S ALVANET A Publication of Christians for Peace in El Salvador, CRISPAZ January / February 2000 In this issue . . . National Reality • El Salvador 2000 1–2 Welcoming the New Year in El Salvador • 1999 In Review 3 by Jeanne Marie Rikkers Crispaz Connections Standing at the edge of the Pacific union organizers’ victory in reinstat- The CRISPAZ team 4–5 Ocean at the dawn of the year 2000, ing 300 maquila workers, refugees the waves wash sand over my toes. My from flood areas drinking clean water Wellsprings tongue tastes warm salt in the air. I won- from a new well, cardboard communi- Meeting the Victims, der what place tiny El Salvador holds ties slowly transforming into a neigh- Falling in Love 6–7 in the world, in this historical moment, borhood of cement block homes, in this particular juncture in time. families reconciling after years of Letter to the Churches forced separation, a mass at El The UCA Martyrs: People are reading the morning Mozote. As we face the next years— Ten Years Later 8–11 newspapers like they were guides to a new period in the history of El navigating a minefield. They hope Salvador and the world—the human SOA Update 12 that all the bad news might tell them stories and the God stories prove to be how not to end up in the wrong place the more reliable guides to navigating at the wrong time. A growing fear Reading List 12 the minefield. It is time again to tell surrounds them: maybe El Salvador the stories to new generations, to hear is the wrong place at the wrong time. them again ourselves. We don’t need El Salvador 2000 according to the the stories for nostalgia, but rather as media: economic confusion, political a way to discover in ourselves the sterility, violence, families torn apart, keys to facing new problems and the corruption, empty religiosity, consum- strength to pass through new rivers. erism, everyone dreaming of getting CRISPAZ, Christians out and going North. On March 24th of this year, thou- for Peace in El Salva- sands of people around the world will dor, was founded in But, the newspaper doesn’t tell the remember Monseñor Romero. Prob- 1984. We are a faith- whole story. It never has. There is a ably half of those people were not based organization human story here, there is a God story. alive at the time of his martyrdom and dedicated to mutual There are many stories: Grandma many of us who were alive weren’t accompaniment with Conchita learning to read, women the church of the poor aware of the significance. Yet we remember him, we bring and marginalized his memory to mind, we communities in El honor it. We honor his Salvador. In building bridges of solidarity memory by continuing the between communities struggle, by looking for new in El Salvador injustices to denounce and and those in new ways to denounce our home injustice. These are the countries, challenges of the New Year: we strive to face the reality of death together that is so graphically out- for peace, lined in our newspapers and justice and at the same time embrace human liberation. the life-giving stories of CRISPAZ has four programs: † CRISPAZ Volunteer Program (CVP) † El Salvador Encounter liberation and hope. It is well northern faction of the solidarity Delegation Program (ESE) † Communication Information worth our time to read Romero’s movement tends to suffer from a Network on El Salvador (CINES) homilies again. There is no doubt collective case of low self-esteem. CLOSE UP ON CRISPAZ † Summer Immersion Program as to the prophetic nature of his We berate ourselves for what SALVANET, a project of CRISPAZ, message, because it does speak to remains undone and forget to is published six times a year. Tara Mathur, Editor us today. celebrate what we have done, and more importantly who we CRISPAZ Board Members: In CRISPAZ we face the New Bill Hutchison, Chair are. And yet, when we meet up Year with a sense of real support Bill Van Lopik, Vice Chair at Fort Benning, when we ex- Alice Gerdeman, Secretary from both the Salvadoran and the Megan Kromer, Treasurer change e-mails at Christmas, international solidarity communi- Ren Austing when enter a house blessed by Angela Casanova ties. My recent trip to the United a Salvadoran cross, we recognize Salvador Contreras States proved to me once again Catherine Cornell a very important bond. Those that we are intimately connected Gary Cozette bonds are what will keep us Carol Davis by our experiences in El Salvador. John Fife human in this new century. It is a gospel connection, a con- Alejandro Hernandez Those bonds are what will give Peter Hinde nection of good news, of hope. our children a community where Mary Kalil CRISPAZ is growing and evolv- E. Huxley Miller they can belong. Indeed, there is ing in ways that we believe Gail Mott cause for celebration. Steve Privett, S.J. respond to the new realities. It Martha Stricker is with a sense of humility that January and February are Jay Von Handorf Laurance Walton we come close to the tomb of passing quickly. Soon many of us CRISPAZ Staff: Monseñor Romero and ask that will be gathered to celebrate the Jeanne Marie Rikkers, he accompany us in this work life and death of Monseñor El Salvador Coordinator Tara Mathur, CINES and today. Our volunteers, the sum- Romero. We will see each other Artesania Staff mer interns, the delegations, the and celebrate our own lives and Peggy O’Neill, CVP Staff Board of Directors, staff and all of even thank God for the sacrifices Jay Gutzwiller, ESE Staff Elizabeth Hernández, El Salvador the people who have supported we have made to become authen- Office Administrator CRISPAZ in one way or another tic humans in an inhumane Stan deVoogd, US Promotions over the years have shown that world. The challenges are many, and Development Jennifer Collins, US Office Manager we are in this relationship for the but the sources of strength and long haul. Think of what first hope are close at hand. 2000 will CRISPAZ Volunteers: grabbed your heart about El be another year in which it is our Yon Hui Bell Paul Darilek Salvador and you will know why privilege to tell the stories of how Loretta Geuenich this is a long-term commitment. God passed through El Salvador Tom McGregor Each person has a story of why with a message for