In this contribution, I describe the development of a research style developed while studying the Latin American military in war and in politics, and carrying out research on their adversaries: the comandantes of guerrilla movements; the national and local command structure of paramilitary forces; and the leadership of the legal and illegal militia members. My research is largely based on interviews with the higher echelons of the Latin American military and the Central American guerrilla leadership. I also studied the background, motives, sentiments and life histories of sergeants turned head of state or cabinet members, and I contributed twice to the oral history of the Guatemalan peace negotiations. I always use a qualitative interview style, procuring a conversational intimacy between two persons present, at ease, and trying to hold the interest of my interlocutor by inviting him or her to merge their life and career histories with the subject at hand. I consider it the most comfortable way of following the other’s way of thinking and sorting out, in a decent way, the labyrinths of his or her memory. In fact, it is interviewing on the basis of shared confidence. Maybe a better term is ‘borrowed trust’, confidence generated by the introduction via a dependable intermediary that guarantees that the researcher is reliable. It is my experience that, without an introduction by an intermediary, the institutional culture of silence will never be broken. Interviewing in the sphere of confidence and trust is always a two-way communication. You have to be open about yourself, your real interests behind the interviews, rewarding private confessions with personal intimacies, letting your interlocutor meander about his or her family affairs, life experiences, specific moments of personal decision making, personal success stories, and disappointments and frustrations. The conversational tone has always to be respectful, interested, inviting, building confidence to chose between the official, ideologised or institutional history, the sometimes ‘enhanced’ or ‘purified’ version of the events, and the real and personally experienced facts.