This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.
america ended the war? america financed it in the first place. america knew exactly what it was doing and what was happening, no matter how the politicians obfuscate. despicable.
I hate what they did to Jean Donovan and the three nuns. I am latina and I am uphauled those men will never have peace their eternal souls are damned and unforgiven by many. For no good reason these women were murdered they were doves doing god's work and for that murdered.
The U.S made a mistake by helping El Salvador. All that money went to buying more bullets to kill the civilians. The hard working people didnt see a single cent unless it was comming out the end of a gun barrel. The U.S. is meddling agian with Iraq. When will they understand they dont see a single cent?
I was 8 years old when the "Civil War" started in El Salvador. Having lived through it, I can tell you without a doubt that there was absolutely nothing "civil" about it. Unfortunately, everyone involved with it, whether directly or indirectly, lost. I am hopeful that El Salvador will someday find the peace it so desperately needs. Yes, even now after the war has been over for many years, the negative after effect is still enormously felt in the entire country.
Congratulations on your excellent film!!
The Salvadoran Civil War from 1980~1992 is a "snap shot" of that country. This conflict did not start in the late 1970's but rather in the late 1920's.
As a proud Salvadoran who was born and raised in El Salvador who eventually immigrated to Chicago at the age of 17, I vividly remember 1979 and the early years of the 1980's. It is one of those incredible moments that I experienced and will NEVER forget it and also learned so much from this it.
I, as any other survivor of any conflict, needed to come to terms with my experiences and started to research more on the subject. It turns out that by late 1920's and early 1930's, Mr. Farabundo Marti, who happens to be a far relative of my family, helped to create the Communist Party in El Salvador and hoped that he could bring the Bolshevik experience in the New world. The result was the famous "Matanza" perpetrated by Gen. Martinez, a man who is loved and hated in E.S. The result of "La Matanza" was more than 30,000 casualties and the beginning of a bitter struggle between the landowners and peasants. Given the circumstances, this conflict could not be avoided for the following reasons:
First of all, El Salvador is a tiny country with large poor population which became more economically deprived as the time went by. The basic necessity for a large number of the population was ignored by the government and the private businesses. In the 1970's many Salvadorans did not have access to running water, sewage, schools, etc.
Secondly, the Cold War was on a final stretch and the Soviet Union and the United States fought bitterly to establish and redefined their geopolitical interests throughout the world. Needless to say, El Salvador like its neighbor, Nicaragua, became battlegrounds of economical and political interest for the two superpowers.
Thirdly, the typical character of many Salvadorans made things more volatile. It's almost an open secret that a large number of Salvadorans are considered hard-working people and are very aggressive in many things they put their mind on it. Without question, many guerrilla as well as government members supported their cause with immense passion. I remember vividly that when I was in my 1st year of High School, my phisics teacher, who just arrived from Porto Alegre, Brazil, commented that given the "character of a Salvadoran" it's very likely that the conflict could last more than 10 years. Guess what? The man was right.
As a 70 year old American, and having read the stories of Salvadoreans of this era, it is quite apparent these many statements show in total the truth regarding this atrocity.
What prompts me were statements of belief that atrocities attributed to local or common individuals involved in fighting for common rights, were deliberately involved in atrocities against their own neighbors or fellow (common)countrymen.
Don't they realize how foolish this sounds. There is adequate and overwhelming proof existing that ruling classes have histories of killing innocent people, then blaming or staging proof that these killings were done instead by these common countrymen.
The South Americas in this same era are full of this proof, including US government involvment. Chile, Panama, and Peru being only a few regarding these atrocities.
I understand the situation of a Salvadoran who does not relate to either side but it is quite erroneous to say that the Americans stopped the war. Americans only stopped the war after the killing of the jesuits at the UCA because at that point they were left supporting a regime which suddenly appeared to be responsible for having killed 4 priests. Congress couldn't certify the human rights record of a regime like that and suddenly we didn't want to help fund the war anymore; but we were too involved to just back out, suddenly the salvadoran government look like a very bad bedfellow and we became interested in ending the war. The idea that the U.S. has an altruistic government which involves itself overseas to end conflicts and help people is sadly very untrue. We learned nothing from the Salvadoran war as is easily evidenced by our current overseas debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lindsay Crooker - Mazariego
I lived there for 1 year in 1997.I was in Northern El salvador near Metapan.I was married to an El Salvadorean man and had a baby while i was there.My son was kiddnapped while i was there and the american embassy was the only people who seemed to help me get him back.
Jesuits were not as you think. I have read things you said about tha war in el salvador. It is obvious you were not here. You put the killings of the jesuits as a landmark. Yes it was, but you are blind to many things that happened here. One night, I heard father Ellacuria (one of the killed ones) that justified the bombcar killings. Believe it or not. He justified them, and said that it was no sin, that it was the riht of the people to express. Do you belive that? That same nigth 5 civilian people died becoause of the "bombcars", and he said it was OK. Anyone that was here could tell you that they were sending weapons to the guerrilla, and soporting them at their universiti, UCA. They became not just fathers and sisters, they were partners of war, combatientes if you wish, and they were killed because they were too mess up with the war, they were not white pigeons. With an internal war is difficult to agree, just have the mind clear. And I am telling you many years after.
By these days El Salvador is the most uprising economy in the region. Nor guatemala nor Costa Rica, which stand still in the 80 and earlies 90s. ask anyone. The war was a horror, I lived it every day, every hour, I dindt go away. I stayed. And I can tell you it worth the price.
El Salvador has gone a long way since the civil war in El Salvador. It is a better place since the war and life is more better. I hear people talking about El Salvador in a bad way. These people think that it is a bad place to live but it is the most beatiful place in the world. I am salvadorian and I love my home country alot and if I was in the war i wouldn't mind being killed for my country like other people. If people like their country like the usa people would die for the country.
I lost my husband in the war. I had to leave the country out of fear for my own life. I left my children behind and saw them once in 10 years. I didn't like either side, to me it was El Salvador people killing each other. Nobody really knows who killed who. which side killed the most?We were afraid of both. American's were the only ones who took interest. Of course they didn't want the spread of communism, do you see what that has done to other countries? During 3 presidents and 12 years the american people poured their tax money into our country. You can focus on all the negative if you want but the Americans stopped the war, brought both sides together. They didn't start it. They finished it. Nothings perfect. All these spoiled Salvadoreans living in the USA enjoying the best life on earth should be ashamed of what they say about this country. I thank god everyday for the life I have here and yes all my children are here now and doing great. Now were in Iraq building schools, creating jobs, showing a better way because the Americans will lay down their lives to help others live free.
