El Salvador

from the book

The CIAs Greatest Hits

by Mark Zepezauer


The fourteen families who rule El Salvador have never been squeamish about taking the life of anyone who gets in their way. Among the many people who commonly get in their way are the Catholic clergy, due to the concern they often show for the poor. As a result, a popular slogan among Salvadoran rightists is, "be patriotic-kill a priest."

In 1980, El Salvador's archbishop, Oscar Romero, made the mistake of taking President Carter's human rights rhetoric seriously. He wrote Carter, begging him to stop military support for El Salvador's murderous rulers. Carter ignored Romero, but the people who ran El Salvador didn't. Shortly after he sent the letter, Romero was shot through the heart while saying mass.

Romero's assassination was ordered by Roberto D'Aubuisson (daw-bwee-SAWN), nicknamed Blowtorch Bob for his favorite instrument of torture. A big admirer of Adolf Hitler, D'Aubuisson once said, "You Germans were very intelligent. You realized that the Jews were responsible for the spread of Communism and you began to kill them." D'Aubuisson has passed on, but his ARENA party, supported by the US, still rules El Salvador.

D'Aubuisson was a big wheel in the World Anti-Communist League. Organized in 1961, WACL serves as a worldwide umbrella organization for extreme-right militants. Among its members are expatriate Nazis, Italian terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaners, Latin American death squad leaders and a number of US congressmen and "former" CIA agents.

Even aside from its participation in WACL, the CIA has done much to encourage bloodshed in El Salvador. With billions of dollars in US military aid at its disposal, it's flown air raids, waded into combat and trained the military units that formed the death squads.

The agency's spin doctors have also worked to improve the government's image. This often consisted of denying that atrocities like the 1982 massacre at El Mozote ever happened. Agency sycophants in the media parroted this line shamelessly until, in 1993, the UN Truth Commission investigated El Mozote and determined that 733 peasants had been murdered there. All in all, the Truth Commission concluded, 63,000 Salvadorans were killed between 1979 and 1992.

In 1982, after he was out of office, Jimmy Carter called El Salvador's government the "blood-thirstiest in the hemisphere." It's too bad he didn't come to that realization back when he-like his predecessors and successors-was funding it.

CIAs Greatest Hits

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