Ash Kosiewicz

Ash Kosiewicz (Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team): Ash graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 with a dual degree in government and journalism. After graduation, he worked for two years as a child support officer with the Texas Office of the Attorney General. In 2004, he moved to Ecuador, where he lived for 10 months working with a local foundation in Guayaquil to raise funds for a health center project in the rural canton of Santa Lucia. Upon returning from Ecuador, he worked for two years as communicators director with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which provides legal aid to the poor in the United States. At the time of his fellowship, Ash was studying for a master's degree in Latin American studies from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. After his fellowship, Ash wrote: "The AP experience has given me another incredibly impactful experience in Latin America. It has given me an incredible story to tell, one that truly leaves people interested though unsure how to respond. I feel like I’ve gone through some pretty intense stuff, and I’ve come out of it stronger and more aware. I know I can handle tough environments, and work in a fast paced environment."

The Families Arrive – Day 2

04 Jun

So what happened in Putis?

In a civil war that saw both sides of the conflict engage in horrific acts, Putis is one of the most tragic events to befall Quechua-speaking indigenous peoples during the war. To enlist the support of the poor, the Shining Path often engaged in forced displacement of people in rural areas across Ayacucho. Called “comites populares” (“popular committees”), groups of predominantly indigenous peoples were forced to leave their homes and obligated by the Shining Path to serve them – cooking, cleaning, etc. The objective was to evade the Peruvian military and collect a “mass” of people that the Shining Path would make lead their contingent when traveling to protect the Shining Path leaders that followed behind.
[youtube]dFR3fZoVV7E[/youtube] In the case of Putis, the Shining Path went to a handful of surrounding communities near Putis and displaced hundreds of Quechua-speaking peoples by pushing them up higher into the mountains. When the Peruvian military set up a base near Putis in September 1984, they started searching for “senderistas,” or followers of the Shining Path. When the Shining Path learned of the army’s activities, they abandoned the people they had displaced. The army arrived, promising to provide safe refuge to the people if they returned to Putis. Dividing the group into two groups, the military brought one group of 123 people back to Putis. When everyone arrived, the military asked some to dig what they were told would be a community pond. Once the pit was dug, the military had approximately 60-70 people enter the pit, and all were killed by gunfire for being suspected senderistas – men, women, and a staggering number of children, some as young as one year old. The rest were killed in nearby locations – some infront of a church altar, others within two classrooms in a community school.

Watch EPAF´s discovery of shell casings near the grave and the arrival of families to the grave site …

Posted By Ash Kosiewicz

Posted Jun 4th, 2008


  • Bel Destefani

    June 4, 2008


    That video was extremely harrowing, Ash. I’m so glad you were finally able to get on youtube because it was extremely moving to see the family’s reaction. I can’t believe it took them 24 years to get some closure. Great job!

  • Amy Burrows

    June 4, 2008


    Wow, Ash… that is extremely moving. it must have been really intense to witness the families re-visiting that terrible time. Hopefully they reached some closure..

  • Holly

    June 4, 2008


    Emotional video but I have to say the cameras lunged into the faces of those suffering was thoroughly unnecessary. I understand the importance of filming the reaction of those indirectly affected by what happened in Putis but it’s not a spectacle. I suppose there is still room to learn…

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