I cannot see why anyone would object to stopping the flow of drugs. Unless they stand to profit off of human suffering.
En mi pais hubo una guerra que nos destrozo, a pesar de esto el país se ha recuperad aunque todaiva vivimos sus concecuencias en estos tiempos. La verdad de todo es que el gobierno de Estados Unidos enviaba aproximadamente un millon de dolares diarios al ejercito, quienes recibian ordenes del gobierno. Los militares fueron entrenados por estadounidenses, el resultado fueron campecinos que se transformaron en monstruos que odiaban y sentian asco hacia su gente y su pueblo, quienes hiceron cosas brutales y sumamente crueles en contra de los civiles, tenian los cerebros totalmente lavados, no razonaban solo seguian ordenes de gringos que a su ves controlaban las desiciones del gorbierno asi como en la actualidad y en todo Latino américa, nos hemos reducido a ser las marionetas de esta potencia mundial que maneja el mundo a su antojo!. La guerrilla tambien causo destrozos pero creo que fue mas una respuesta a la violencia impuesta por los militares. La muerte de los jesuitas y de monseñor Romero fueron causadas por el gobierno y principalmente un hombre que fue parte de el partido politico PNC en epocas de la guerra y ahora casi adorado por los integrantes del partido ARENA, vale aclarar que este hombre ya falleciá. La injusticia en El Salvador continua, no es tan ovbia como lo era antes pero es muy fuerte; estos hombres de Dios fueron asesinados por que eran la voz del pueblo, eran los únicos que denunciaban las injusticias que se estaban dando en aquella época, el gobierno les temía ya que hacian reaccionar a la gente en vez de dormirla como la hacian antes los curas, tenian al pueblo viviendo un mundo de mediocridad y conformismo por que pobres nacieron, pobres tenian que morir, todo quedaba "en las manos del Señor", los jesuitas son la rama mas rebelde del datolicismo. El gobierno engaña al pueblo con falsas promesas, el dinero que posee es derrochado en cosas que son importantes pero no primordiales, por ejemplo El Salvador tiene buenas calles en relacion a Centro América, pero el presupuesto para la educación cada ves es mas corto cuando la educacion es la solucion de la raiz de los problemas, otro ejemplo mas perceptible es la ley antimaras o plan mano dura, esta comprobado historicamente que la violencia trae mas violencia, el gobierno manda a encarcelar a los mareros por un corto periodo de tiempo y luego son libres, estos al salir, tiene sed de venganza sin hacer distincion de nada entre las personas a las que les causan daño. El Salvador es un pais que necesita ser gobernado por gente optimista y llena de fe, que realmente busque el bienestar de su gente y no el propio. El Salvador es un pequeño país pero lleno de gente que lucha con el corazón, El Salvador es mi pais y lo amo, conozco mucha gente que realmente tienen ganas de sacarlo adelante mediante soluciones justas, pero que no tienen mucha fuerza, hay que crear conciencia en la gente salvadoreña, que despierten, que se les caiga la venda de los ojos para que en el pulgarcito haya un poco mas de justicia.
As I read this "Message Board" on what many of your two cents have to offer, I cant help ignore the fact that a lot of the postings here do not make any sence. I too am salvadoriñan and I too have heard an seen the great strugles of our people. We should acknoledge the fact that the past is gone but we must never forget. Yes it's true the Human rights violations still occur today but lets not focus on that here, but focus on what we must keep in our hearts and in our minds, so that the next generations to come can understand where we came from. We should not frown upon a simple phrase we hear on the video, or ponder in disgust on an incorrect fact that has nothing to do with the fights and strugles of the Farabundistas. The "Frente" as we all know is flame that keeps burning in our hearts for the fire of justice, and that my fellow brothers is my point. Before the war there was no voice for the simple peasant, there was no representation for working woman, now there is. To cut to the chase all i want to express is that instead of un-meaningfull outcries for documentary errors, lets use our time and effort to keep vigalence on the changes that are today still occuring in our home land.
yes,I red most of the coments, but there is something that you can not tell, when and why?
the war started before 1982, but it was a hiden war where not all salvadorean knew about it. 1973, I was ther with my father and other politicians. Well, they spoke a military operation in chalatenengo province where they said that a operation tok 1000 lives, well it was difficult to believe such story but everytime that i was going to guazapa and aguilares things were happening so fast. My father died in 1975 natural death, my brother had not a chance it was killed brutally, it was in the army. the army was divide in left moderate and social. the right was not visible, it was gone in 1979, 800 officers left before the war. I went o san carlos base where i spoke with some soldiers, they told me their history and they spoke about traitors killing soldiers. it was real. it took me some time to believe but I believe when i saw everything.
Yes, i escaped with my brothers and mother to mexico where we tavelled to another country.
the commander of san carlos spoke to me about the situation and he said that the guerilla were not only salvadoreans, there were from others countries too, I verify his story with people living in most dangerous part of the country and they comfirmed this story.
today, i am still sad and disappointed where violence and hate still alive in my country. there be will peace and harmony again?
I do not thing so. Unless, they convert into a real christian as jesus told us.
Hi there, well the main reason I decided to post a message is because I lived in El Salvador for 10 years, I got there just as they were signing the peace agreement, I have to say, things are a little better, but with such a huge protest movement like a civil war, I would have expected to see a little more progress by now, I curently live in southern California, my family (including my mother) still live there and the conditions aren't any better than when I left 2 years ago.
My point? There is still a corrupted government that is trying to cover the unfairness of their actions with giving the population little things here and there, but not fully respecting the right they fought for.
This film is a powerful testimony of the struggle of an often forgottent people in El Salvador. This film helped me realize that US foreign policy has been so destructive in foreign countries. It is important that we remember these events to ensure that similar events never occur in the world again.
