Suspiro

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
suspiro is a young salvadoran guerrilla, fighting for the socialist FMLN.
He has a thirst for power, but is there something else to his seemingly endless appetite for power

Submitted: February 06, 2015

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Submitted: February 06, 2015

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My fighting experience with the FMLN was minimal, as was my confidence, for I was a skim 5'5 and a nickel above 120, but here I was, holding out gun and spear against an army of a thousand men. Hi, my name John Joaquin mesclán, but my friends call me suspiro, probably because my skin is white and my form powdery. In the maelstrom of left wing guerrilla fighting, I am easy to spot among the morass of tan skinned mestizo youths, but I am quick to throw a good grenade. Any way, my first fight was technically in '84, when i accidentally shot a pellet gun at an already wounded American scout, I did not mean to kill him, but he thought I did, so he immediately shot back, in a panic, I riddled him with pellets, shooting him soft in the belly. I was seven years old then. I still am. When the FMLN lost the war in '89, I was taken with the troops to Cuba. There, nothing but misery touched the dry shores of my soul, but it is there where I gained the name suspiro and immediately lost my life. It was there that we hatched plans to return to El Salvador and overthrow the awful duarte regime, one of the strong men coming from an immense line of strong men. I became close friends with a young boy named Mauricio funes, he was of the ambitious type, and he spent his time reading books, with the curtain around his hammock drawn. " what does Mauri do all day?" Asked one companion named Pedro Paul Ortega, " nothing" i responded " his wild hedonism forces him to masturbate". Mauricio and I used to play a game, where we would try to draw pictures with the wild tropical flowers by arranging them. I was awful, but Mauricio could make an impressive soviet flag with the hibiscuses. By the time we returned to El Salvador, the revolution seemed to be beginning, the poverty and surreal hunger that shrouded the countryside like a thick, grey blanket seemed to thicken, the urchins where in worse fettle, everywhere you looked, poverty gnawed at your eyes, like a starved dog begging for scraps. The greatest indignity was the u.s flag, the old Stars and Stripes, was raised above the flag of, "la republica".  That night, we slept in a barn, a species of revolutionary fervor evaporating out of us into the atmosphere. The morning rose into an ethereal gray.  armed with extra guns, we where ready. The first group of peasants joined instantly, and off we set, singing the revolutionary song, our dry sweet voices filling the air with hope. The year was 1993, we where ready for war. It was a rag tag group of 170 men, 100 of our ranks where angry peasants. As we rode in our 1976 red pickups, with a hammer and sickle motif emblazoned the far side, the peasant  women on the ground cheered, the fervor spreading to their hearts as well. Some waved small red squares, others waved the el salvadorean flag. We neared chalatenango, the nucleus of the bigger department of the same name. The authoritarian regime had no idea we would strike. We made our entrance rather foppishly, instead of crawling off of the vehicle, we rode in on them, singing like maniacs, raising a whole lot of FMLN flags. As we rode deeper into the town, the rather whitish Art Deco type Caribbean architecture began to make me sentimental, you know, when your sixteen and suddenly everything is super dramatic? Well, there I was, riding in on a big military mission, decked out in fatigue pants, a new white shirt, a real satin red scarf, and leather boots, bawling my eyes out. My mom, I recall was a female deacon at ebenezer Iglesias Bautista, our church. But still, I remained, mortified, hormonal, and prepared for battle. Soon, as we drove into the Main Street, the stereo boys cranked up la internacional and the leaders shot fire crackers, as if it was a revolutionary fanfare declaring the presence of the savior, the Salvador of the Salvador.  

El pueblo UNIDO jamas sera vencido"
In front of us, lay a grey blue sky, with hues of fresh morning orange, a small crumbling building, and 60 or so army men...