the world. Mary Frances Ross they are here. These are the 2000 will give us another oppor- CRISPAZ relies on your contribu- stories that form our collective tunity to introduce new people to tions to produce this publication and to continue its accompaniment with biography of hope. the gift of walking with the poor. the Salvadoran people through our 2000 will give us new human different programs. The work of building peace, stories to share that bear witness All contributions are tax deductible. of forming relationships across all to the God of History at work For more information about our kinds of barriers, and of practic- programs or to make a contribution, once again in our lives. ing our faith is not simple work, please contact us at: CRISPAZ or easy work. But, in spite of the The sun sets on the Pacific 319 Camden Street difficulties, burn-out and even Ocean. There is nothing like a San Antonio, Texas 78215 sacrifice, we all know when it has Pacific sunset in El Salvador to 210-222-2018 email: email@example.com been worth it. We look around remind us that “todavia cantamos, CRISPAZ and we see a hundred people todavia pedimos, todavia soñamos, Apartado Postal 2944 more dedicated than us, more todavia esperamos.” (We still sing, Centro de Gobierno radical, more serene, living more we still ask, we still dream, we San Salvador, El Salvador 011-503-226-0829 simply. It appears that the whole still hope.) Happy New Year. email: firstname.lastname@example.org Page 2 • SALVANET National Reality 1999 The Legislative Assem- The Year in Review 9 bly approves 34 reforms to the Penal Code and Process. President Flores an- 24 nounces his “Economic The National Associa- January 16 tion of Judicial Employ- Reactivation Proposal” confirm- Ex-guerilla leader Joaquín 28 Villalobos implicates ing the application of an added ees began an indefinite strike. value tax on agricultural prod- FMLN political leader Shafick ucts and medicines and says The National Emer- Handal in the kidnapping of that salary increases for public 28 gency Committee Kerim Salume. Handal denies employees will be impossible. declares a “red alert” due to accusations that he or the 18 days of non-stop rain. Communist Party (PC) played any role in the kidnappings. July Unionized schoolteachers October 13 in the National Associa- The Ministry of Health February 1 informs that the rains tion of Salvadoran Educators The Public Healthcare 9 Workers’ Union de- begin a labor stoppage demand- affected 11,500 people in six ing salary increases. departments of the country. nounces a supposed plan to The loss in crops totals almost privatize the service and to carry out massive layoffs in August 25 million colons ($2.9 million). the Ministry of Health. Ex-patrol members, 12 ARENA announces Luis organized under the Movement of Integrated Labor 2 Cardenal as its candidate March for the mayor of San Salvador in Organizations (MOLI) and the ARENA candidate the March 2000 elections. 7 Francisco Flores becomes Association of Salvadoran Agri- cultural Producers (APROAS) president with 53% of the vote. Public Health Care protest demanding indemnity for services they provided during the 15 union leaders begin an President Bill Clinton indefinite strike demanding 92.9 8 visits El Salvador. He war. As a result of police inter- million colons ($10.7 million) for vention, two protesters are killed. confirms the establishment of a salary increases and threaten to bilateral investment treaty. take the strike to a national It is revealed that ARENA 15 gave 10 million colons level. May ($1.15 million) to 5,000 members 9 The FMLN holds its of APROAS as “Mitch” relief. December National Convention in The money was given just days A confrontation between which they decide upon a total before the presidential elections. 1 the police and striking renovation of their leadership. health care and judicial workers San Salvador mayor leaves one person unconscious June 23 Héctor Silva confirms his and 7 more wounded. Ex-director of the State intentions to participate in the 2 Intelligence Organiza- 2000 elections, but only if he is Eight political parties in tion Mauricio Sandoval is named nominated on a coalition ticket. 8 the Legislative Assem- Director of the National Civilian bly confirm their decision to Police. September carry out a political trial against After 100 days in office, Human Rights Ombudsman 6 public opinion offers Eduardo Peñate as a result of President Flores a 5.3 (out of 10). irregularities in his office. January–February, 2000 • Page 3 CRISPAZ Connections G etting to know the CRISPAZ team . . . Our efforts to experience mutual accompaniment with the Salvadoran people and to continue to educate ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the United States happens thanks to the work of a unique group of individuals both in El Salvador and in the United States. Together with a supportive and committed Board of Directors who come from all parts of the United States and El Salvador, the following individuals are working fulltime to fulfill the CRISPAZ mission. El Salvador Staff . . . JEANNE MARIE RIKKERS ELIZABETH HERNANDEZ is the CRISPAZ Programs Coordinator MARTINEZ, Administrative Assis- in El Salvador. Originally from St. Paul, tant, is originally from Ciudad Delgado, Minnesota, Jeanne has been living in San Salvador. She has been working El Salvador for seven years. In addition for CRISPAZ for one year. She likes to her work with CRISPAZ, she enjoys working with CRISPAZ because it works with people who are spending time with her three kids, reading, often times forgotten by the government and because the work visiting a local prison, attending the martyr is carried out in a way in which all people are treated equally, commemorations and eating pupusas! About her work, Jeanne regardless of their social class. Outside of her work, Elizabeth says “I love that CRISPAZ provides people with opportunities likes to spend time with her two sons, to read about national to humbly try to transform their lives and the world.” reality, and is in the process of learning English. CRISPAZ, Christians for Peace in El Salvador, was founded in 1984. We are a PEGGY ONEILL, SC, is from New Jersey and has JAY