Ronald E. Lievano
I haven't seen this documentery but study greatly on progress on ESA. I just wanted to comment on some of the feed back that has been posted up here I saw that someone put "Scared Souls" to describe the aftermath of the Salvadoran civil war. Let me just say some thing as a future Marine I stay in Los Angeles I'm 20 years old so I have had a chance to learn alot from my family and what Salvadoran are realy like. Theres FAKE Salvadoran wich means they don't have a crums cake clue of what being Salvadora is all about they know nothing of the Salvadoran culture and History. And theres' REAL Salvadorans ones that act their race and are knowledgable of El Salvador and are loyal to their familys' ways. El Salvador has been threw ALOT but never has El Salvador produced "Scared Souls" El Salvador is home to the Best military Special Forces in the Western Hemisphere. Strongest most fiercest soldiers and smartest leaders. I never hold my country against what its been through. Men that are fighters are real men. I'm Salvadoran and going to the Marine Coprs' because I believe that to fight requires great courage a honor. El Salvador is a beautiful country and strong what the civil war did to the people was inflict great pain and sarrow but never "fear" Alot of Salvadorans died for what they belived proving they had the balls to push what they believed and the ones that didn't get killed... Well what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. NOT SCARE/ "You can't change my ethnicity so you won't change my personalitly, I live the way of my people and defend the ways of my family"
i saw the movie in spanish class and and it taught me to greatly appreciate my freedoms and that i should not give them up. Thats why its important to not allow the governmet to take away these rights with laws such as the Patriot Act. We were given our rights on a "silver platter" and should not allow the government to take them away.
Pepe el guanaco
I was born in the farm, but I had the opportunity to come and study in the city San Salvador.
Since I remember, El Salvador was a country for the spaniard conquestor children, the militars and the foreigner investors. The gross population was poor a farmer made in 1960 two colons a day working in haciendas, property of the rich (A lot of this properties were taken by force or intimidation from native families, especialy those around the volcanos, because were the best for the coffe plantation),98% of the farmer's children were with no shoes ( like I use to be) and the average food were only beans and tortillas. Those people had the control of the economy and the political power. Militars where the guadian dogs of the rich, without no respect for the poor, in my village The National guard use to come and the men where quaking only to know that they were coming, some time they killed or tortured a men for nothing. And in some cases were a soldier will take a farmer women for him. At that time people had a very high moral and values and they were very afraid torsthe autorities, specially the farmers.
When I moved to the San Salvador,and I remember that the National Police, the National guard, The Hacienda police and la descalza they were cruels with any man (they had respect for woman) they found in their way or came in their hands.
In the city the an average family use to lived in a room of Mezon. and a lot of children when to the school with no shoes (Like I use to be) The only thing in favor the population was litle and the poor ressources were more or less enought for having a high percentage of the population busy but with a very low quality life.
When I started going to the university I had to do face to the stupid goverment philosophy who acused any student to be comunist (Clearly they only wanted ignorant people, to control and manipulated them. The PCN partty (directed by militars and sobalevas oportunistas)controlled the power. In different occasions the democrats won the elections and the militars never gave it to them. The worker conditions were terrible and their salaries very low. They did not have the right to associate for claiming their rights. Los patrones were very ruds with them and when they knew about an smart worker with Union ideas, they called the national guard and the worker disapeared. The church at that time were in complicity with the goverment. and the student were persecuted, kidnaped and killed (In 1977 I have to scape tors united Stated even when I never participated in political activities, many of my mate were killed in the middle of the night)Than in the side of the gross population everything was ready for taking any philophy against the goverment. USA. were in complicity with the goverment and did not care the poor people situation. A group of student had traveled to washington with evidences of the situation and showed to Ronald reagan and he did not care. Whom will the people call for help? The international communist party came with redentor ideas, and this were a fertilizant in the mind of the students, teachers, farmers and labor. And because the goverment (rich and militars) were so arrogants, so oppresive; a very strong group of salvadorean took the guns to do face now to the fire with fire and than you know the rest.
We can not blame student farmer and labor and some other kind of people from different social classes who were envolved in the guerilla because was the only way they have for been hearded. Does not matter who provided the guns and the trainning. When you feel attacked you do what you have to do.
Hechenle ganas y saquen provecho de esta experiencia en el extranjero y aporten algo a Nuestra patria querida
LUIS E. CAMPOS JR.
HELLO TO EVERYONE ON THIS PAGE AND MY CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE GREAT PEOPLE WHO HAD THE COURAGE TO MAKE A FILM LIKE THIS ONE IT TAKES REAL GUTS TO DO SOMETHING THIS EVEN RISKING THEIR OWN LIVES TO SHOW WHAT CIVIL WAR IS ABOUT.I PAY MY RESPECT TO THIS PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES FOR A BETTER FUTURE IN THIS COUNTRY SO LITTLE BUT WITH A GREAT HEART AND COURAGE, NOW I JUST WISH THE JUVENTUD (YOUNGTERS) WILL UNDERSTAND WHY DID SO MANY PEOPLE DIED DURING THIS HORRIBLE WAR NOT TO CREATE GANGS BUT TO HAVE A BETTER FUTURE FOR THEM.
IT'LLBE AND HONOR FOR ME TO BUY THIS VIDEO I'LL LIKE TO KNOW HOW TO ORDER IT TO SHOW MY CHILDREN AND WIFE PART OF MY LIFE IF YOU COULD SEND ME A LITTLE MORE OF INFORMATION.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
I am first generation born in the United States. Although born in California, my identity is deeply rooted in El Salvador. I did not live or experience the horrors of the war. Thus, the stories from my family have been more than sufice to inform me of the monstrosity that occured for 12 whole years. Until this day, we have no idea what happened to two of my cousins. They were taken out at gun point in the middle of the night, a potato sack was thrown over their heads, and were tossed into the back of a military truck.
All I can think about during the National remembarance for President Reagan is the billions of dollars he pumped into El Salvador to "Stop the possible spread of communism." "Great president" they say, how is that? I was a child during his presidency and don't remember much, and what the American history books taught me in high school and college NEVER mentioned the role he played in El Salvador's bloody civil war. I have yet to see this documentary...but I am glad there is a place to vent and talk about such a burning issue.
What did the war do for El Salvador? Crime, unemployment, and a whole generation of lost, scared souls! Thanks President Reagan!
I am so tired of all the retoric of the "former extremist" ie: FMLN and the rightist asesinos, why after so many lives have been lost are we still trying to rationalize the war, this is about politics. The fact is that while power and dollar hungry individuals still exist the problems will NEVER end, lagrimas will still flow, mothers still will cry for their babies and mi gente will still flock to the NORTH. maras mierda are now replacing "escuadrones and "la guardia", hopelesness will live permanently in El Salvador, but the only thing they will never kill is the garra and corazon of a guanaco....
Trabajador, orgulloso de siempre ser salvadoreno!
I apolozige for not using my real name or email address but there is still fear on me.
In my opinion, all those who died during the last 12 years of war in El Salvador; died in vain. If you look closely to the actual government in El Salvador and the people, you will see the exact same picture as it was during the 70-80's.
The only difference is that now the so called "comandantes" are part of the government and forgot about the reasons that brought the people to war.
Poor are even poorer, combatants from both sides are now abandoned and the rest of the people can only dream of real change.
