Alfonso Bauer Paiz (“Don Poncho” or "Poncho Bauer") died last week at the age of 93 in Guatemala City. Bauer held positions in both the Arevalo and Arbenz progressive governments of the ten years of spring. Following the 1954 CIA coup, Buaer fled into exile in Mexico (Guatemala Solidarity - see also MiMundo for a photo homage). He returned years later before fleeing in 1971 following an attack on his life that left him in the hospital for five months. Bauer then spent time work with the revolutionary governments in Cuba, Chile, and Nicaragua before returning to Guatemala to help those who had been displaced by State repression.
As a trained lawyer, Bauer helped with the return of Guatemalan refugees from southeast Mexico. In postwar Guatemala, he was elected to congress as a member of the New Nation Alliance (the alliance formed by the URNG and other leftist parties and social movements) in 1999. (See also Alfonso Bauer, revolucionario ejemplar.)
Here's Alejandro Flores in El siglo de Alfonso Bauer at Plaza Publica.)
Strength, struggle, resistance, disobedience, bravery, courage, stubbornness of life, intelligence, is his inheritance to Guatemalans.
One of his highest virtue was to return to the people at the time, most interesting times. He could make them understand that the past gave them a wounded and sad country. His story is history of twentieth century Guatemala: an era polarities, hopes, dreams, ideologies, war, defeat and rebirth.
You go, Poncho, one of the moments in urging thousands like you. Now you can ride relaxed and happy, you did your thing like few others. There will always be a light with your name from the horizon of history that shines on the battles to come in this new century.When I interviewed Alfonso Bauer in 2007, he started off by saying that he was going to be honest with me.
Guatemalan politicians only work to enrich themselves and to attain positions of power. They don't think of the country. The country is being handed over to the empire of the United States. That's the crude reality of Guatemala.That was before I even got to ask my first question. Rest in peace Don Bauer.