HomeOpinionThe government of Luis Herrera in El Salvador

The government of Luis Herrera in El Salvador

El Salvador suffered military dictatorships in alliance with the landowning oligarchy from 1931 to 1984. However, in the face of popular protest that had turned into guerrilla warfare, under the auspices and planning of the United States government, a succession of junta were installed in 1979. government of “transition to democracy”. In March 1980, the Christian democrat José Napoleón Duarte joined the government as a minister and in December he became president of the board.

During those “transition” years, the integration of civilians into the junta served as a cover for an unbridled wave of state crimes, carried out by the Armed Forces of El Salvador and paramilitary groups that acted in coordination. Perhaps one of the best-known crimes is the murder of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero (March 1980), machine-gunned in the middle of a homily. Or those of a group of American nuns, from the Maryknoll order, raped and murdered after being detained by the National Guard in December 1980. The list is much broader and more massive. We point out only two milestones: the Sumpul massacre in May 1980, when the Armed Forces attacked the town of Chalatenango, pursued those who fled and murdered at least 600 people; and the El Mozote massacre, the name given to a set of massacres against the civilian population carried out by the Atlácatl Battalion of the Armed Forces of El Salvador, in December 1981, where 978 people (553 minors) were murdered. The total number of murders committed by the State in that period exceeds 30.000 people.
President Luis Herrera Campíns (1979-1984) provided extensive support to the Salvadoran government during that period. In Herrera's words, it was “moral and political support.” However, at that time the presence of police and military officials advising the Armed Forces of El Salvador was reported in Congress. Later declassified sources confirm Venezuelan military and police support for the Salvadoran government.

The “covert” operations were directed from the Venezuelan embassy. The ambassador at the time was Leopoldo Castillo. Edmundo González Urrutia was his minister advisor between 1981 and 1983. It would be good to ask.


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