" atención salvadoreños traicioneros, todos están bajo arresto, bájate de tus camiones, dejas la armas, y te dejamos vivo, si no, el infierno tiene espació para hombres como ustedes"  said a large, white skinned man, by his sheer amount of metals, I could tell he had rank."come puta, maricones" yelled one of our comrades, obviously directing it at one of them.  The ranked one repeated his demand more or less, and this time we listened, we got off the cars, but we did not leave our weapons. "viva la revolucion" yelled our leader and instantly, we charged, scattering everywhere, some of us his behind walls, others climbed into trees, the unlucky few stayed on the pavement, not to move again. Some of the army began to chase us, but most stood there in a confused reverie. I ran off into a tree, shooting at the confused army men for what seemed like ages. It wasn't until their commander called that they began shooting, already down 33% of their men. Since our boys where scattered, we lost fewer than 22, mostly peasants. The army men retreated, and for a moment I felt for the dreadful sense of paranoia that must overwhelm them, since our men where spread out and hiding, ready to give them a hellicious taste of lead. Night fell,and I looked across at the church, which looked much more inviting than this tree. I avoided sleep, which was not hard considering the chattering of the spider monkeys known as panchitas and the blood lustful Mosquitos kept me alert. It was about four in the morning when I confirmed my first real casualty. The dim red light of the morning lit the road, when i noticed a small, round hole near my tree. I thought nothing of it until I saw something brown and green undulating, it was a military cap, without much thought, the suspect moved his arm out, it was dressed in camo, army camo. I squealed, being very alone. The suspect heard, cocked his gun, and reflexively I shot my gun. His arm was grazed, I took no chances, I rained him with bullets until I
His head did not resemble anything head-like. I surprisingly felt very little. 
I shot into the air, when no one came, I wriggled down the tree in a heroic struggle to make it to the church that was literally 50 feet away.  I darted across the pot-hole ridden asphalt, into the slightly sagging church. I lurched my way into the church, silently crawling through the dilapidated pews, desperately trying to find a hiding spot. My frantic search ended with the discovery of a ladder  I feverishly ascended, winding up in the rafters, on a about six feet wide. Despite my historic resistance, I fell into a hazy sleep. 

When I awoke, the church was full of revolutionaries, a surprising mass of them, since we lost some in the battle that ensued. " Hoye suspiro" yelled the familiar drawl of my boy Mauricio. He climbed into the rafters looking like an escarabajo. "Hey, sus, where were you?, most of our unit ran to the country side, we rallied up almost all of the campesinos." "Well, I was having buddy time with my esse Jesus, but I got a guy!" " big deal, our unit got 40, the rest fled, today we will storm the town hall!". This was exiting. My first ever takeover!  All around me, the revolutionary guerrilla 
Milled around the church, some smoking cigars, others eating day old stiff tortillas, it was quite the scene. My intellectual compass told me it was a botero scene. It was when I spaced out that Mauricio began to do his little "game". I slapped his hand. " atención camaradas, la lucha para la liberación de las parias salvadoreñas empieza en los momentos actuales. Hace casi veinte años que los cinco partidos izquierdistas se unieron para luchar contra la amenaza del imperialismo yanqui. Hoy el sueño de los fundadores del FMLN que han fallecido y de Farabundo Martí se van a realizar. hoy, en una hora, la grupa guerrilla con los quintos campesinos que han elegido la lucha por los derechos, vamos a marchar en el ayuntamiento. ¡Viva la revolución!" It was after that that we troops marched out to the tune of "a las barracidas" an old communist marching song written sixty odd years ago, all of us enthusiastic. When we reached the town hall, a phalanx of three lone army men drooped in front of the building. Mauricio looked expectantly at our commander, the commander nodded, and all at once, we shot our guns, two shots each, the army men stopped being men. The misery of the Main Street slums stopped their menial tasks to look at the corpses, some recoiling in fear and disgust, others celebrating. Of our army of 300, the commander split us into two groups, the bigger one staying outside while a hundred of us invaded the ceremonial citadel. I was in the delegation of people who entered the building. We climbed the stairs in a fast march, and we cut down the doors. "Atención reaccionarios, tu etapa de opresión termina en este momento. Salga con las manos arribas." The ten or so bureaucrats came out, not only with their hands up, but inching forward on their knees . I stepped forward, and one by one I arrested them them out. We marched on, splitting into smaller groups to search for additional workers or weapons. We found none. My work being finished, I sent five young men to ascend the roof, to change the flag. The flag change was a ceremonious affair, all around me, the international played. The peasant women applauded me as I waltzed out of the building with my men, even the commander looked pleased. As the music crescendoed, the El Salvadorean flag lowered as the revolutionary flag raised to its rightful place. The peasants cheered. Chalatenango was the first piece of socialist El Salvador. We left with our nucleus of 78 men plus 40 volunteers. As we trooped out, in our pickup trucks emblazoned with the hammer-and sickle motif behind 50 or so marching soldiers, holding their hand spun red and black jacks across their chests, women handed us baskets of corn, boiled to perfection. I felt shockwaves of pride.
