All News & Blogs
Carlos Mauricio talks to eighth-graders at A. G. Wright Middle School about torture in his native El Salvador.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
AMY FLOWERS UMBLE
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Carlos Mauricio started running as soon as he saw the soldiers. After all, in El Salvador in 1983 an approaching group of army men meant only one thing: You would soon disappear, joining the ranks of thousands of civilians who simply vanished.
The soldiers followed, capturing Mauricio and plunging him into a nightmare of three weeks of electroshocks and beatings.
"But I am a very, very lucky man," Mauricio told students at A.G. Wright Middle School on Friday morning.
He lived to tell his story--and for the past few years, Mauricio has traveled the world, telling his story so people know that torture and genocide didn't stop after the Holocaust.
"The intention after the Holocaust was this will never happen again," he said, "However, it is happening again, in front of our eyes."
Each year, students in an advanced English class at A.G. Wright learn about genocide.
"They're mature enough, they're smart enough to learn about this," teacher Robert Long said. "And they want to do something about it."
As part of that lesson, students visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington. And last year, they entered an essay contest held by the Jewish Community Relations Council.
An eighth-grade A.G Wright student won that contest with an essay about the civil war in El Salvador. As a reward, the council offered to sponsor a speaker to talk to students at the Stafford middle school.
Mauricio spoke to the students Friday morning.
"It's no longer my personal story; it's the story of many who couldn't come to tell about their stories because they were killed," Mauricio said. "In a way, it is my responsibility to come and tell my story."
That story began just outside of the University of El Salvador, where Mauricio taught science in 1982. He said he couldn't outrun the soldiers, so he started screaming, to make sure there were witnesses to his kidnapping.
Blindfolded and handcuffed, Mauricio was brought inside, to a room he couldn't see but nonetheless recognized as a torture chamber.
"I smelled something so bad I turned my head," he said. "It was the smell of death."