It's sad that after all, this humble country doesn't see the sunrise; would be nice to see a follow up interviewing those "ex-compañeros" about the reason why the fought and their current role.
What exactly have they done for the people, now that they share the power?
What happened to those "gringo hijueputa fuera de El Salvador" cries of war?
Are the gringos still "hijueputas" for them?
Have they enjoyed any vacations in Florida or else in the USA?
Many of us are still traumatized by the war and see no change, if gringos are no longer "hijueputas" at least will be good that the FMLN show change on the living condition of the poor.
I LEFT EL SALVADOR IN 1984,I WAS 14.ALL I KNEW ABOUT THE WAR WAS WHAT I SAW.THE SOLDIERS WOULD COME TO MY NEIGHBORS HOUSES AND TAKE THEIR TEENAGED BOYS AND KILL THEM JUST BECAUSE SOME "OREJA"LABELED THEM AS "LEFTIST".I'VE LOST MANY FRIENDS....I NEVER BELIEVE WHAT THE GOVERMENT SAID ON THE RADIO OR TV BECAUSE IT WAS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN FRONT OF ME....
I STARTED TO READ SOME MESSAGES AND IT HURTS WHEN YOU SEE THAT ANOTHER PERSON FROM MY COUNTRY SAYS THAT WE WERE BETTER BEFORE OR BLAME THE VICTIMS, JUST LIKE THE ARMY DID DURING THE WAR.
Heather Abarca email@example.com
even though 23 years has passed ,the pain of lossing a father never will disapear. my husband was living in the states when he got the news that his father had disapeared, he was only 15 yrs.old and already had lost his mother 4 years earlier. the sad part is tomas abarca (father) never got to hold his children,and grand children. I was wondering if there was any way I could find out where his body is or if he realy is dead. hopefully this documentry will remind people around the world and not to forget this.
unfortunaly many expressed the opinions from one point of view only. I lived the war and the main objective was to STOP THE COMMUNIST undercovering themselves with a shield of freedom and prosperity. now some are in power enjoying life and the ones who sacrified their lives and ideas are forgotten. even with militar regime there were jobs, public safety basic elements for food and much more international investment on agricultural and textile industies as well as electronics manufacturing, NOW WHAT ? so it wasn't about the country or the people WAS ABOUT POWER !! I do condene any acts of human rights abuses by any front or organizations including the goverment, but ask yourselves what is different today? I'm a salvadorean, and I was a regular person with no influence or political power envolment at all, I went to school, to work and saw very often facilities of international companies bombed,burned and many of the administrative employees kidnapped for pennies without reason by leftist guerrilas or at least so they said, I can't comfirm,but the true is they are still there and now on power, celebrating the WTC tragedy Sept 11.
HELLO that this tells you something ?
To set the record straight on Human Rights abuses. From Madness To Hope:
Arena + ties to Military and Paramilitary committed more than 90% of HR abuses. Yes FMLN too, but not as much.
Communism was a cancer in the minds of manyin the 80s, much as terrorism is now. USA causes/caused that Phobia.
"One must kill the baby in the womb because he or she could be a future communist/terrorist".
What blind ignorance can do when fear takes root and anger deflowered.
Americans fight the "war" (invasion and occupation) from their TV. Their soldiers do not have to worry about they're women being raped or their families being wiped out while out of town by local guerrila militias or paramilitaries.
Those that live Civil War live hell.
Then US soldiers come home from Iraq and the wife expects them to go to the mall the next day and take the kids to walmart.
PTSD soon after. Read this before it slides back to the memory hole.
I'M FROM EL SALVADOR I CAME TO THIS COUNTRY WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS LIVING EVERYTHING ATRAS MY GRANDMA, BROTHERS, AND COUSINS BECAUSE THE WAR...BUT STOP BLEYMING OR ASKING WHOS FAULT WAS IT INSTED LETS PRAY FOR ALL THOSE THAT ARE NOT WITH US ANYMORE, AND PRAY FOR ALL THOSE WHO DON'T HAVE FEELING SO ONE DAY THEY CAN HAVE ONE. GOOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE NOW AND FOR EVER. DIOS BENDIGA A TODOS POR SIEMPRE
I came to the U.S. when I was eight years old along with my grandmother and aunts. We were not rich and had no political influence, but we had a comfortable life in El Salvador. One day my grandmother receives a letter demanding her to leave the country within ten days, and if she did not comply, she would be killed. Our lives were suddenly and drastically changed. According to my grandmother, we never spoke against the government or against the guerillas. The reasons for the request, we will never know.
I have not seen the documentary but reading this information has been enlightening. It exposed the extent of the corruption in the Salvadoran government. I agree that there was (and may still be) corruption, but the guerillas also killed many innocent people. BOTH sides committed atrocities. The people in El Salvador were not ignorant. They were aware on what the military and the opposition were doing. Just as the abuse of power from the military was uncovered, The FMLN sh ould have exposed. It seems as if they did nothing wrong. It doesn't matter whether one side did more than the other. It doesn't seem to objective.
The guerillas wanted to bring communism into the country. Many years ago, I met a couple that alleged they had been guerillas and were trained by Nicaraguans and Cubans. Once they understood what they were ultimately fighting for, they could not dissent because of fear they would be killed. First, it was Cuba and then Nicaragua. Next, El Salvador? The U.S. had to act to prevent further spread of communism in the American continent. My point of view may be against the norm: The U.S. government may have had other motives, but overall, it had good intention. It is my understanding from what I read on the opinions that the U.S is to blame for what happened because it purposely and knowingly allowed corruption, among other things. What was the objective then, to throw money away? It seems that good deeds are not appreciated and it has backfired on the U.S., like it usually does. Unfortunately, the aide given prolonged the war and many more lives were lost as a result. In spite of this, I believe without U.S. collaboration there would be no democracy in El Salvador today.
Why is your post so offbase with the topic here. I learned about San Salvador and the U.S.'s history today. That is why I'm here. I pay my respects to all the pain that has been caused.
Your patriotism is blind. Your heart is misguided. You want to wage a war when people are already behind bars. It is people like you that make me ashamed to call myself an American. A war on terrorism is a war on people. Deaths will not win wars. I support our troops but do not support war as a feasable answer to our nations problems.
I will fight a war but not for the wrong reasons. I will fight a war on inequality, homelessness, poverty & injustice. I will do this peacefully and die trying.
