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El Salvador and the United States The Cold War, Counterinsurgency and terrorism.

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Presentation on theme: "El Salvador and the United States The Cold War, Counterinsurgency and terrorism."— Presentation transcript:

1 El Salvador and the United States The Cold War, Counterinsurgency and terrorism

2 1960s and 1970s 1930s: Most President’s of El Salvador were military officers Most El Salvadorans poor peasants Elite class control most of the wealth Effects of Cuba cause the US to look for change Alliance for Progress: pushes reform to forestall leftist uprising. Land reform resisted by elite of society and the military who tended to side with them politically Death Squads emerge: assassinate and intimidate opposition groups to elite ownership of most of El Salvador

3 Romero and Grande Father Rutilio Grande was part of a protest The election of 1977 was stolen by the military The protest was surrounded by security forces who fired their weapons into the crowd Father Grande was killed In response, Archbishop Oscar Romero called for an investigation and then asked the US to stop funding the Salvadoran military. Over 100,000 attend the funeral

4 Romero makes a plea “I beseech you, I beg you, order you in the name of God. Stop the repression.” “In less than three years, more than fifty priests have been attacked, threatened and slandered. Six of them are martyrs, having been assassinated; various others have been tortured, and others expelled from the country. Religious women have also been the object of persecution. The archdiocesan radio station, Catholic educational institutions and Christian religious institutions have been constantly attacked, menaced, threatened with bombs. Various parish convents have been sacked”

5 Assassination Romero was assassinated by Roberto D’Aubuisson in 1980 while holding consecrated host above his head Tied to ‘liberation theology’ jesuits that advocated social activism, highlighted Jesus as an advocate of the oppressed Seen as a form of Christian Socialism His assassination was internationally rebuked

6 Civil War Erupts The military and Leftist groups vie for control of the country The funeral marked a cause for alarm 6 months later, a Civil War erupts The military and FMLN compete for the ‘hearts and minds’ of the population Familiar ‘Vietnam’ themes emerge New President Reagan is not about to let this fall to communists insurgents

7 FMLN--Leftwing Insurgents

8 Death Squads and Warfare US looks to prevent another ‘Cuba’ Reagan increases military aid to the Army of El Salvador 70,000 El Salvadorans were killed in about a decade of war The US, due to the nature of the cold war, backed some of the more vicious attacks by the military El Mozote Massacre was a particularly disturbing attack

9 El Mozote To intimidate the countryside into submission, the army often sent out ‘death squads’ used to inflict serious damage: send a message In 1981, over 700 villagers were mowed down my military gunfire This village: El Mozote The bodies were buried and the story took a while to get out The US didn’t want to look as if it was backing this type of counterinsurgency A method of troop recruitment by the army was to force children to join the military

10 Growing Concern Atrocities mounted US State Department was losing credibility Many Jesuit priests were being murdered US Congressman Joe Moakley visits and encounters massive cover up on the part of the Salvadoran military This investigation forced a negotiation to end the brutal war

11 The Irony was repugnant

12 Romero Remembered

13 1992 Peace Accords ends the fighting A result of the war was massive immigration into the United States A left wing government was stopped However, the terror witnessed by El Salvador has allowed it to develop one of the least economically productive countries in Central America 102 officers were dismissed as a result

14 Significance In the effort to put down a ‘leftist’ government, the United States had to ally itself with unsavory, brutal people El Salvador experiences Civil War Eventually, this strategy is seen as a success and El Salvador is considered ‘democratic’

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