The next city was aguilares. We rode into the countryside, "conquistado " the peasants hearts and minds. We stopped at our first farm. As I was appointed chief of PR, I walked off our truck with thë team. The first thing that hit me was the scent of rotting wood. As we walked onto the piteous property, I noticed a lopsided green barn with mismatched palm wood gates with a single out of place jade stud. To the left, there was a small, 2.5 acre plot, evidently being utilized for a meager harvest of American gmo corn. Around the field, a slew of dull black crows slumped lazily on the stalk, occasionally pecking at the corn silk in a half baked effort to eat the corn. To the right of the barn stood a ramshackle cabin made of dubious material, with browning palm fronds on the roof to provide its modicum amounts of protection. The final piece of the puzzle was a paddock, arranged in a pentagon shape. In it was a donkey, not even, a mule, with a look of pure affront. It's coat was a dishwater colored mat, and it's muzzle was short and pug like. We trooped out, zeroing in on the dwelling. I walked up to the door, raised myself to my pure 5'5 maximum, an knocked. When I did, I neglected to remember that the majority of poor country people did not have locks, so when I knocked, I accidentally pushed the door open. Inside sat a skinny faced pilpil man with what appeared to be his teen aged son. " buenos días camarada" "buenos días señor" responded the indian in his Chaste accent "por favor no me llames señor, llama me camarada, camarada, come vives en estos condiciones tan insoportables, cada día que vives en cadenas americanas es un día que vives en afrente, y oprobio. Entonces lucha para tus derechos." "Señor, digo camarada, no se a luchar, nunca fue guerrero?" "Te enseñamos" after that, a big red and black flag was raised on his barn, and he was set up as a guard there, we also left him with army boots and some corn. We hit up four more farms, tallying up 20 more soldiers and lots of food. Night fell, and the country side between aguilares and chalatenango was all communist. Our last farm was right outside of aguilares, the twilight sky shone pink against the quintessential Latin American fruit ranch, working a giant plot of land was a few squat men in white . There was no house, no horse, but there was a large white fence and an armed guard force. A large red sign with white lettering read " del rio fruit co" I immediately recognized the American company, and I knew this would not be a diplomatic mission. My commander had the same thought, because he commanded 200 of our 280 strong army to storm the farm. In a formation of four abreast and in 2 blocks we marched in, the pink sky surrendering into a dark blue, chanting El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido! The two guards looked at the writhing mass of rebels and ran into the ranch, speaking into their walkie talkies . Immediately, we ran into the mango orchard, hopping the gates. The workers seeing us, grabbed their tools and started running with us. The farm provided ample hiding space, but first, we where marching towards the office, collecting impromptu recruits. It was dark now, there. Where no lights, I was in disbelief at the conditions. No toilets, no lights and worst of all, little money. We marched on the paved area until we reached a large office that was lit. Somebody had a lighter and somebody else had string and bacon fat so we had torches as well. We surrounded the building, the torch light flickering. In the dim light, our faces resembled maya masks. "Hello?" Asked an American sounding voice. "Juan, speak to him, you know English?" " open up" said Juan " who are you?" Asked the increasingly anxious sounding American voice " justice for the working man, open up dirty yanqui oppressor!" "No!". The man opened the back door and broke out running, not realizing he was surrounded. We caught him. "Get down on your knees yanqui whelp" "no!" Juan, being only 15, impressed me when he took out his baton and hit the backs of his knees, the man finally kneeled. I gave the command for 140 of the men to find places to hide. "Now, fat yanqui pig, you will talk. First, where does the proprietor of this mill live?" "The franchise owner?, on an estate near the lake, he lives here during these months" "when will he get here tommorow?" " he won't be here!" "Tell him to come!" . We let him go. When I woke up in the morning, it appeared that the police where here. They