Love, hugs and kisses to all especially who were wronged. I will be talking to our state reps about cafta/nafta tomorrow at college. www.stopcafta.org
I'm a U.S citizen and wasn't there when the war was going on. I learned from this horrendous tragedy from my mother and father who left El Salvador looking for a better life for themselves and my brother. My father tells me that everyday he would worry about his sisters because there where so many cases were girls where taken out of there houses in the middle of the night, to be found dead and raped out in the middle of nowhere. If someone didnt like you back then all they had to do was tell the guerilla that you were a comunist so they would come for you in the night to kill you.
My mom remembers sleeping in the night with dread and fear wondering who would be the next innocent person to die. She remembers waking up one day to be told that her neighbor, his wife and mother-in law where killed the previous night. My mom told me that she went to see the family and said that she would never forget the terrifie look in the eyes of the dead bodies. A lot of innocent people died during that war. I wonder how my parents survived that.
Our little country used to be beautiful i still think it is but the war destroyed so much. So many people killed. An experience that will forever be in the hearts of people who lived it.
I left El Salvador when I was 14 years old. My life changed dramatically; I left my home, family, friends all of which I never recuperated. I will never feel like I belong anywhere; I don't feel Salvadorean nor an American although I am a US citizen. When I visit my hometown in El Salvador, people look at me like I don't belong there and I want to tell them that I was there before them. The United States invested over $6 billion during the war, I wonder what the accomplishments would be, if we invested the same amount in tourism or agriculture developments, etc. That is the only thing that bothers me; you gave us money to kill each other, but not to find a better way of life.
In 1980 my family and I escaped El Salvador and came to the United States. I was four at the time and did not understand why I was forced to leave my home. I grew up hearing the stories of my beautiful country but your piece on "Enemies of War" shows me what i was saved from. Your programs help me see how fortunate I am to be here, but makes feel guilty of all the lives that were lost by those who were left behind.
I am from El Salvador and not many people know where it is located on the map. I left my country tweenty years ago when i was a year old because of the war. My uncle was killed and my dad had to flee the country because he faced a risk of being prosecuted. I did not see anything in El Salvador, my parents talk about this horrible war and what they saw. I is really scary but it did happen. My older brother was seven years old when we left El Salvador, he was traumatized, he had trouble speaking, could not sleep at night because of the terrible things he witnessed.
There are a lot of people in the US who do not know anything about the war in El Salvador eventhough it was on the evening news when the war was on. Citizens of this country need to start paying attention to what is happening around the world and begin to really question the reality of the war. Why did it happen. What is the purpose and who is behind it. United States used El Salvador as a guine pig during the war; killing thousands of innocent people. From this they succeed something, Salvadorans go to the Middle East to fight US wars and now there is free trade.
I am from El Salvador and not many people know where it is located on a map. The war in El Salvador was US guine pig; the government in El Salvador was controlled by the US and trained to kill their own people
your web site is very enlightening ,liked your article if i taught my dog to shoot a gun.. a gun was a great invention untill a fool got hold of it. being an too busy anerican i was unaware of the atrocities in El salvador ,will be login back in,
I am from El Salvador and saw everything that went on, even got recruted to fight agaist my people "El Pueblo", it's was very hard to grow up so fast... learn how to fire a M16 at 10 years of age!..., still I remember "El Playon" and many other sites of attrocities, people getting killed, girls getting raped and so on... it all comes to one thing and one thing only... "Greed" it's something the US Goverment will always trhive on and they are willing to kill anything in theirs way for money!....
Peace and prosparity to my "Gente". Que viva la Revolucion
Marshall Whitlock firstname.lastname@example.org
I am an American citizen but I was born and raised in Brazil. I have seen how the left drives the ignorant people against the freedom and the advantages of capitalism. They make it sound like it doesnít work, so they impose their tyrannical view of socialism and communism to the ignorant majority. It has happened in Brazil and it is happening all over south and Central America. Now, everybody is criticizing the US for trying to avoid the chaos. They don't have any idea of what has happened to countries like Cuba or even the Soviet Union; they just forgot the recent history of our planet. They live in another planet and my suggestion to the US Government is that we forget about them and let them live the misery they are so proudly searching for. Perhaps we can nuke them in the future, when they will most certainly blame the IMF and the World Bank for their poverty. That figures.
Irish Tarheel PegKossler@aol.com
I could perhaps ask what progress we have made in other countries that we have helped? I am not sure that I won't be attacked or boycotted bewcause of it. Is that free speech? That is, Will advertisers (big business) withdraw their sponsorship if I disagree publically with patriotic statements? What if the question is a valid one?
That is, the troops are very brave, and do what the government tells them. However, the government policy may not be enlighjtened. Hasn't our history in Chile been really dumb? To overthrow an election because Allende was a socxialist and replace him with Pinochet?
i was in el salvador 16 times now. i was there several times during the war and crossed the country by taxi alone a northamerican and i loved it all. i have many pictures of the war and the destruction in usulutan from the earthquake 2001 as i was able to go to that area when no other help had arrived yet. I was shocked to see that all the press attention was in the village in santa tecla and no one had even checked on the people in usulutan several days after the quake. we were able to get water and food and clothing and meds to the people in many parts of usulutan. this help came from the people in la union when i got there and told them what was needed.
What in the world are these people thinking with all these demonstrations! this should be a time in which we should be supporting the young men and women of oour armed forces . they are aover there risking their neck so ythat we can sleep at night , they are fighting without hardley any sleep at all so that we can . being shipped away from there families so that we can stay with ours. come on people wake up . we are so proud of our vets from WWII these are the same circomestances for the same reason . It really pains me to see people around the world especially in new york protesting the war , have they forgotten what happened september 11th of last year , it would be hard for me to believe that all these people were somewhere else . let alone that no one there in this so called demonstration didnt loose or see a loved one injured ! And they were probably standing there saying "Why dont somebody do something" well some body is , and right know they are so it dont happen again!! wi th a small sacrifice that they are making for you , you ask any service person they are willing to do a job so we dont have to ,If you or me should feel bad about something it should be that we are not there defending our own ass . so think about that the next time you put down your country , or the job your president is trying to do for you to keep you safe, and instead of protesting you should be putting you r faith in god and prayin for the troops that are fighting for YOUR freedom
My father was spokesperson for the FMLN in Chicago in the early 1980's, and was subsequently killed. I lived in El Salvador for four months in early 2000, and after seeing the way my people still celebrate the Christmas/New Year holiday year after year, Im convinced that it's going to take much more than death squads and wars to break their spirit!
