Días de Santiago (2004)




Director:  Josue Mendez.

Starring:  Pietro Sibille (Santiago Roman), Milagros Vidal (Andrea), Marisela Puicon (Elisa), Ricardo Mejía (Papa), Lili Urbina (Mama), Alheli Castillo (Mari), Ivy La Noire (Ines), Erick Garcia (Coco), Giselle Bedon (Rita), Ana María Roca-Rey (Jimena), Sandra Vergara (Sandra), Juan Durán (Loco taxi), Mario Martinez (Mario), Sandro Calderón (Sandro Castro), Igor Moreno (Igor Merino).

ex-Peruvian war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder can't get his life together


Good movie.  Santiago Roman (Pietro Sibille) has just retired from the military after three years with the Peruvian Navy as a Navy seal.  He does not know what he wants to do with the rest of his life.  The movie follows him around as he tries to get a job, interacts with his family and hangs out with his friends. 

He and his fellow vets feel bitter about their war experiences and how they were received following their retirement.  They had been somebody when they were Navy seals.  They felt "There we were the best; armed to the teeth, we destroyed everything; we decapitated terrorists, buried Ecuadorians, that's how it was; killing all the time: men, women and children, everyday."   War vets are everywhere in Peru, but nobody recognizes them. 

His group of former Navy seal plant a bank robbery.  Santiago, however, refuses to go along with that plan.  He finally becomes a taxi driver and goes to computer school.  But he still can't sleep at night because of the horrors he saw and committed. 

Santiago is really in bad shape mentally and no one seems to recognize this as shell shock (or post-traumatic stress disorder as they call it now).  He has trouble dealing with people and appears to be a ticking time bomb just ready to go off.  The viewer can only sit there and watch him self-destruct, a damaged man about to explode in a fit of violence.  Will Santiago actually hurt someone or will he get the mental health attention that he needs?

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:


1941 – a series of skirmishes along the border between Peru and Ecuador developed into a full-scale war.

1942 – Peru and Ecuador signed a peace treaty, the "Protocolo de Rio" (de Janeiro). Peruvian forces were withdrawn from the Ecuadorian province El Oro.

1945 – in the deep jungle, the newly discovered Cenepa River was ruled to be in Peruvian territory. Ecuador did not accept that decision.

1950 – Ecuador stopped further demarcation of the Peru-Ecuador border.

Both countries then established military outposts along the disputed border. Ecuador’s outposts were on the heights of the Cordillera del Condor, while Peru’s outposts were in the Cenepa Valley.

1981 – war broke out between Peru and Ecuador. The immediate cause was the discovery by a Peruvian patrol of Ecuadorian infiltration south of the Cordillera del Condor. The Ecuadorians had captured Peruvian Watch Outpost No.22 and established a new outpost.  The Peruvians prepared a well-organized response and their troops took the new Ecuadorian outpost. The 1981 War remained localized along a very small front.

1994 (December 11)  --  Ecuadorian foot patrols (the main means of movement in the heavy jungle there) were carried out on the Peruvian side of the border.

1995 (January 9)  – an Ecuadorian unit captured a four-man patrol of the Peruvian Army. The captives were returned the next day.

1995 (January 11)  --  Peru sent another unit into the disputed area.  An Ecuadorian ambush led to a firefight with the dispersal of the Peruvian troops.  A war, known as the Alto-Cenepa War, was the result, as both sides responded with more troops. 

1995 (January 26)  --  at the Battle of Tiwintza, the Ecuadorians killed several Peruvian soldiers in a surprise attack and captured the outpost at Twintza. 

1995 (January 27)  --  Ecuadorian President Sixto Duran Ballen declared a state of emergency and Peru mobilized thousands of troops to the border area.

1995 (January 28) – the Peruvians attacked Ecuadorian positions at Tiwintza, but repulsed.

1955 (January 29) – the Peruvians attack simultaneously at Tiwintza, Cueva de los Tayos,Base del Sur and Coangos with mixed results.

1955 (January 31) – the Peruvians attacked again.

1955 (February 1-2) – the Peruvians attacked again, this time primarily at Cuangos and the strongpoint named Condor.

1995 (February 14)  --  last Peruvian assault, which failed. 

1995 (February 16) -- the Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori declared victory and a unilateral cease-fire. Ecuadorians accepted an UN-brokered cease-fire.  The ending of the war left the outcome very unclear.

Peru suffered 300 killed, injured or missing, while Ecuador suffered about 100. 


Source:  www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_164.shtml;   "Peru vs. Ecuador; Alto-Cenepa War, 1995"; ACIG Journal.


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