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Conversely, progressive pastoral leaders were hoping the Vatican would choose Bishop Arturo Rivera Damas instead of Romero, whom they remembered as a harsh critic of their liberation theology initiative.
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The murder of campesinos was so common that it scarcely attracted attention from anyone except their families. General Carlos Humberto Romero no relation proclaimed himself President of El Salvador following a blatantly fraudulent election. Eight days later, scores of people were killed when the police opened fire on thousands of demonstrators protesting election corruption.
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That same month, three foreign priests were beaten and expelled from the country, and a Salvadoran priest was abducted, beaten nearly to death, and thrown through the doors of the chancery. On March 12, a death squad ambushed Fr. Grande a ride to the rural church where he planned to celebrate mass. Soon after, death squads killed another archdiocesan priest, Fr. Alfonso Navarro. Romero rushed to El Paisnal and offered mass in the house where Rutilio and the two campesinos had been carried. Romero twice demanded that the President of El Salvador thoroughly investigate the murders.
Realizing that his traditional reluctance to speak out on political matters had been a passive endorsement of repression and corruption.
He notified the president that representatives of the archdiocese would no longer appear with government leaders at public ceremonies. He also made the controversial decision to cancel masses throughout the entire country the following Sunday, except for the one on the steps of the cathedral, to which the faithful of all parishes were invited.
More than , people attended. When he visited the Vatican in , Archbishop Romero presented the Pope with seven detailed reports of institutionalized murder, torture, and kidnapping throughout El Salvador. He also wrote to President Jimmy Carter, appealing to him as a fellow Christian, to stop sending military aid to the Salvadoran government.
His letter went unheeded. President Carter suspended aid in , after the murders of four churchwomen, but President Reagan resumed and greatly increased aid to the Salvadoran government. To his dismay, so were his calls for solidarity with his fellow bishops, all but one of whom turned their backs on him.
Four more priests were assassinated in , along with many hundreds of catechists and delegates of the Word. The peasant death toll exceeded 3, per month. In all, at least 75, - 80, Salvadorans would be slaughtered; , would disappear and never be seen again; a million would flee their homeland; and an additional million would become homeless fugitives, constantly fleeing the military and police. All of this occurred in a nation of only 5.
Romero had nothing left to offer his people except faith and hope. The following evening, while performing a funeral mass in the Chapel of Divine Providence Hospital, Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot to death by a paid assassin. Only moments before his death, he had reminded the mourners of the parable of wheat. His prophetic words:. More than 50, people gathered in the square outside San Salvador Cathedral to pay their last respects to Archbishop Romero on March 30, The blasts were followed by rapid volleys of gunfire that seemed to come from all four sides.
Many witnesses saw army sharpshooters, dressed in civilian clothing, firing from the roof and balcony of the National Palace. An estimated 7, people took sanctuary inside the cathedral, which normally holds no more than 3, Many others were crushed against the security fence and closed gates that were intended to provide security for the funeral mass.
The service was immediately postponed as clerics tried in vain to calm the panicked crowd. The attack left 40 mourners dead and hundreds seriously wounded. In an eyewitness account published in the March 31, Washington Post, Christopher Dickey wrote, prophetically:. Although El Salvador declared independence from Spain in , the legacy of colonialism continued throughout the twentieth century.
Near-absolute power merely shifted from the Spaniards to the Salvadorans of European ancestry. Their regimes staged fraudulent elections periodically, to maintain the external pretense of democracy, but their regimes were based on repression blended with occasional reforms intended to defuse potential revolutions. This system began to unravel in the s, when previously splintered opponents of military rule united behind Jose Napoleon Duarte, leader of the Christian Democratic Party.
Duarte and his broad-based reform platform were defeated in one of the most fraudulent elections in recorded history. Subsequent protests were crushed, and Duarte was exiled.
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In there was. Civilian and military groups engaged in a systematic murder campaign with total impunity, while state institutions turned a blind eye…This period saw the greatest number of deaths and human rights violations. Carlos Humberto Romero is overthrown by a coalition of moderate military officers and civilian leaders. Adolfo Majano, pledge to end repression and corruption; to protect human rights, and to distribute national wealth more equitably.
Nov: The JRG announces free elections will be held in ; it restricts landholdings to hectares per owner; nationalizes banks, and recognizes all political parties. The Revolutionary Government Junta is virtually paralyzed and unable to carry out many of its intended reforms. They stage protest marches, sit-ins at government offices, and labor strikes to reinforce their demands for the release of political prisoners and medical care for the poor.
They kill somewhere between 22 - 50 people and wound - others. He warns that the extreme right is arming itself and preparing for massive confrontations in which they clearly intend to ally with the military against both the government and the citizenry. This seeming capitulation to rightists contributes to the political polarization that is spawning unprecedented increases both in death squad activities and in the numbers of previously apolitical peasants who join guerilla groups. March Archbishop Oscar A. Romero is assassinated. The crime further polarizes Salvadoran society and presages the all-out war that will soon come.
It also convinces many peasants that the Church cannot save them and that their only hope is armed revolution. Forty-Two are killed and more than are wounded.
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May As many as Salvadoran peasants are tortured and murdered by government forces near the Sumpul River. Aug A general strike called by FDR a coalition of center-left parties is violently suppressed, leaving labor organizers dead. Ita Ford, MM, Sr. Maura Clarke, MM, Sr. Hundreds are killed on both sides. Jan The US government restores military aid, which had briefly been suspended due to public outrage stemming from the murders of the churchwomen.
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March Salvadoran military stages land and air-based attacks on thousands of displaced peasants trying to flee across the Lempa River to Honduras. An additional refugees, including 44 children, are slaughtered October at the same river.
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Christian Legal Aid reports that displaced peasants, whose existence embarrasses the government, have become the targets of choice for both the military and the death squads. Dec: Christian Legal Aid reports 12, confirmed fatalities during The organization cannot even estimate how many thousands of deaths were not reported or could not be proven. President Reagan certifies that El Salvador is complying with human rights conditions for receiving US aid. March Some 5, peasants are fired upon by military helicopters as they fled from war-torn San Esteban Catarina. March Four Dutch journalists are killed.
May: Military troops kill hundreds of civilians, burn houses, and destroy crops of peasant farmers in the province of Chalatenango. May The bodies of more than men, women, and children are dumped at Puerta del Diablo, a clandestine site favored by the death squads. Aug CONADES reports there are , internally displaced persons wandering the roads of El Salvador and an additional , - , displaced persons living in exile in other countries.
President Duarte strenuously denounces the rightists, holding them responsible for the murders of hundreds of Christian Democrats. Once again, these are only the deaths that could be conclusively confirmed. McElderry Books, , 96 pages.
see In Memoriam. FCP Labels: Poetry , Veterans Day. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, , pages. Wednesday, October 23, Allies by Alan Gratz. Labels: Batman , Sunday Funnies. At the Mountain's Base by Traci Sorell,. As luck would have it, Batman and Robin were coming by the Gotham City Newsreel offices that very day to help with the nation's war effort.
Suddenly, a car appears and shots are fired at the dynamic duo. The young Nazi spy may not have gotten rid of Carson, but he does manage to swap out their camera footage of the shipyard to give to his superiors, along with footage of bomber plants, including gasoline storage tanks.