2 Dirty War: Characteristics State-sponsored violence against large segments of the general populationViolent repression of non-violent groups deemed hostile to the regime in powerGroups often branded as “terrorists” or “subversives”State Terror:Ideological logicEfforts to foster uncertaintyEfforts to fragment societyImpunity
3 Dirty War: Methods Asymmetric violence Extra-judicial detention DisappearancesTorture and murderMassacresUse of paramilitary forcesLack of accountabilityPlausible deniability
4 The National Context: 1823 - 1980 1823: Independence; the country is ruled by a series of liberal elites1850s: the global market price of indigo collapses1856 law requires communes to plant 2/3 of their land in coffee1880 communal landholding is outlawedVagrancy laws1930: limited democratic reforms1931: coup; military dictatorships1932: la Matanza1961: ORDEN forms1970: leftist guerilla groups begin to form1972: Duarte wins the presidential election1980: leftist groups unite to form the FMLNAugustín Farabundo Martí
5 The International Context: the U.S. and the Cold War Cuba: 1959 revolutionGuatemala: ongoing conflict between the government and a series of leftist opposition groups (Arbenz 1954)Nicaragua: July overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship by the Sandinista National Liberation Front1977–1981: Pres. Carter1981–1989: Pres. Reagan1989–1993: Pres. Bush, Sr.
6 The Dirty War: 1980 – 1992 The Government Forces The MilitaryRapid response battalion ATLACATLIntelligence ForcesSecurity ForcesCivil defense forcesParamilitary death squadsORDENStrategies: “Draining the Sea”1985 and later: targeting FMLN fightersMethodsSearches of persons and propertyArbitrary arrest and detentionSystematic use of kidnapping and tortureMutilation and dismemberment of corpses which are then left in visible, public placesJudicial stonewalling, corruption, and the use of confessions obtained through tortureImpunity for violators and harassment of humanitarian, human rights, and relief organizations
7 The Dirty War: 1980 – 1992 The Opposition Forces Urban movements, based on unions and student groupsLiberation Theology24 March 1980: Assassination of Archbishop Oscar RomeroFrente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación NacionalNumbered around 4,000 fightersMobility, familiarity with the mountain terrainQuick, small operationsSurvived on peasant supportRadio VenceremosBroadcast from military-controlled territory
9 Ending the Dirty War The failure of the FMLN The “hearts and minds” strategyThe decline of U.S. supportEnd of the Cold War16 Nov 1989 Jesuit killingsThe 1991 Peace AgreementReconciliation, Amnesty, Reintegration1992 the peace agreement takes effect, UN verifies weapons decommissioning1993 Peace and Reconciliation Commission1994 Presidential elections
10 Ending the Dirty War The Civil War lasted for 12 years: 1980-1992 Roughly 70,000 people diedState-related forces were responsible for 80% of all deathsfour-fifths or more of these deaths were peasants and workers1979 population 4.5 million500,000 – 750,000 people fled the country500,000 – 1,000,000 IDPs10% reduction in per capita economic production
11 El Salvador Today Social Indicators Underemployment: 40-50% Median age: 22 yearsEducation: average of 5.5 years of schoolingReligion: 55% CatholicUnderemployment: 40-50%Homicide rate: 55.3 per 100,000Higher than during the warGangsEighteenth StreetMara Salvatrucha
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