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Marked man

Henri Aguilar with his one-year old daughter Genesis in the yard of their home. This photo was captured May 2, 2007. On May 7, 2007, he was assassinated by three masked men. Aguilar was a former member of the Mara Salvatrucha, but under the guidance of a Catholic program had left the gang and was married, working full time, and heavily involved in parish life.

This is Henri Aguilar with his one-year old daughter Genesis in the yard of their home in Chamelecon, a poor neighborhood near San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I captured this image on May 2, 2007, during a visit to prepare a story on the church's work with gangs in Cenral America. Five days later, Henri was assassinated by three masked men who burst into his house. Henri was a former member of the Mara Salvatrucha, but under the guidance of a Catholic program had left the gang and was married, working full time, and heavily involved in parish life. He was an inspiration to others, and to me. I was elsewhere in Latin America when the Maryknoll priest in Chamelecon, Tom Goeckler, wrote me an email to tell me about Henri's murder. It was one of those moments when I wished photos were magical, that he could pop up out of the photo and once again hug his daughter. Father Tom died two years ago after decades of courageous service to the poor in the U.S. and Central America, especially youth in marginal communities. Henri's image — such caring for his daughter despite the symbols of death spread across his body — remains a sign of how change is possible, although far too fragile and fleeting.

2 Responses to Marked man

  1. Nick Royal says:

    Paul,
    I came across your moving photos in the Study Book for the Methodist Women on Roma in Europe.
    Do you have a blog/mailing list? If so, please put me on it.

    Also, I am a reader of the Christian Science Monitor, which has some good photography in various issues. Has your photography been shown in that magazine?

    Nick Royal
    Santa Cruz, CA

    • Paul Jeffrey says:

      Thanks, Nick, for your kind words. You found my blog. I don’t have a separate newsletter any longer, just my blog, which I don’t update often enough, and my Facebook page, which I update too often: facebook.com/kairosphotos. Merry Christmas. – Paul

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