Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

Celebrations of the American Churchwomen

December 16, 2013

The week of December 2nd dozens of women religious, lay leaders, college students, and people in solidarity from across the country gathered to remember the five martyred churchwomen: Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy Kazel, Jean Donovan, and Carla Piette.

Altar Commemorating the American Churchwomen

Altar Commemorating the American Churchwomen












In the San Francisco Bay Area Lyn Kirkconnell, a former Maryknoll Missioner who was serving in Peru at the time of their deaths, shared the following reflection:

 It is not easy to paint a picture of the horror and brutality experienced and witnessed daily by the people of El Salvador in 1980.  Indeed, why should we keep looking at that fateful year 33 years later?  And why look at events in such a tiny country in the middle of Central America?

 It is because El Salvador is a microcosm of our world; it is because what happened there, several decades ago, represents the worst and the best of humankind.  During my brief, but poignant 10-day visit last year with the SHARE-LCWR delegation, I was reminded over and over again of a monument I saw when I was a young student in Paris.  This is the Memorial of the Deported Martyrs behind Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cité.  This memorial was dedicated in 1962 to the 200,000 Jewish people deported during WWII, handed over to the Nazis to be used, abused and thrown away.  You descend the stairs to the entrance to this memorial.  Inside a small room, you view a long tunnel-like structure with the names of the deported and with a light symbolizing each life.  As you leave, etched in stone over the doorway, are the words: “Pardonne;  N’oublie pas…”  “Forgive;  Do not forget…” Read More »

Salvador Sánchez Cerén: From Guerilla Commander to President?

December 6, 2013

Salvador Sánchez Cerén is a Salvadoran politician, one of original founders of the leftist party, Frente Farabundo Marti (FMLN), and the dissolved political-military organization, Fuerzas Populares de Liberacion “Farabundo Marti” (FPL).  He is the FMLN’s presidential candidate for 2014, with VP candidate Oscar Ortiz.

He was born in the city of Quetzaltepeque on June 18th, 1944.  Quetzaltepeque has indigenous origins and literally means “the quetzal’s (colorful bird) place”. Sanchez Ceren comes from a large, working family.  He grew up with twelve brothers and sisters, his mother and father.  His father was a carpenter by trade, and his mother was a market vendor. He went to primary and secondary school in Quetzaltepeque, at Centro Escolar Jose Dolores Larreynaga.


Sánchez Cerén worked as a teacher, after graduating from the National Teaching School Alberto Masferrer in 1963.  On June 21st, 1972, he founded the National Association of Salvadoran Educators (ANDES 21 de junio). In 1992 he was elected as an FMLN parliamentarian, and then re-elected in both 2003 and 2006 as the Chief of Party. In September of 2007, he was nominated vice president, and won the campaign alongside current president Mauricio Funes.

Once vice president, he took position as the Minister of Education. As Minister, he was best known for his school uniform and cup of milk programs, that provides every student through the 9th grade with a uniform, two pairs of shoes, and a daily glass of milk.  But in June of 2012, he renounced his position as minister, and announced his candidacy for the 2014 Presidential Elections. His running mate is Oscar Ortiz, the popular former mayor of Santa Tecla.

Sánchez Cerén and Ortiz have a very clear platform: to continue with positive changes for El Salvador. They speak of a country of hope, change, and opportunity for its people. The majority of the FMLN platform focuses on education, economic development and violence prevention. Sanchez Ceren wishes to generate more jobs, stimulate the public-private sector, and support small and medium-sized businesses. He is also committed to strengthening Salvadoran agriculture, fighting crime, defending the constitution, and to governing with honesty, integrity, austerity, ethics and efficiency.


Former Military Leader, Inocente Montano, Sentenced to 21 months in U.S. Prison for Immigration Fraud

August 27, 2013

This morning, Ex-Salvadoran military leader, Inocente Orlando Montano, was sentenced to 21 months in U.S. prison on charges of immigration fraud. In September 2012, Montano pleaded guilty to six counts of immigration fraud and perjury for hiding his career as a Salvadoran military leader in order to obtain Temporary Protective Status, a humanitarian benefit for which he is not eligible. Montano´s sentencing hearing began on January 15th, 2013 and culminated in today´s sentence. The Center for Justice and Accountability dedicated months to bringing Inocente Montano´s involvement in human rights violations to bear in the case.

Inocente Orlando Montano- September 11, 2012

Inocente Orlando Montano- September 11, 2012

The 1993 U.N. Truth Commission Report named Montano as one of the main decision makers responsible for the murders of the six Jesuit Priests, housekeeper Elba Ramos, and her teenage daughter, Celina, at the Central American University in El Salvador (UCA). Montano was also the second in command of the Belloso Battalion, one of the units that participated in the 1982 massacre at El Calabozo where the Salvadoran military slaughtered over 200 children, women, and men.