GUTZWILLER is from Cincinnati, Ohio and been living in El Salvador for thirteen years. She has recently joined CRISPAZ as the delegation leader in June 1999. Jay joined the CRISPAZ team in El Salvador in the role of spiritual says that he has “always felt a strong sense of solidarity with accompaniment. She lives in the Suchitoto zone and is the people of El Salvador because of its violent history, the involved with a variety of projects. unfathomable suffering the majority of Salvadorans experi- She teaches at the UCA’s School of enced, and the role that faith played in Theology, works with the Inter-Novitiate the popular move- ments . . . . Work- Program and with the Augsburg College ing with CRISPAZ gives me the program in El Salvador, and she works opportunity to live and work among with a variety of projects in the commu- amazing people and communities nities in her area. About her work with and allows me to fa- cilitate potentially Salvadorans, Peggy says that “they have life-changing expe- riences for people taught me to live a spirituality of resistance and creativity. of all ages when they come on a delegation. It is in witnessing I want to continue to accompany them from the motivation of these selfless, dedicated people in the impoverished commu- a shared faith in a God of liberation and freedom. They have nities that I truly discover what it means to live the message convinced me that religious life is about living on the margins. of Jesus today. CRISPAZ has provided me with a wonderful I am bumping into the real each day here. These people faith community in which to share in the process of spiritual have made me want to be bold. They have birthed in me that growth.” In addition to his work with CRISPAZ, Jay likes to visit passion Jesus had for the reign of justice.” communities outside of San Salvador, visit the Quetzaltepeque prison, and go dancing! TARA MATHUR is the editor of Salvanet and she coordinates CRISPAZ’ handcrafts project. Tara is from Wichita, Kansas, and has been in El Salvador for four years, initially as a long-term volunteer and then later as a staff person. Tara says, “I appreciate so many things about my life in El Salvador. But I am especially grateful for the Salvadorans who continue to accompany me through the painful and joyful process of having my ‘shell of ignorance’ broken open and for the opportunity to live a simple lifestyle full of wealth.” faith-based organization dedicated to mutual accompaniment with the church of the poor and marginalized Page 4 • SALVANET LONG-TERM VOLUNTEERS IN EL SALVADOR . . . YON HUI BELL, from San Antonio, LORETTA GEUENICH is from Texas, has been working in El Salvador Adelaide, South Australia and has been in for two and a half years. She works in the El Salvador for about a year. She works in Suchitoto zone in the areas of popular Suchitoto as a support to a coalition of education, literacy and community women’s organization in her region. The schools. She is currently focusing her coalition works to facilitate communication energies on the development of a rural and networks among the participating library and community center together organizations. Loretta chooses to work in El Salvador with a group of community members. Yon Hui says that “because some slender thread pulled me here, challenging she enjoys working in El Salvador because “I have found a my ego and warming my heart with quirkiness and I didn’t community, a place where I can be of help but also have real seek to quash the expression of passionate living and being. friends. I feel constantly challenged—I can never ‘forget’ the Here I encounter a global sense of reality in my day-to-day life poverty and violence that exist in the world.” that I was struggling to find in Australia.” MARY FRANCES ROSS has been working with PAUL DARILEK oversees a team of water-well drillers. the Maria, Madre de los Pobres (Mary, Mother of the Poor) The team is drilling wells in different Salvadoran communities parish clinic pharmacy since April 1999. and they have pri- marily been working our home countries, we strive together for peace, justice and human liberation. She is not only the pharmacist, but also the in “Bajo Lempa” zone of Usulután. pharmacy’s only staff person. Regarding Paul is from San Antonio, Texas and her experience working in the parish has been in El Sal- vador for two and she says “I enjoy the people. In the face a half years. He ap- preciates his of often devastating poverty they have involvement with CRISPAZ and the incredible faith, joy, and a wonderful opportunity to share experiences of sense of community.” Originally from working in El Salvador. Why does he choose to work in El Michigan, Mary Frances has also found Salvador? Paul says, “It is the best job I can find!” companionship, fellowship and understanding through her relationship with the CRISPAZ team. US STAFF . . . JENNIFER COLLINS is the Office Manager of the U.S. office in San Antonio. She joined CRISPAZ in May 1999. In answer to the question of why she chooses STAN DEVOOGD, who is in charge of CRISPAZ to do this work, she says, “I think it chose Promotions and Development, has been working for the me! After seeing first hand the effects of US organization for five years. He enjoys his work with CRISPAZ policy in Central America and Mexico, and says, “I like the fact that we are a community of faith I knew that I wanted to work with organiza- reaching out beyond ourselves to learn and serve . . . . tions with a social justice mission, a grass- CRISPAZ helps me stay connected with people in many parts, roots approach, and a focus on Latin working on what really counts in life and America. I want to take part, even in a small that is promoting the abundant life as way, in something that forces people to stop and think, that promised to all in the scriptures.” Origi- invokes alternatives, and that encourages people to become nally from Canada, Stan also works for a part of something greater.” In addition to her work with the Presbyterian Border Ministry. He CRISPAZ, Jennifer is involved with networking among similar enjoys spending time with his wife and organizations working across borders and she enjoys reading, three children and