation of the family and no one has been detained.

Cowards! Excuse me Sombath for my Latin-American blood, but I simply cannot find other words and I feel that the truth will only begin to emerge when we call them by their names: bloody cowards that use their power to get rid of those that think differently!

Those authorities that gave the order of disappearance, the others that cover them up and the officials that executed the order sooner or later will face justice. At some point the fear that now prevails in Laos will be overcome. Impunity will not last forever and they will have to face justice for what they did.

These criminals have already lost because while they were able to make disappear your body, they are powerless to eradicate the peoples memory of you. Your spirit is more alive than ever and a little bit of it is now flying with me to Bolivia, so I can introduce you to my brother and my mother that chat every sunset in the small square of the enforced disappeared in the city of La Paz that bears the name of Jose Carlos. By the way your amazing wife Shui-Meng reminds me a lot of my mother because of her courage and tenacity. It is persons like them that give us hope in the future of humanity.

Un fuerte abrazo y hasta pronto

Pablo Solón

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