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Investigating the unsolved murder of a female law student and the pervasive violence against Guatemalan women that drives migration.
Part memoir and part forensic investigation, Textures of Terror is a gripping first-person story of women, violence, and migration out of Guatemala—and how the United States is implicated. Accompanying Jorge Velásquez in a years-long search for answers after the brutal murder of his daughter Claudina Isabel, Victoria Sanford explores what it means to seek justice in "postconflict" countries where violence never ended.
Through this father's determined struggle and other stories of justice denied, Textures of Terror offers a deeper understanding of US policies in Latin America and their ripple effect on migration. Sanford offers an up-close appraisal of the inner workings of the Guatemalan criminal justice system and how it maintains inequality, patriarchy, and impunity. Presenting the stories of other women who have suffered at the hands of strangers, intimate partners, and the security forces, this work reveals the deeply gendered nature of power and violence in Guatemala.
About the Author
Victoria Sanford is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and Professor of Anthropology, City University of New York. She has given expert testimony on the Guatemalan genocide in international courts and authored seven books, including Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala.
"A scathing critique of a dysfunctional justice system, the willful incompetence of those charged with upholding women’s rights and a cast of institutional actors who seem hostile to the very idea of justice."
"Sanford has woven Textures of Terror into a testimonio that draws on the emotional power of the stories she witnessed to demand a response to the larger tragedy of feminicide in Guatemala, and the ongoing refusal or impossibility of the government to address it."