In 2011, a Spanish court indicted Montano and 20 other army officials suspected as culprits in the murders of the priests Father Ignacio Ellacuría, Father Ignacio Martín-Baró, Father Segundo Montes, Father Armando López, Father Juan Ramon Moreno, Father Joaquin López, and Elba Ramos and Celina Ramos. Based on this indictment, Montano can still be extradited to Spain. A Spanish judge has already submitted a request to the U.S. government and a response is pending at the moment.

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Court Orders Government to Investigate El Mozote Massacre

December 14, 2012

The Salvadoran military systematically assassinated over 800 men, women, and children in the massacre

On Monday, December 10th, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a long awaited ruling on the El Mozote massacre case. The Court condemned the government as responsible for the massacre, for this violation of life. As part of the ruling, the Court ordered the Salvadoran government to investigate those responsible for the El Mozote massacre, citing that the 1993 amnesty law does not cover war crimes that occurred during the civil war.

Throughout the war, the government repeatedly committed acts of extreme cruelty and violence, and the El Mozote massacre was undoubtedly one of the most brutal. On December 11th, 1981, Salvadoran armed forces entered El Mozote and the surrounding villages. They then rounded up, separated, and systematically killed nearly 1,000 men, women, and children. Only one survived. Over half of the victims were children. The massacre is just one war atrocity among many for which the Salvadoran government is responsible as the state implemented its policy of terror against its people; it remains burned into the collective Salvadoran memory as the most horrific violation against human life.

Up until recently, national Salvadoran courts refused to investigate the killings, using the 1993 amnesty law to avoid responsibility for the long list of human rights they so cruelly violated in December 1981. Because of this impunity, human rights organizations like Tutela Legal took the case to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and then to the Inter-American Court in 2011. However, Monday’s ruling is encouraging in the fight for truth, justice, and reparations for the crimes committed. Among other things, the Inter-American Court ordered the Salvadoran government to enact the following remedial measures:

i) continue compiling a Register of Victims and Relatives of Victims of the massacre  
ii) perform investigations of the events,  
iii) ensure that the Amnesty Law does not represent an obstacle to investigations,  
iv) investigate the conduct of officials who obstructed the investigation

Read More »

Mujeres de la Guerra Book

October 22, 2012

We are excited to share that the Mujeres de la Guerra book is now for sale! The Mujeres de la Guerra book – part of a larger historical memory project including a documentary
film and photography exhibit – includes the formal portraits and testimonies of 28
Salvadoran rural women, leaders and community organizers. Women from SHARE
counterparts, including the Mujeres Ganaderas, the CCR, UCRES, CRIPDES San
Vicente and CONFRAS, shared their powerful, moving, and inspiring stories for this

Carmen Elena reflects.

These women are teachers, nurses, organic farmers, presidents of community councils, founders of cooperatives and civil society organizations, working for peace and justice today. Carmen Elena is one of the women who shared her time and story for this project. She is Director and teacher at the public school in Los Naranjos, about 45 minutes towards the ocean from the CRIPDES San Vicente San Carlos Lempa office.



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Former Salvadoran Colonel Montano Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court

September 15, 2012

Recently former colonel Inocente Orlando Montano, was charged with three counts of perjury and three other counts of immigration fraud this past Tuesday in the United States Federal Court. He was one of the alleged army officials accused of  the 1989 murders of six Jesuits priests. Montano pleaded guilty to all charges and can face up to 45 years in prison; his sentencing hearing will take place on December 18th.

Inocente Orlando Montano- September 11, 2012

Montano was indicted in Spain in 2011 along with 20 other army officials after being suspected as culprits in the deaths of the priests, a cook and her daughter at the Central American Unversity in El Salvador(UCA) . Based on his suspicion by a Spanish court of his involvement in the murders of the priests, Montano can still be subject  to deportation to Spain. A Spanish judge has already submitted a request to the U.S. government and a response is mending at the moment. 

This retired army colonel admitted to lying in his immigration application when filing for Temporary Protection Status in the U.S. by declaring that he was never involved in any activity with the Salvadoran army. Montano has also declared that he had no role in the slaying of the priest over two decades ago. 

It is believed that Montano had been living in the Boston area since 2001; a man who once held the highest military ranking in the Salvadoran army during its Civil War, worked at a Candy factory for years. Montano’s expenditure is still pending so far there is no word on the U.S. government’s decision. Keep reading on the story by clinking here. 

Nicaragua Withdraws Troops from SOA

September 14, 2012

The massacre at El Mozote is one of the many atrocities committed by SOA graduates.