stood in front of the farm in a line, being blocked by a group of new armed peasants. The owner of this exploitation mill came in through the back, i ran to meet him, through the rows of mango trees. I saw him, he was a chubby sort, a bulbous undulating belly with a bald undulating head to match. The bright blue sky was cloudless as I cocked my gun, ready to take him out. The first shot I did landed in the shed behind him. He turned and started walking towards my perch. I shot him in both legs and he fell. He saw me and started calling the police from what looked like a thin black brick. Two comrades came from their perches, and helped me pick up his body, he was still alive. We got back to the main settlement, where the nucleus of fifty sat eating mangos, when they saw, they each went looking for supplies. One came back with a green wheel board, another a lamppost and we strung up his body despite his delirious pleas. Upon his face we wrote oppressor and we set off wheeling him around the farm. The white collar farm workers we arrested and sent to chalatenango. On the office building, we hoisted the FMLN flag. News of the revolution spread around the area, we sent a small delegation to go east to the communist party headquarters and north to the liberal party. Our commander used the cell phone to tell our old leader in the west to gather revolutionary troops. 
After 9 days on a detour, we made it to San Salvador and our auxiliary rebels took over most of the district of metapan, which was not very guarded. Unfortunately, the army was on alert and had decided that three weeks was enough. Our group was now five hundred, most of them we left in the country, guarding our new found territory. The army stood in their phalanxes, armed with tanks and jeeps. The army successfully quashed our attempt. We retreated back to safer ground and a month later we took over all of sensuntepeque. I was also the leader of an independent cell of 300 warriors. Cuba also sent a delegation to aid us. The revolution had grown to immense proportions in just two months. Anarchists in Santa Rosa de lime heeded the call and had almost succeeded in taking it. I was leading my division to conjutepeque, scouting the country side first. The air was heavy with a war like anger, calling my name, I could hear Mauricio whispering into my ear, " suspiro, la Victoria se nuestra" with new Cuban guns and Vietnamese jeeps, we rode through the country side. Technically this was army territory and they where on high alert, but the Cuban mortars worked fine. We stopped for lunch, I gave my men a full hour, since I get an hour and we are equals. I was eating pupusas we got from a pilpil when I saw someone move, at sixteen, I fancied myself a genius, so I thought it was a boy soldier urinating.  The thing in question fired his gun, shooting Mauricio in the foot. Mauricio, who was barefoot as a jack rabbit, screamed as the rocks from the plain sand road got in his toes. I quickly ran up to the bright yellow bush, the hot august sun beating on my scarfed neck. Behind the bush was a boy, dressed in ragged camo, cocking his gun at the wailing Mauricio. I ran up to him, turning my fatigue hat down to cover my young and white face, and kicked his gun out of his surprised hands. " señor, por favor, no me mates señor, soy un niño educable" the kid was bawling, he was probably only 13 or fourteen, it was despicable. The peasants crowded around the gates, seeing what I would do. Some yelled "paredon, paredon" others looked in fear. I felt bad, in a display of mercy, I did not shoot from a afar , to not risk missing. I put my gun to his head. " por favor, no señor!" I looks at my friend Mauricio, his foot bleeding. "Puedes decir tu último oración"  I lied. Some of the peasants cheered. I bound Mauricio's wound and we drove on.  