Is anyone out there aware of the attrocities commited by American military and covert ops dating back to around 1977 and continuing to this day in the "war on drugs" First it was marijuana and now cocaine. small plantations raided by commandos while larger cartels paid off the soldiers to pass larger operations by. Fact that some (not all) U.S. units who were only supposed to be training Columbian soldiers, actually participated in live fire against Columbian citizens in the mountain regions. Fact that brutality and attrocity occoured, yet hardly anything spoken of it? Are everyone afraid of the truth?
I would like to know if Enemies of War is available for purshases on DVD and where can I order it from. I have been living in the U. S. for 32 years and I am grateful for the opportunities of a good Education, a decent job, freedom of speech, persuit of happiness and on, and on. This is not a perfect place but is the best country to live in. In the past the majority of people were very ignorant of what was going on around the world, we were very complacent and getting fat. We did not want to know that the CIA was supporting and under their payroll the likes Somoza from Nicaragua, Noriega in Panama, Marcos from the Philipines, the Shah of Iran and on and on. We supported regimes that treated their own citizens very bad. We have a duty to teach our US citizens that in the past our own U.S. Government has done many mistakes in our foreign policies and that is why we are the most hated country in the world. In our little minds we think we are very kind and help others but is the opposite. We have hurt many people around the world so we can get fat. We can genuinely help others if our big business interest does not get in our way.
my condolences to all the salvadoreans who lost their families,in between that bloody war specialy all those innocent peasants near a thousand most of them childrens, that were murderer in "EL MOZOTE".My greetings to all those childrens of the war who were separated from their parents for so long and now were join together after not knowing if their relatives were still alive.Thanks to god for all the strenght we the salvadoreans have had during our sad but true lives...
I'M PLEASED TO KNOW THAT SOMEBODY OUT THERE CARES FOR A SMALL AND SO UNFORTUNATE COUNTRY SUCH AS THIS.I FOR ONE LIVED IT AND EXPERIENCED THE WAR OF THE LATE 70'S AND EARLY 80'S.
I really apriciate you doing this film of my parents country and also mine althogh I was born in L.A. it teaches me about my pulgarcito de America(flee of America) it also tells the truth about the evilness the U.S. government lets happen in our Latinamerican countries and thouse who think the U.S. fights for freedom are being touhgt that the U.S. fights for its own bennifits and puts the word freedom in it to brainwash the people. Programs and films like this should be on every day because they tell the truth. Don't forget the civil war in Nicaragua, the invasion of Panama, the dictadorship of the evil Pinochet in Chile, the poor people murdered by the millitary in Argentina, the corruption in Mexico & the reason the Zapatistas fight, the corruption and fraud in Peru and the Cendero Luminozo. Pleas don't stop.
I still remember the sound of the bullets El salvador was a nice country but it was ruin by people that did'nt even care about anyone. El salvador will never be the same, do you want to why?
Thomas T. Panto
As I read these posts, This unwanted thought flashed across my mind.... If I taught my dog how to shoot a gun, he would never go hungry. But, because he is not intelligent enough to know when NOT to use it, he would destroy his surrounding in the process of feeding himself. Weapons made by intelligent Human Minds are falling into the hands of Barbarians. A gun may make you powerful but a gun can not make you great. Guns can only destroy. Guns can not Create. How many Humans on Earth know that the ONLY reason to kill is to SAVE ? And know when that moment occurs ? How many Humans are intelligent enough to be entrusted with modern weapons ?
So many people just blame the government about the war, but what they donít remember is the guerrilla took pregnant women as shields and gave weapons to kids and seniors. We have to stop just pointing at the government about this tragedy because we know it was both sidesí fault. I lived the 12 years of this catastrophe and I remember how the guerrilla took people from their homes and used them as servants and many of them never came back. I also think that before we give our opinion; we really have to know what we are talking about.
Hi, I came to your webside by mistake I would say... I have to view or read a documentary for my English class and give my responde about it...WHERE CAN I GET A COPY OR SEE YOUR FILM?.. I am from EL SALVADOR and even though where I grew up, up to 16 years old, I barely felt the war but I know how many people where affected by it including my parents that had to emigrated because of the war... I have read all your information and it just made me very sad because My country will always be in heart regardless where I live now, when I go back, believe me I wish I wouldn`t have to come back to the states...anyway I hope you can provide information about your film which I can see already it must be really good... and thank you for caring about my people and my home... Hope to hear from you.
I think that El Salvador is a wonderfull place, and not only because my parents are from there but because I have been there.I think they should leave El Salvador alone,because I would fight all I could if they started doing Bad things to El Salvador... They can bug their litle rotten selves! but they shall learn to leave other places alone. Because all the people from there have feelings. This is what I think abou the injustice that there has been in El Salvador.
This is a great site. It give just the amount of information to do my reports. I'm glad it doesn't go in and tells every single thing.
First of all I would like to thank all the people involved on this film, I personally haven't seen the film, but for things I read I just want to say that as a 29 year old salvadorean who went through hell while I was there I just think that It would of have been a blessing for people around the world to find the truth about the goverment in my country long time ago, if the world knew what was really going on in my country back then ,a lot of innocent people would be alive right now, including my brothers and sister, I happened to witness the most horrifying things in my country,I even happened to witness my own brother's death when I was only 9 years old, I saw the DEATH SQUAD cutting my brother's head off for no reason at all, I witnessed my sister in law getting shot when she was 8 moths and a half pregnant, I also happened to see when these people cut her stomach and took her baby out, I am still alive because I happened to run and hid in between some trees and bushes, as I was rea ding some other people's comments I can't beleive people still think that the left was the one doing all of this things, one thing I agree on is actually because I happened to see that too because after my family's death I got involved with the guerrillas and I witnessed a lot of things is that there were a lot of people from the army and policemen who were forced to do such of horrible things, there was no freedom whatsoever,not even to say a word or give an opinion, now I also realize what money and power can also do to people, there are certain people in my country who fought against the goverment to make things better and now that they are up there, having power ,they already forgot what they were really fighting for, FREEDOM, JUSTICE FOR THE POOR PEOPLE AND TO STOP THE REPRESSION....All I can say is thay there were a lot of people who had very good intentions and there were a lot of people who took advantage of their power over things, like the goverment, the army, and as ussual t he rich people who always thought they could do anything they wanted because they have money, like people say MONEY TALKS...People who really knows me,ask me constantly ,why don't you write a book about your life and what happened? I went through hell while the war went on, the worst thing was to see the thousands of innocent people dead on the streets of That beautiful country that I miss more than anything,I've been In the united states for 11 years now, and I probably have to go to therapy for the rest of my life because of all the trauma I have but I can tell you that If I had to go through what I went through to protect my family and my salvadorean people, I WOULD DO IT,NO QUESTIONS ASKED...thanks for everything.