In a historic decision earlier this month, Nicaraguan President Ortega announced that Nicaragua will be withdrawing its troops completely from the School of the Americas (SOA) now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The Nicaraguan Government has been slowly withdrawing troops over the past decade, sending only five last year.  

In regard to the School of the Americas, President Ortega said: “The SOA is an ethical and moral anathema. All of the countries of Latin America have been victims of its graduates. The SOA is a symbol of death, a symbol of terror. We have been gradually reducing our numbers of troops at the SOA, sending only five last year and none this year. We have now entered a new phase and we will NOT continue to send troops to the SOA. This is the least that we can do. We have been its victims.” 

Over 64,000 soldiers have been trained the School of the Americas (SOA) since it’s founding in 1946.  SOA graduates have used their counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, to devastate the lives of thousands of Central Americans.

SOA graduates are responsible for the assassinations of Monseñor Romero, the six Jesuit Priests, the Four U.S. church women, the El Mozote Massacre, and tens of thousands of other ruthless murders of innocent people.

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Communities Creating Justice: Fredy Gomez and San Francisco Angulo

August 3, 2012

While the El Mozote Massacre, Romero’s Assassination, and the Massacre of the Jesuits receive the most attention, tens of thousands of people were massacred, assassinated, and disappeared across El Salvador during the 1980s. Hundreds of communities have worked long and hard to uncover and preserve the truth of their histories.

One of these stories is that of Fredy Gomez, who was a member of the CRIPDES San Vicente team and the community of San Francisco Angulo, he was also a survivor of one of the many massacres happening during the 1980’s. He dedicated himself to recording the history of his community. This February, Fredy was murdered, many believe because of his activism. His commitment to uncovering the truth and seeking justice brought the massacres in San Francisco de Angulo to the national attention. The legacy of his work continues as we remember these victims.

2010: Fredy holds photos of his mother and brother during exhumations in Lomas de Angulo

During the 1980s, the national guard and other security forces carried out three different massacres in the area of San Francisco de Angulo. During the first massacre, on July 25th, 1981, the national guard and death squads killed forty-five women who had been preparing the day’s tortillas, and an unknown number of children. In October of the same year, the military arrived in neighboring Lomas de Angulo, where many people had taken refuge, rounded up the inhabitants and took them down to the river to kill them. Only two children survived. Several of Fredy’s siblings and his mother all died. On June 19th, 1982 the military swept through the region, killing all the community members and animals they came across, as part of the scorched earth campaign. While many fled, an estimated six hundred people lost their lives. Following these massacres, the community remained uninhabited until 1992, as community members, refugees, ex-combatants, and displaced Salvadorans began to return. Read More »

Madre Guadalupe’s Recent visit to the U.S.

July 12, 2012

Through SHARE’s partnership with CODEFAM (Committee of Families of the Disappeared) and other members of the Comite Promemoria in El Salvador we have launched a new initiative – The Campaign for Truth, Justice, and Reparations; a campaign which demands the Salvadoran government to address the issue of the Disappeared so that El Salvador can fully heal from the wounds of the civil war and create a culture of peace. 

Madre in New York at SHARE board members home event

It is in the hopes of enlightening the world around the issue of the Disappeared that SHARE recently had the privilege of welcoming Madre Guadalupe to the United States and join her as she traveled through various cities and spoke about her experience as an activist advocating for the thousand of disappeared victims of the Civil War.

During her tour Madre Guadalupe visited cities across the U.S. including New York (NY), Union City (NJ) , Washington D.C., Berkeley (CA), Sacramento (CA), San Francisco (CA) and San Jose (CA). With every step of her journey Madre touched the hearts and minds of those who attentively listened to her recollections of the civil war, about her work as the President of  CODEFAM and her passion that drives her to demand justice for the Disappeared for the past 30 years. Read More »

Cinquera Historica

December 28, 2011

Out of a past of horror and violence, Cinquera shines as a beacon of hope for the future.

A mere thirty years ago, nearly unspeakable atrocities were common place in this small, mountainous town. Don Lito, a historic leader of Cinquera, shares gut-wrenching tales of torture, rape, massacres, and incredible, cruetly against humble farmers whose greatest sin was to organize for land to work to feed their families. But today, Cinquera has become a model for locally-led, sustainble development with an emphasis on youth, historical memory, and environmental preservation.

In 1991, the civilian population returned to repopulate Cinquera from the refugee camp in Mesa Grande, Honduras. Like so many places in El Salvador, people returned to find a town destroyed. They began to rebuild from the rubble, starting with makeshift homes, then permanent houses, then roads, a school and potable water. Read More »

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