I knew before hand that conjutepeque would be difficult, our strategy was to climb in the sewer. Once inside the sewer, I could smell the smell of oppression. As we walked in the direction of the town hall, the darkness hung over in the smell of raw sewage. I knew for a fact that in government territory, all supposed communists where being purged. Everywhere else, peasants where rising up, overthrowing town governments and raising the FMLN red and black. So as we trooped down, the stalagmites of poop impeding our already bad visual path, I stopped to wonder about my role in this revolt. We climbed out of the sewer two by two, and formed a line in front of the town hall, which was just a squat concrete building. The slums here where even more miserable, plywood castles lined the streets, smog covered the city in a death sheet of poverty. In the middle of the street stood a poster of duarte, a constant reminder of his presence. Before we overthrew this town government, we personally handed out army boots collected from dead army men for the people, we spent an hour doing so. "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido" i yelled, soon every one, every sing poor oppressed person was yelling, some cried, we marched, and the smog seemed to clear. The sun smiled at us, even the spider monkeys stopped to contemplate. On every street, among the rows of slums, peasants marched chanting the saying. Police tried to block us as we merged on the Main Street, but the poor people, in revolutionary spirit, threw rocks. Some cops even joined us. In forests and sewers and farms all over El Salvador now sat rebels, where two months ago there where none, this revolution would never die, foreign corporate farms where now owned by collectives and peasants. The army came, now realizing their mistake, and and stood there. Realizing their mistake, one of them shot. The trance immediately broke. The spider monkeys began their chatter, the parrots squawking and the army shooting. The army opened fire, killing off almost all the peasants, we split up hiding in trees and such. We retreated. But the revolution did not. This action was discovered by the press and instantly, rebellions began occurring, angry parias began having protests, and some army began leaving, joining the FMLN. The FMLN had grown to 70,000 troops vs the army of 38,000. It was time to take San Salvador. All 70,000 of us rode in, we had a total of 40 Cuban tanks, 500 jeeps, 1000 cars and 69,000 guns. We marched in from all sides, from my side we rallied up some more peasants. I was in command of a bigger legion of one thousand after conjutepeque. I loved power. The destroyed army charged at us as we walked into the street. We all ran for cover in a different part of the city. As a tercio cabeza (brigadier general) at seventeen, I was highly impressive. The church let me and some of my men hide in the basement, night fell and I was greatful for the bed. When I awoke, I took my legion of men, we snuck into the army headquarters building at the crack of dawn. Being the smallest one, I crawled throughout the vents, the drafts of air making my lips dry as I inched my thin body forward. I was above the war room of duarte himself, so without thinking, I left him a gift and scurried back. We continued fighting army scouts, shooting at them when they approached. After timing 10 minutes on my watch, I knew my deed had been done, duarte had been taken out. The city was large, and it was three when we finally cleared our 14% of it. We made it to the Capitol. It was a white, ugly thing, with an American flag atop it. Some civilians began to flee, others began to cheer. I led my legion along with the general Vigo suegras to the stairs, we invaded the citadel. A small number of Bureaucrats came to meet us., the secretary of defense signed a surrender, El Salvador was ours. The bureaucrats where sent to prison and the political prisoners liberated. On the steps of the Capitol , I stood as the secretary signed another surrender and Vigo Suegras declared himself president.
I was given the post, of chief of political activities. At 19, this job was a strange beauty to me, for I had never been chief of anything non military. Political activities was a blank term to me with little meaning, so as would be imaginable for a boy of my type, I had no Idea what it would entail. When I asked Suegras, he said it meant I was in charge of a political revolutionary guard( secret police) GRR( guardia Roja revolucionaria), weeding out of counterrevolutionary forces and advanced interrogation. I worked in the nether departments of the El Salvadoran intelligence  building, now designated the Revolutionary security center. On my way to work, I stopped to look at my reflection in a window. I felt I looked strange, for the past four years I had worn nothing but military fatigues, looking like an albino dwarf version of teenage Raul Castro. Now I wore a long military over coat with a wide red belt around my waist. My hat was the type a general wore, with one of those brims. I walked into the building, flashed my card, and instantly I walked to my destiny.