fixing up their house. writing, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. communities in El Salvador. In building bridges of solidarity between communities in El Salvador and those in January–February, 2000 • Page 5 Wellsprings Meeting the Victims, Falling in Love by Dean Brackley, S.J. Waves of foreign delegations have come to El They sense a gentle invitation to lay down the Salvador during recent years. The pilgrims deplane burden of their own superiority (of which they are a little anxious, vaguely dreading what awaits them. mostly unaware) and identify with these humble They know that the people are very poor. They have people, despite the differences between them. They heard of massacres and bombings of the past and begin to feel smaller and more “ordinary”. A sweet the hunger and sickness of the present. They fear, shame comes over them, not bitter remorse but more half-consciously, that these poor people will lunge like the shame one feels when falling in love. The for their wallets, or that when they, the visitors, visitors feel themselves losing their grip; or better, arrive at their first poor community, they will suffer they feel the world losing its grip on them. What a massive Irish-Catholic—or Jewish or Methodist— world? The world made up of important people like guilt-attack and at the very least they will have to them and unimportant poor people like their hosts. sell their VCR when they get back home. As the poet Yeats says, “things fall apart”; the visitors’ world is coming unhinged. They feel resis- As happens with most of our fears, it doesn’t tance, naturally, to a current that threatens to turn out that way. On the one hand, the visitors sweep them out of control. They feel a little con- spend much of their time in El Salvador wondering fused—again—like the disorientation of falling in why these poor people are smiling. The people are love. In fact, that is what is happening, a kind of glad they came and receive them with open arms. falling in love. The earth trembles. My horizon is On the other hand, if the pilgrims listen to the opening up. I’m on unfamiliar ground, entering a stories of flight from the army, torture and death richer, more real world. squads, and, since the war, of unspeakable hardship and premature death, the victims will break their We all live a bit on the periphery of the deep hearts. And that, after all, is the main reason the drama of life, more so, on average, in affluent pilgrims have come. It is an experience of extraordi- societies. The reality of the periphery is thin, one- nary richness, if the visitors muster the courage to dimensional, “lite,” compared to the multi-layered take it in. richness of this new world the visitors are entering. In this interchange with a few of their representa- The encounter stops the visitors short and fo- tives, the anonymous masses of the world’s poor cuses their attention. “My God!” they cry, “half emerge from their cardboard-cutout reality and their children die from preventable disease. The take on the three-dimensional status of full-fledged powerful steal from them at will. There is no justice. human beings. And what has m y government been doing here in my name?” The poor bring the visitors face-to-face Actually, there are more than three dimensions with evil; and the visitors respond with horror. here. The eyes of the victim beckon. They are like Not that the poor are all saints. (Hardship brings a bottomless well in which something infinite draws out both the best and the worst in people, the me on. In their welcome, peace sweeps over me. D’Aubuisson’s and the Romeros.) They just obvi- I feel almost at home in this strange place. Al- ously do not deserve what they have had to suffer. though an accomplice to the world of important The injustice clashes strikingly with their humanity. people like me and unimportant people like them, I feel accepted, forgiven—even before I have cleaned This presses in upon the visitors, and it can up my act with them or billions like them. shake them to their roots. As the poor draw deeper into their own reality, the newcomers pass from After reflecting on these issues for some years, observers to participants. The more they allow the it only gradually dawned on me that I belong to poor to crash through their defenses, the more a peculiar tribe. The middle-class cultures of the unsettled they feel. They begin to see their own North are newcomers to world history and have reflection in the eyes of their hosts, and they say to only existed for about 200 years. We’re not all bad themselves, “Hey, these people are just like us!” people; we’re just a tiny minority under the com- Page 6 • SALVANET mon illusion that we are the center of gravity of the universe. The poor can free us of this strange idea. Don’t get me wrong. The middle-class cultures have made extraordinary advances in civilization. True; many came at great cost to the despoiled nations and races. Still, these are historic achievements. And I’m not even talking about ambiguous technological progress. I mean the spiritual, cultural and political breakthroughs: the unheard-of opportunities, political liberties, democracy, the critical consciousness of the Enlighten- ment, and all that. No need to demean these gains. The problem for us is that the new freedoms and economic security have Delegation participants play games with children in a rural community. distanced the non-poor from the kind of daily life-and-death struggle that has been the daily fare It seems that the victim offers us the privileged of the poor of all times right up to today. Maybe place (although not the only place) to encounter the 90% of all the people who ever lived have struggled truth which sets us free. The poor usher us into the every day to keep the household alive against the heart of reality. They bring us up against the world threat of death through hunger, disease, accidents and ourselves all at once. To some extent, we all and violence. By distancing the non-poor from the hold reality at arm’s length—fending off intolerable daily threat of death, the benefits of modernity have parts of the world with one hand and intolerable induced in us a kind of chronic low-grade