Salvadoran war wasn’t that simple

Dear Editor:
Your tribute to your first ‘Employee of the Month’ was marred by a short and very misleading venture into Salvadorian politics. You said, “From 1980 to 1992 the United States-allied El Salvador government battled with the left-wing guerillas in a deadly civil war.” This is more accurately described as the United States-allied El Salvador government brutalized the indigenous Mayan population and those who worked in their behalf for 12 years.
The most infamous atrocity was the El Mozote massacre in 1981 where the Atlacatl Battalion, trained by the United States, set out to murder every man, woman and child in the village. The terrible truth has been confirmed, including locking the people in the church then burning it down. In his last Regular Sunday sermon broadcast throughout the country on March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador implored the soldiers to lay down their arms and stop killing their countrymen. Days later he was murdered while celebrating Mass. On December 2, 1980, Sisters Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford and Maura Clarke and lay worker, Jean Donovan, were intercepted on their way home from the airport in El Salvador. Five Salvadoran National Guardsmen kidnapped, raped and killed them. In November of 1989 six prominent Jesuit priests, including the rector and vice rector of El Salvador’s most prestigious university, champions of peace and social justice, were killed along with the community’s cook and her daughter.
These and other atrocities were committed by Salvadorian military trained in the School of the Americas, SOA, now euphemistically called WHINSEC the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security and Cooperation, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. To our shame this facility is still in operation.

James T. Dette

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