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Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story

"Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story" is a simple, yet powerful documentary on Salvadorian activist Maria Guardado, who was tortured and left for dead by soldiers, but survived to gain political asylum in the U.S. Using as a backdrop Guardado's first visit back to El Salvador, director Randy Vasquez lets Guardado recount the terrifying story of her own kidnapping.

“Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story” is a simple, yet powerful documentary on Salvadorian activist Maria Guardado, who was tortured and left for dead by soldiers, but survived to gain political asylum in the U.S. Using as a backdrop Guardado’s first visit back to El Salvador to commemorate the 20th anniversary of activist Archbishop Oscar Romero’s assassination, director Randy Vasquez lets Guardado recount the terrifying story of her own kidnapping. The activist doesn’t speak English, she says, because it brings memories of her captors. Docu may have chance at cable outlets and educational venues.

Guardado was a local activist who protested against the military regime in El Salvador during the ’70s and early ’80s that killed more than 80,000 civilians and kidnapped and tortured many others. On June 12, 1980, she was kidnapped, raped, and brutally tortured by members of the National Army. In 1983, she was granted political asylum in the U.S., where she continued her activism, protesting the U.S. government’s support of Salvadorian regime. Grainy, low-budget color video adds realism; footage of dead bodies littering the streets of El Salvador is chilling.

Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story

Production: A High Valley Films production. Produced, directed, written by Randy Vasquez.

Crew: Camera (color, video), Vasquez; editor, Paul Freedman. Reviewed at New York Latino Film Festival, July 16, 2002. Spanish dialogue. Running time: 63 MIN.

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