I have read most opinions or informations with real interest, but have noticed that there aren't any comments or statements related to the biggest taboo in Salvadorean society today: The connection between the peace agreements and the "suicide" of our Commander Salvador Cayetano Carpio --"Marcial"-- founder of the FPL.
This is a very long and complex subject, but I can tell you all briefly that if "Marcial" had not been "suicide" El Salvador would either still be at war, or it would be a Socialist country. The peace agreements were BIG business for only a few, and a TRAICION to the Salvadorean people. The people of El Salvador were never consulted as to whether or not we really wanted "peace agreements" with our enemies. The decision to sign a peace agreement was made by a few in the FMLN. Those same few are still there today, and living like real kings at the expense of the thousands who die.
Who am I? I am a native Salvadorean, a Journalist, a former FPL member, and a w ar veteran. I saw it all. If anyone "upthere" has any information on the subject that concerns me, please let me know by sending a message to: email@example.com
Juan Perez firstname.lastname@example.org
It is completly true aboutthe soldiers killing inocent women and children. But what you don't say is that those women and cildren carried weapons too. What about kidnaping by the FMLN? They also did that. Don't put them as saints and tell the truth, the wole truth. I say this because I've really lived the conflict; and still today, the FMLN are kidnaping and payin their political campaigns with the money they recollect. You can establish a testimony without having living it!
I read your web site and I want to tell you what I honestly think about this. First, I have to be honest with you. I lived the whole civil war in en El Salvador; As a peasant in a small village when it stared, then as a soldier for 6 years in the army and for the rest of the war as a civilian, a working class men surviving every day in that hostile environment. I can see clearly that you are telling the story of the civil war in El Salvador from one side, but do not take me wrong, I am not defending criminal acts commited by members of the army, my point is is that your story of the civil war in El Salvador could be really interesting by writing also about the crimes commited by memmbers of the FMLN in those isolated areas of the country that they controled. In the heat of the war, members of both sides commited coward crimes against civilians, that is the true.
Probably I was too young to understand the political content and the causes of the war when it started,It was the reason that made me join the side that I considered was defending my country from an outside agression, now I can understand completely, that I was not wrong at all. The fighters in the FMLN were no wrong at all. I wish I could take the time back being an adult and make my best to avoid a confrontation between brothers. We were used by two different powers fighting a cold war to impose their doctrines that slave man in different ways, at the end little or nothing changed, we were all used.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. (Mt 5-6-7)
You have a gun
And I am hungry
You have a gun
I am hungry
You have a gun
I am hungry
You can have a gun
You can have one thousand bullets and even another thousand
You can waste them all on my poor body You can kill me one, two, three,
two thousand, seven thousand times
But in the long run
I will always be better armed than you
If you have a gun
Have only hunger
Guatemalan poet Manuel Arce
I watched your docummentary on PBS the other night. You have reduced the enourmously complex story of the civil war in El Salvador to one of progressives vs. militarists. I found your elisions and periprhastic descriptions of FLMN partisan. I am not even sure if I ever heard the term "Communist" in describing the guerilla, or some hint that the FMLN directorate (DRU) was created in HAVANA, and received direct aid from Cuba, Nicaragua and the Soviet Union. Your note to Todd Anderson is also puzzling: "The scholarship we depended upon in producing Enemies of War pointed to the United States providing billions of dollars in funding to the Salvadoran government and military to fight the FMLN. The scholarship also pointed to the FMLN being made up of Salvadorans, who were fighting to overthrow the government. I will check with two of my scholars to see how much outside or foreign aid the FMLN rebels actually received." Since 1988 the Libary of Congress has made available to the public this report about El Salvad
"The Salvadoran guerrilla groups that emerged in the 1970s derived directly or indirectly from a 1969 split within the illegal, Moscow-line Communist Party of El Salvador (Partido Comunista de El Salvador--PCES) between the old-line Communists and a vocal minority faction of firebrand revolutionaries led by PCES secretary general Salvador Cayetano Carpio ("Marcial"). In April 1970, Carpio and his followers broke away from the PCES and founded the Popular Liberation Forces (Fuerzas Populares de Liberacion--FPL). Under Carpio's leadership, the FPL advocated doctrinaire adherence to a Vietnamese-style "prolonged popular war" strategy against "imperialism" and the Salvadoran oligarchy.
In 1971 another group of PCES dissidents, disenchanted with the FPL's strategy of a prolonged popular war, left the party and joined with dissident students, religious activists, and PDC members to form the People's Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario del Pueblo--ERP). The ERP's "militarist" faction, headed by Joaquin Villalobos Hueso ("Rene Cruz"), contended that Sandinista-style popular insurrection could be sparked by dramatic armed attacks on the existing power structure. The ERP's "political" faction, led by Roque Dalton, a communist Salvadoran poet, emphasized the ideological preparation of the masses before undertaking major armed actions and the development of broad coalitions with other groups. After the Villalobos group passed death sentences on Dalton's followers, Villalobos reportedly murdered Dalton on May 10, 1975.
Under the leadership of Villalobos, the ERP advocated a strongly pro-Cuban, Marxist-Leninist ideology based on Ernesto "Che" Guevara's foco, or insurrectional center, theory of guerrilla warfare, as well as Maoist and West European revolutionary theories.
During the 1977-79 period, the left-wing mass organizations conducted a campaign of civil disobedience, demonstrations, and takeovers of churches, government buildings, and foreign embassies. At the same time, the extreme left engaged in numerous significant acts of terrorism, such as the kidnapping of foreign businessmen for fund-raising purposes, political kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings. The FARN specialized in kidnapping and claimed to have raised US$60 million in ransoms in the late 1970s.
In May 1980, the guerrilla leaders met in Havana and formed a political-military command, the Unified Revolutionary Directorate (Direccion Revolucionaria Unificada--DRU), as their central executive arm for political and military planning. Unification of forces reportedly was a precondition for Cuban aid to the Salvadoran insurgents. The DRU established its headquarters near Managua and helped to direct planning and operations and coordinate logistical support for its forces in El Salvador.
In mid-1985 the FMLN, in addition to kidnapping or assassinating numerous military and government officials, began kidnapping and assassinating mayors and burning their offices. It also targeted United States military personnel for assassination. In June 1985, PRTC terrorists assassinated four off-duty United States embassy Marine guards at a sidewalk cafe in San Salvador in a massacre that also left nine civilians, including two United States businessmen, dead and fifteen others wounded.