  My "office was a dingy dungeon, with grey painted walls and a few archive rooms, which now where converted to cells since we got rid of the papers. A general came to teach me my job, it was to extract confessions and secrets, I was the head of the department. My first subject was a tall man in official American army clothes. His sleeves where ripped off as was a pant leg, his black hair was shaved off and his eyes looked panicky. " Juan, necesito alguien para traducir!" Juan entered the room with a glint of triumph. " alright dog, tell us what you know about general McAllen's whereabouts" " I don't know". I told Juan to describe his torture in detail. The first thing I would do is saturate his thighs and gut with long sewing pins. Since he is confined, he will bear it. If he does not confess, I created a special punishment. I just made a concoction of animal excrement, river water, onion juice, and glucose. I attached the large, fish tank sized tankard to a tube, which is wrung up from a hook on the ceiling, so the thicker, mouth sized pipe part of the tubeline would be inserted directly into his throat. Every 20 seconds, a few drops would be deposited. Every 18 hours if needed, we would take it out to see if he is remorseful. By the time we finished our speech, he was wide eyed in fear. First came the pins, he was being interrogated for the crime of counter revolt. Each pin was slowly inserted, but this valiant knight, this long, muscular American GI would not scream, or cry, or even whimper. He simply contorted his face into a hideous expression, the type old people say would stay stuck if the wind happened to blow. But there was no wind in the dungeon. The last pin was inserted, his eyes where bleary. I walked across the cell, and grabbed the tube. Instantly, he started blubbering. His face was so piteous, his jaw was quivering. Too bad his judge was pitiless. I inserted the tube and turned on the pump. As the brown liquid started to flow, he cracked. He raised his white handkerchief, in symbolic surrender. Before the liquid flowed into his maw, I turned off the machine. I was crest fallen, since I did not get to try my machine. He was relieved. "Say it for the voice recorder" " I am an enemy of the people, I confess to the crimes of counter revolution". 
I called for two GRR officers. The dragged him out, still covered in pins.  The rest of the day I walked around looking around with an air of importance. I ducked in on other interrogation sessions, most where easier, just a water cannon or a bright light. I also gave orders to the secret police. The next case I got was a former member of ORDEN who was accused of killing Archbishop Romero. For his crimes he was to withstand trials of pain, "to experience the pain he caused to the peasants who loved him". As the commander of the ministry, I was to give out the punishments to the most heinous political enemies. The first thing I dis was strap him to the machine. I tuned it on and instantly the fecal liquid dripped in. I gave my speech, calmly as is a sibling telling another sibling about school. He began to quiver around, his limbs struggling against the straps of the  mad bed. His face recoiled from the flavor. The next port of call was public humiliation. After his fecal hydration, he was to be strung up, like all peoples enemies. I stripped him down to his skivvies, he screamed in fear, the dungeon undulating from the sound. I shaved his chest, back, and legs, and glistened them with a glaze to give it a shiny quality. I called a few GRR agents, and I commanded them to create a procession, of 100 GRR and military personnel. When we got to the barrio square, now named aveneda Padre Romero, we inscribed across his chest, face and back the following,. On his chest : Justicia para nuestro padre Romero. On his back we wrote : muerte a la  contrarrevolución. On his face we wrote: aquí va morir el matador de Romero. We strung him up on a wheeling lamppost and we strung him up by his ankles. We marched down the streets, I was riding in the pickup truck pulling it. Singing the new El Salvadorian rendition of la internacional .  Some of the peasants threw roses, others threw cans, rocks, and wood at him.
  When we dragged him back to the headquarters, he was delirious. When he came to, we dragged him to the square, under the watchful eyes of the only Romero statue. The peasants watched, silently. The sky was a blankety gray when the killer was killed. We tied him to the statue, and allowed the peasants to form a line. Each one of them criticized him, and left him a token. We burned his body. It was a few months later, I was traveling around the country near my natal village, me and the secret police where investigating a small group of baptists who were not sympathetic to us. I walked into a house with two of my men, what I saw shook me to my very foundation. "Juan, eres un grillo, siéntate y deja que tu madre te hace algo para comer." "Te hice tu favorito, salchicha de sangre". So I did what I had to. I sat down and ate.


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