confusion parts of ourselves with the other. The two go to- about what is really important in life, namely life gether. As a rule, our encounters with the world itself and love. Besides, superior technology and place us in touch with internal reality, as well. In the communications media induce us to think of particular, when the world’s pain crashes in upon our culture and perspective on life as the norm, us in the person of the victim, the encounter dredges and basically on track. The encounter with the up from within us the parts of ourselves that we poor stops us short; it recollects us. When we come had banished. The outcast outside us calls forth out on the other side, we realize that the margin- the outcast within us. This is why people avoid the alized are actually at the center of things. It is we, poor. But meeting them can heal us. We will only in Washington and Paris, who are on the fringe. heal our inner divisions if we are also working to heal our social divisions. These people shake us up because they bring home to us that things are much worse in the world The victims of history—the destitute, abused than we dared to imagine. But that is only one side women, oppressed minorities, all those the Bible of the story: If we allow them to share their suffer- calls “the poor”—not only put us in touch with the ing with us, they communicate some of their hope world and with ourselves, but also with the mercy to us as well. The smile that seems to have no of God. There is something fathomless about the foundation in the facts is not phony; the spirit of encounter with the poor, as we have said—like the fiesta is not an escape but a recognition that some- opening of a chess game with its infinite possibilities. thing else is going on in the world besides injustice If we let them, the poor will place us before the and destruction. The poor smile because they abyss of the holy Mystery we call God. They are suspect that this something is more powerful than a kind of door that opens before that Mystery and the injustice. When they insist on sharing their through which God passes to get at us. Clearly tortilla with a visiting gringo, we recognize there is we need them more than they need us. something going on in the world that is more won- Small wonder that people keep returning. Some- derful than we dared to imagine. thing has happened, a kind of falling in love, I think. January–February, 2000 • Page 7 from LETTER TO THE El Salvador CHURCHES We are persecuted but never abandoned; struck down, but never lef t to die. (2 Corinthians 4:7-8) × INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE PASTORAL CENTER, CENTRAL AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, SAN SALVADOR × EDITED ENGLISH TRANSLATION Letter to the Churches is a bimonthly publication of the Archbishop Oscar Romero Pastoral Center, Central American University (UCA), San Salvador. These are letters of flesh and spirit, written from one Salvadoran community to another and from the Salvadoran Church to the Universal Church. The following are excerpts from this publication. The UCA Martyrs: Ten Years Later On November 16, 1999, the UCA commemorated the 10th anniversary of the martyrdom of the six Jesuit priests and the two women. The “National Reality” section of Letter to the Churches offers the response to four questions that continue to be on the minds of Salvadorans: What happened ten years ago? What is the country’s situation ten years later? What is currently happening with the Jesuit case? and, How is Salvadoran society carrying on the memory of the martyrs? What happened ten years ago? entered the priests’ residence at the UCA and began Ten years have passed. And the people continue to shoot them one by one. The two women were the to ask: What happened that November 16? We tell the wife and daughter of the university gardener. That story as it is remembered by Spanish journalist night, terrified by the offensive, they had asked to Carmen Cortina. stay with the priests. They died in an embrace. Jesuit Rolando Alvarado, Ellacuría’s last assistant, said, “Be- On the morning of November 16, 1989, those of fore traveling, Ellacuría phoned his community at the us who were covering the war in El Salvador behaved UCA. He wanted to know their opinion. He wanted unprofessionally. We broke all rules, we were in to share the risk with them.” And as I listen to him denial, and we were insulting. Archbishop Monsignor speak, I remember the eight bodies that were strewn Arturo Rivera y Damas also had a lump in his throat. across the back garden of the Jesuit residence, six of Face to face with the bodies of six Jesuit priests and them with their brains destroyed. And I remember two women, he cried out, admonishing the act and Ellacuría’s brown housecoat and his expressionless making evident his great indignation. That day the face. I remember Ignacio Martín-Baró, author of eleven war took a great turn. books. And Segundo Montes, father of those displaced Almost all of the political and union leaders had by war, he himself displaced from life. I remember left the country. The few that remained did not think Amando López, witness to the Nicaraguan war and twice about taking refuge in one of the embassies. a victim of a different war (or perhaps the same war). Ignacio Ellacuría was the only public figure who dared Juan Ramón Moreno, lover of the art of ordering to enter the country from Spain on November 13. His books and creator of the most important theological brother, José Antonio Ellacuría, remembers that there library in Central America. I remember Joaquín López was no convincing Ignacio not to return to El Salvador y López, the only one who was born in El Salvador. at that time. Ellacuría said that if President Cristiani And Julia Elba and Celina Ramos, silenced witnesses. called for his death, he would be the one that was The death of Ignacio Ellacuría had been announced. directly responsible. In fact, this was true for almost all of the priests in Cristiani’s involvement in the massacre has never El Salvador, especially the Jesuits who were the first been clarified. However, it was proven that a group religious congregation to experience the violence. In