A century of Struggles

Como voy a hacer uso de esa información, tuve que hacer una selección de los textos en inglés del libro “Imágenes para no olvidar” del equipo Maíz. Así que si quieren la versión completa y, mejor aún, en español, compren el libro y compartanlo con gente tonta, ingenua y/o estúpida. Talvez cambien de opinión.

Imagínense que, antes, alguien tan listo como yo (sí, alguien tan perfecto) pensaba que -para ahorrarnos problemas- deberíamos haber formado parte hacía ya mucho tiempo de Estados Unidos, ser uno más y gozar de sus beneficios.

Imaginense.

Así es uno de tonto cuando cipote. No sabe de la historia, no sabe de identidad nacional, ni se ha deprimido a medida que uno piensa en cuánto tiempo tuvo que pasar para poder ver este gobierno que hoy tenemos y que, esperemos, sea el principio del cambio.

Ojalá haya justicia y Cristiani pague por su participación en el asesinato de los jesuitas.

Un pedacito:

The 1932 Uprising

The great world economic crisis of 1929 had, as would be expected, negative effects for El Salvador. Coffee prices plummeted. Coffee-growing families, accustomed to high profits, preferred not to harvest their coffee crop. This increased rural unemployment and provoked violent protests that took place mostly in the western part of the country.

Arturo Araujo obtained a great deal of popular support during the 1931 elections as a result of his promises of land expropriations. But, in order to win over the rich who had labeled him as a communist, he named General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez as both Vice-President and Minister of War. Araujo could not manage the country’s critical situation and was overthrown by a coup d’état on December 2, 1931. Hernández Martínez was named President.

 

By the end of 1931, organized masses of people faced with intense repression and overcome by hunger, decided to take up arms. On January 5th and 10th municipal and legislative elections were announced, but few people believed that elections would resolve the conflict. The Communist Party, founded in 1930, participated in the elections. While some of their candidates won, they were not allowed to take office and repression increased. The organized masses decided to take action, although some party leaders had doubts about supporting such a decision.

 

It was decided to carry out an uprising on January 22, 1932. The government found out about these plans ahead of time. Farabundo Martí and other leaders were captured and the project fell apart. In spite of that there were uprisings in Santa Tecla, Colón, Armenia, Nahuizalco, Juayúa, Tacuba and Ahuachapán. The majority of the rebels were indigenous people and peasants that lived in the western part of the country and among them were many women. Many villages were taken over by rebels, but they were poorly armed and isolated from their companions in the cities. Nevertheless, the rebels, led by local leaders such as Feliciano Ama and Francisco Sánchez, were able to maintain control of some places for up to 3 days. However, when Martínez counterattacked with the whole force of his army, they were torn apart.

 

The uprising was smashed. Farabundo Martí and many other leaders were executed by a firing squad. Miguel Mármol survived a firing squad and escaped. Thousand of peasants, including women and children, were massacred. The exact number of dead was never known, although some consider that it was 30,000. The majority were victims of repressions since deaths caused by the rebels didn’t even reach 100. Thousands of widows became the heads of their families and had to figure out how to support their children. All of this left a deep mark on the history and memory of the Salvadoran people.

 

General Martinez’s Dictatorship

Martinez was in power for 13 years. He proclaimed a law for long term debt payment and another for the liquidation of debts, which, if they favored the Salvadoran oligarchy, they also helped small property owners who were victims of moneylenders and private banks. Martinez also created the Central Reserve Bank and the Mortgage Bank, which attempted to make credits more accessible. In short, Martinez sealed the alliance between the landowning oligarchy and the military.

 

The oligarchy distanced itself from Martínez when he intervened in economic matters and especially when the dictator wanted to perpetuate himself in power by abolishing the Constitution in 1939. By 1941 the opposition’s discontent took force.

The Student Movement

In the 1970s Molina started off his term by eliminating the autonomy of the National University. In July of 1972 security forces occupied the campus alleging that the National University had fallen into the hands of “communist mobs”. Many members of the University community were captured and sent into exile. This radicalized the student movement even more. The National Guard used repressive tactics on University protests in Santa Ana in 1975. Students in San Salvador organized a protest march in solidarity with the students in Santa Ana on July 30th. When the march of more than 2000 students started out towards the Plaza Libertad, it was brutally repressed on the bridge near the Social Security Institute. There were 27 students killed and many “disappeared”, among them many women. Meanwhile, the government tried to project a democratic image of the country by hosting the 1975 Miss Universe contest with the slogan: “El Salvador, the country of the smile”.

 

The Death Squads

One month after the student massacre, in August of 1975 a paramilitary organization called the Liberation Armed Forces of Anti-communist Extermination War (FALANGE), published a series of menacing communiqués. The Death Squads became instruments of the State and the oligarchy in order to repress and eliminate political opposition. These groups functioned out of the army and security forces’ structures and were responsible for innumerable assassinations, disappearances and cases of torture.

 

Not one step backwards

At the end of his presidential term, Colonel Molina and the Legislative Assembly decreed a short-term agrarian transformation that would attempt to distribute 60,700 hectares of land in Usulután and San Miguel to 12,000 peasant families. The oligarchy, represented by the National Private Enterprise Association (ANEP) and the Eastern Regional Agrarian Front (FARO), launched an aggressive campaign against the decree and threatened a coup d’état if the project continued. In spite of the fact that this measure could have been an escape valve for ending conflicts in the countryside, it was not permitted because it would have put in place a reformist precedent that would threaten the oligarchy’s interests. Even though President Molina had promised that he would “not make one step backward”, the agrarian transformation project was annulled by a new decree in the Legislative Assembly on October 19, 1976.

Ignacio Ellacuría wrote an article with a title that summed up the attitude of the government and armed forces towards the oligarchy: “At your orders, my capital”, a take-off on “At your orders, my captain”.

 

Electioneers to the Trash Cans

In 1977 General Carlos Humberto Romero was elected president in another fraudulent process. On February 28, popular organizations gathered a large number of people in the Plaza Libertad. The army opened fire on the people leaving many dead. The slogan “electioneers to the trash cans” took force. The armed struggle began to be seen by many as the only way left for people to get access to power and transform the country.

 

Medellin and the Salvadoran Church

In the second Latin American Bishop’s Conference that took place in Medellin, Colombia in 1968, the Catholic Church committed itself to the “preferential option for the poor”, the promotion of Christian base communities and defined the Latin American reality as a structural injustice through which a few powerful people enriched themselves at the cost of impoverishing the great majority. Many members of the Salvadoran Catholic Church quickly adopted the new pastoral line. A great deal of work was carried out with peasants and workers to promote organization, create training centers and at the same time form institutions for the defense and promotion of human rights.

 

Monseñor Romero

When the Pope named Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero as Archbishop of San Salvador, the oligarchy felt secure. Up until then he had been considered a conservative and friend of the rich. Powerful groups thought that the new Archbishop would put the brakes on the renewal movement that clerics had been carrying out for years.

 

Nevertheless, as a surprise to many, Romero radically changed, becoming a defender of the poor and the oppressed. In his Sunday homilies he spoke out against the injustice of powerful sectors and of assassinations and massacres carried out by the army and security forces. Monseñor Romero defended people’s just demands and their right to organize. He mediated innumerable conflicts, created an organism for the defense of human rights and, more than anything, in his innumerable visits to towns and villages in the Archdiocese, he sought out the poor. Monseñor Romero’s homilies in the National Cathedral were transmitted by radio and listened to all over the country. His words became “the voice of the voiceless”.

Y si se le antoja descargar todo (que es un 80% de la información en inglés que trae el libro), haga clic aquí.

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