from the Atlacatl Battalion Special Forces violently February of 1977, Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande headed Page 8 • SALVANET the list. His assassination was Armed Forces were not the only worse? We affirm that their death stained with political slogans in group to receive a blow from the was not in vain—it helped to put favor of the peasant and student assassination of the Jesuits. The an end to the war and above all it movements that had begun to offensive and the crime shook the was the seed of truth, compassion, gather strength in those years. justice, and fraternity that And in addition to these grew into a small tree, demonstrators there was We affirm that their death was not in vain— which continues to grow. a different group, those it helped to put an end to the war and The vigil held on Novem- who called for the Salva- above all it was the seed of truth, com- ber 15 was just one ex- doran people to “be a passion, justice, and fraternity that grew pression of that. But we patriot, kill a priest.” into a small tree that continues to grow. turn to the country’s current situation to From the very beg- recognize the importance inning, Ellacuría was against the of remembering November 16. strategists at the Pentagon. The violence. For that reason he began military aid sent by the U.S. since to look for an alternative. He never Many things have changed in El the beginning of the war had not believed in the war. He condemned Salvador, but it is evident that the served to break the FMLN, but the injustice, but he always believed historic, radical proposals for social rather to arm an army that did not that the war demanded too much change continue to be subordinate follow the rules of the game. Ten from the country. He did not tire to the tragedy of poverty and years later, the U.S. agreed with from proposing alternatives and barbaric violence. On a political Ellacuría by deciding that negotia- making his opposition to the vio- level, the conversion of the armed tion was the only way out of this lence public. The FMLN did not left to a formal democracy has also decade of horror. look poorly upon Ellacuría despite meant the acceptance of neoliberal- the fact that they were fighting for In asking the question as to ism in its most perverse manifesta- a military victory. The last time whether or not the crime was an tions. The left has become nothing that I saw him we were both on a error, there is no consensus. But more than a passive actor in a flight from San Salvador to Managua. everyone recognizes that the socio-economic order controlled It was September 1989. Later I massacre had been announced. by those with economic power. learned that he went to speak with “Ellacuría is a guerilla, cut his head The right, no longer facing any real (FMLN military leader) Joaquín off.” “We should get him out here resistance, has dedicated itself to Villalobos. Ellacuría voiced his op- and kill him.” These and other doing what it most enjoys: amass- position to the military offensive. threats were heard on the chain ing large fortunes, taking advan- But despite his request, the FMLN of radio stations, broadcast by the tage of all of opportunities within went ahead with the offensive. government just a few hours before their reach. Even worse, some of Beforehand, Ellacuría was asked to the offensive began. Ellacuría was their members—who were respon- please leave the country. Of course still in Spain where he was being sible for or accomplices to assassi- he did leave, but then he returned. given an award and $5,000, money nations, disappearances, and And he was assassinated. “El that was stolen by the military tortures in the past two decades— Salvador suffered a great loss with officers who assassinated him. The now have the gall to champion his death,” says Rolando Alvarado, voice of Salvadoran Vice President democracy. With the help of a although he recognizes that the Francisco Merino accused Ellacuría corrupt judicial system, they have deaths also helped to speed up of having poisoned the minds of wiped clean the slate of the past the peace process. all of the students of the UCA. I and opened a new account, as if am told that the person who was their crimes had never caused A few days after the crime, a damages that must be repaired. in charge of the chain of radio general from the Salvadoran army It is only through such reparation stations at that time, Mauricio told Father Francisco Estrada, who that Salvadoran society can regain Sandoval, is currently the chief replaced Ellacuría at the UCA, that its dignity. of the National Civilian Police. the death of the Jesuits would cause more damage to the Armed After the signing of the Peace Forces than all of the war together. Accords, the institutional terror “So, why were they killed?” asked What is the country’s and death mechanisms have Estrada. “In El Salvador, all of situation ten years later? changed, though not radically those who interfere are killed. enough to assure that they will Many now ask if the Jesuits The consequences are measured never again be reactivated. Institu- died in vain. What is the country later,” he responded. But the tional spaces that do not operate like now? Are things better or with complete legality or under the January–February, 1999 • Page 9 LETTER control of Salvadoran society continue really been closed. With this question, they ask if at TO THE C HURCHES to exist. The framework of the any time there will in fact be justice for the thousands democratic institutions—from the political of cases of torture, assassination, disappearance, and parties to the justice system—is very weak. This allows massacre. for illegality to infiltrate state institutions. The Human Rights Commission of the Organiza- Individuals and groups that once existed to exter- tion of American States (OAS), the UCA, and the minate others (those they determined to be subversive Jesuits do not want to close the case. More than two and communist) have a decisive presence not only in years ago, the Jesuit case was presented before the the public arena, but also in dark circles that are the Interamerican Human Rights Commission of the OAS. legacy of the recent past. All the while, they recite “The process is now in a confidential stage in which their credo of democracy. They are political analysts, the Commission has asked for determined items from commentators, directors of radio and television the Salvadoran government,” affirmed the director of programs, and business people. But when we look the Human Rights Institute of the UCA (IDHUCA). more carefully at their activities, they are not as clean He hopes to receive the Commission’s opinion by and honest as they appear to be, just as in the past. February, though he is skeptical of the outcome. The They long for the time in which absolute impunity director has denounced the Salvadoran judicial system ruled and they would like to return to the past. They for being controlled by small, powerful groups. think that they are exempt from the law: they chal- These are the steps that have been taken to un- lenge the judges, hide information, and defame their cover the case of the Jesuits. What can be done in the adversaries. All in all, they are a threat to the institu- future with these and other cases? The only thing to tion of democracy. be done is to contest the 1993 General Amnesty Law. There are also those that say we no longer need to The Pinochet case has reopened the themes of “justice” bring up the past and that if we keep touching the old and “legislation.” Legislation must be revisited if wounds, they will never heal. On the surface, perhaps justice is to prevail. We will see what can be done. this is true. Nevertheless, history continues to config- Revocation of the amnesty. The decree of amnesty ure present reality both at a structural and symbolic has been an attempt to forgive and forget, turning its level. Many of the institutional perversions of today— back on the Salvadoran people. The case of the Jesuits for example, those that have the National Civilian is a crime whose authors—both the material authors Police trapped—are closely related to perversions who went to court as well as the intellectual authors of the past. Many of the criminal practices of today— who escaped justice—reap the benefits of “forgive and kidnapping rings, narco-traffickers, extortionists—are forget.” Amnesty violated the law by returning these not that far from the practices that proliferated among individuals to the service of the State just after they the military, political, and business sectors in recent committed the crimes (Art. 244). And it violated inter- history. Many of the values of the current national national law because amnesty had been granted for culture—egotism, power, and domination—were crimes that must be prosecuted and sanctioned and incubated during the long reign of military whose processing and penalty cannot be subject to con- authoritarianism. ditions. This is the case for crimes of war and treason. In order to remember the Jesuits of the UCA and Amnesty is nothing more than a claim to power in all of those assassinated for their commitment to justice, a State of Law, but this is no conciliation. An attempt it is necessary to critically analyze current reality. to reestablish the seriously violated law, taking into account the existing amnesty, means that we must obey the following ideas, which are derived from What is currently happening with the national and international law: Jesuit case? 1. The Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court must There was a trial and a court of anonymous con- declare the amnesty to be unconstitutional (Art. 183). science declared the seven material authors who confessed to the massacre innocent. Colonel Alfredo 2. When faced with a concrete case, Salvadoran judges Benavides and his assistant Yusshy René Mendoza must declare the Amnesty Law inapplicable (Art. were the only two who were convicted. On April 1, 185). 1993, both left the jail where they were being held. 3. When faced with a concrete case in which there is General amnesty—which was qualified by then Jesuit a conflict between international human rights rules Provincial José María Tojeira as an offense to justice— and treaties and the amnesty law, Salvadoran judges offered freedom to both. These are the facts, but must favor the first. many continue to ask if the case of the Jesuits has Page 10 • SALVANET 4. The Interamerican Human Rights Commission, fact that those who made such claims came from a very whose supra-national nature means that its decisions specific sector of Salvadoran society: the Armed Forces, must be followed by El Salvador (as a signatory of who planned and executed the assassination, and the the San Jose Pact) must declare amnesty to be a upper class, who endorsed and justified the crime. violation of the Pact and order its repeal in order to reestablish respect for human rights in El Salvador. Their tendency is also revealed by the fact that this statement was included in a report supposedly written The possibility also exists that the Interamerican about the offensive. The aim? To associate the Jesuit Justice Court, which forms part of the system of assassination with the FMLN, the same thing that was international American human rights protection, done by the material and intellectual authors of the would intervene if the Commission were to present crime. This makes the assassination justifiable. In the the case or if the case is brought forth by the State end, it is concluded that Ellacuría and his team (just of El Salvador. like Monsignor Romero) “got involved with politics.” 5. Any State that maintains a solid democratic institu- But this was not the only perspective that was tion must apply the principal of universality in offered. Also found in the Diario de Hoy was a column prosecuting crimes of treason. The State must force written by Salvador Samayoa on November 11, which the intellectual authors to submit to judgement and, praised the martyrs and spoke of them affectionately. in the application of international rules, they must “I loved them all very much and their death hurt me leave the Salvadoran Amnesty Law to the side. at the depth of my soul . . . . As a Salvadoran I was hurt by the loss of people of such good heart, talent, and generosity, people who will undoubtedly be How is Salvadoran society carrying on the missed in the building of a better country and a more memory of the martyrs? humane society.” To Ellacuría, he dedicated the follow- ing words: “Ignacio was an extraordinary man . . . he It depends of course. The Christian communities used complete independence in his criteria . . . he was remember Monsignor Romero, the martyrs of the UCA a free spirit. His intelligence was superior.” and their own martyrs with enthusiasm and commit- ment. This calls to mind the vigil. The powerful, the On November 14, the Prensa Gráfica newspaper armed forces, the oligarchy, the banks, the government, published a report entitled “One Such Ignacio” in the legislative assembly, and many political parties which Ellacuría’s former students shared their memo- have, for ten years, ignored the martyrs and wish that ries. The coverage offered by the CoLatino newspaper they would remain dead forever. But by doing this, was openly sympathetic with the commemoration and they impoverish themselves and the country. the coverage offered by El Mundo was scarce but neutral. In the audiovisual realm, Channels 12 and 33 With regards to the media, the situation varies. supplied good coverage of the commemoration. First we will mention what today is an aberrant example, but which was common practice in years The balance is important. The UCA martyrs are past. On November 11, the newspaper El Diario de present in the media, though not as much as is needed. H o y published a special piece about the 1989 guerilla The powers that be are against them, but their truth offensive. The subtitle of the article read “The Assas- shows the way. Now we must take the most impor- sination of the Jesuits.” It had no relationship to the tant step: we must thank the martyrs for their contri- theme that was been developed and yet it was printed bution to Salvadoran society and take up the reigns by in bigger and bolder print. It read, “Ignacio Ellacuría, adopting the great values and institutions that they considered the ideologue of the left, and five other left behind. Jesuits were killed on November 16, 1989 on the The poor once again offer their response to the campus of the UCA, which was considered to be one silence of the powerful and to the malevolence of the of the ‘FMLN sanctuaries’ during the armed aggression.” Diario de Hoy. Their answer was found in the thou- The tendency that is revealed in this statement sands that walked with candlelight in hand to an- is obvious. It speaks of the “ideologue of the left” nounce where it is that they continue to find light without mentioning that Ellacuría and the UCA were ten years later. also critics of the FMLN. And it does not mention the Yearly subscriptions to Carta A Las Iglesias, a bimonthly publication in Spanish, can be obtained for $35 by writing to: Centro de Distribución UCA, Apartado Postal (01) 575, San Salvador, El Salvador, Centro America. Make checks payable to: Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas January–February, 1999 • Page 11 Clo the se SCHOOL OF November Protest SOA ! THE AMERICAS at Ft. Benning By and About the UCA Martyrs UPDATE Calling for the shut down of the U.S. Jon Sobrino, Ignacio Ellacuría, et. al. Companions of Jesus: The Army School of the Americas, 4,408 human Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador. Orbis, 1990. Essays by and about the rights activists risked arrest Sunday, November UCA martyrs. 21 by crossing the line onto the Ft. Benning (GA) Instituto de Estudios Centroamericanos and El Rescate. The Jesuit military base in protest of the School’s long associ- Assassinations: The Writings of Ellacuría, Martín-Baró and Segundo ation with human rights atrocities and massa- Montes, with a Chronology of the Investigation. Sheed & Ward, 1990. cres throughout Latin America. The demonstra- tion honored the six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró and Segundo Montes. Toward her daughter on the 10th anniversary of their murder in a Society That Serves Its People: The Intellectual Contribution of El El Salvador at the hands of SOA graduates. Salvador’s Murdered Jesuits. John Hassett and Hugh Lacey, eds. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 1991. Essays by Ellacuría, The line crossing was led by a solemn procession of Martín-Baró and Montes with thorough bibliography. protesters in black mourning shrouds and white “death masks” who carried full-sized coffins and white, child- Ignacio Ellacuría. Freedom Made Flesh: The Mission of Christ and sized coffins to symbolize the thousands of men, women, His Church. Orbis, 1976. and children killed and “disappeared” by graduates of the military training school. As the names of the victims Ignacio Martín-Baró. Writings for a Liberation Psychology. Adrianne of SOA violence were called aloud, actor Martin Sheen Aron and Shawn Corne, eds. Cambridge and London: Harvard and long-time peace activist and Catholic priest Daniel University Press, 1994. Berrigan led a wave of protesters across the line drawn Juan Ramón Moreno. Gospel and Mission: Spirituality and the Poor. on the pavement marking the entrance to the army post. Manila: Cardinal Bea Institute, Ateneo de Manila University, 1995. FAST 2000 to Close the SOA Kevin F. Burke. In Washington, DC: The Ground 5Kick Off Rally – Sunday, April 2, 20005 5 Beneath the Cross: The 5Lobby Day - Monday, April 3, 20005 5 Theology of Ignacio At 2,000 Locations Nationwide: Ellacuría. Washington, 5 Juice-Only Fast ~ April 6 - April 19, 20005 5 D.C.: Georgetown Organizing packet with country fact sheets University Press, are available from SOA Watch. forthcoming, 2000. For More Information For a complete bibliography of English resources on the School of the Americas Watch, P.O. Box 4566, UCA Martyrs, Archbishop Romero, the four churchwomen, Washington, D.C., 20017-0566, (202) 234-3440 and the church of the poor in Central America, plese contact email@example.com, http://www.soaw.org/ CRISPAZ El Salvador: firstname.lastname@example.org. CRISPAZ Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage 319 Camden Street PAID San Antonio, Texas 78215 San Antonio, Texas Permit No. 573 Address service requested.
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