Dear Mr. Troyan: Enemies of War clearly stated that the FMLN included communist revolutionary organizations. It was said by Elliot Abrams and in narration. Indeed, Enemies of War clearly states that the reason the United States government supported the Salvadoran government against the FMLN, was to prevent a communist takeover. Jim McGovern also stated that neither he nor Congressman Moakley wanted the FMLN to win the war. The documentary did not go into the extreme detail about the communist links to the FMLN that you presented in your e-mail. Enemies of War also did not present (or even mention) the El Mozote massacre where over 700 people including women and children were murdered by Salvadoran troops. The fact remains that in spite of the kidnappings of the 11 mayors, the conscription of Salvadoran youth, the killing of the American soldiers at Zona Rosa, and the bombings of gas stations, and other acts of violence committed by the FMLN, an independent international Truth Commission found that 85% of the human rights violations that occurred during the Salvadoran civil war were committed by the U.S. backed Salvadoran military and para-military groups. The democratically elected members of the Arena Party and the FMLN are working together in El Salvador's National Assembly to rebuild their country after its devastation by civil war, floods and earthquakes.
I'M LIKE MANY OF THOSE SALVADOREANS THAT LEFT EL SALVADOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WAR,LEAVING BEHIND RELATIVES,MEMORIES AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING MY EL SALVADOR,MY MEMORIES ARE ALWAYS THERE AND TO BE LIVING IN BOSTON NOW,AFTER MANY YEARS NOT KNOWING IF I BELONGED HERE OR NOT,STILL BREAKS MY HEARTS TO SEE WHAT MY PEOPLE WENT THRU,I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A LITTLE KID WAKING UP EVERY MORNING TO FIND DEATH PEOPLE ON THE STREET THAT WE USED TO PLAY EVERYDAY. BEST FILM EVER,I'M WRITTING THIS NOTE WITH TEARS ON MY EYES,JST BECAUSE I FEEL SO PROUD TO BE FROM EL SALVADOR.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Enemies of war is a brilliant film and the best presentation of the war is El Salvador I have ever seen. I visited the site of the murders of the Jesuits in 1991 and afterwards wrote an article on it for a local paper. I felt a huge sense of outrage at the time and was most interested to see that the film called this event "the turning point of the war."
Thank you for this show! I hope it is on again soon. Anyone interested in learning of ways to help the people of El Salvador help themselves, please contact COCODA (Companion Communities for Development Alternatives) here in Indianapolis, IN. This is a nonprofit organization in US/NGO in El S. setup to provide ongoing aid and support to the people of El Salvador as they use their own resources and organizations to bring about a better life for all the people. This is a non-partisan organization.
PLEASE CALL: 317-920-8643 (they have a very limited full-time staff so leave a message if you reach the machine.) Se hablan español.
NOTE: I DO NOT REPRESENT COCODA, AND THE OPINIONS THAT FOLLOW ARE NOT THEIRS, BUT SOLELY MY OWN. After visiting with former combatants and others in the country of El Salvador I have been haunted by the brutality carried out there. Anyone that believes we were justified in supporting the government in this terribly unjust use of military force, is either blind or stupid. I had intended to say that more obscurely, or politically correctly, or politely, but I can't seem to come up with the right candy-coating for it tonight.
During any war there are good and bad people on each side, but in a situation as one-sided as this was, it is easy to see which side (not which person) was committing the majority of the atrocities. I believe the "official" count was 85% human-rights abuses on the ARENA/Christiani government side to 15% on the FMLN/rebel side. Since the US government paid for the majority of the weapons and training for the abuses during and immediately preceding the war by the government of El Salvador, are we not also responsible for that majority of abuse?
Isn't it odd how the US government managed to "sneak" over $6 billion in aid to El Salvador, and most of us never knew a thing about it? Why is it now too much to send anything like that much to help these people who have so little.
El Salvador is a poor country. Very few people there are rich. The majority of the people live on coffee, rice, beans and tortillas. I am talking each meal (usually two) every day, every week, every month... It is uncommon for them to have meat even once a month. Many women walk several miles to get water for their family every day. What they use is what they carry back on their heads and shoulders from rivers, streams and lakes. Most of the water is not potable. Many are ill because of the water.
The people are trying so hard to send their children to school. Often the teachers in outlying areas are young teenage girls who have finish school. The teachers in those areas make very little yearly, approximately what a high school student here makes in a week or two working part-time after school. Not enough to live on even in their depressed economy.
This was a beautiful piece of land with wildlife and trees. It too was a causualty of the war. Bombs, land mines and deforestation have ruined much of the land and killed much of the wildlife. The people in El Salvador are doing what they can to pull themselves out of this situation, why were we only interested in helping them kill each other? Because we (the US government) saw an economic reason to continue the status quo.
IT IS HAPPENING IN COLOMBIA RIGHT THIS MINUTE, UNDER ARE NOSE. Like U.S. Low Intensity conflict is really going to change?! Not a Chance! Lessons from El Sal were never learned. Salvadoran stock Market is Plummeting due to the Dolarizacion in El Salvador. Nobody can read or understand "one dime" one nickel" A salvadoran chocobanana seller asked me what "this quarter in my hand says" I read it and it said, NEW HAMPSHIRE, OLD MAN THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN, !LIVE FREE OR DIE! WE ARE STILL RAPING EL SALVADOR. For current propaganda of the Salvy Gov still thrashing the Jesuit Murders visit my page
Wow this was a wonderful film, It brought tears to my eyes as I remember those early years In El Salvador, and all the things that we went thru with my family as the civil war was going on.
I congratulate the film makers on a wonderful piece of art. My memories will always be with me, and I will never forget what my people went thru in the early 80's. Family and friends passed away during that time, all I can say is that we must continue to achieve that peace that has haunted El Salvador since the begining.
I did not have the opportunity to see the film but I read the presentation on the internet.I want to say that I left El Salvador in 1981,looking for refuge after being unjustely tortured and put in a clandestine jail for six months accused of "comunist",I was unusually saved from being executed by the Salvadoran Army,due to the international pressure put on the goverment to show political prisoners in that epoca. I who lived the injustices that triggered the insurrection of those years(still happening to these days),who escaped from death to the hands of those criminals supported by the US goverment, want to express my sincere admiration and gratitud to you who had the courage to put this doccomentry together and show it to the american people to help them open their eyes to the reality of the world and the foreing policy that their goverment practices. I also can not avoid to express my dissappointment and disgust by seeing people like Mr.Anderson showing their rampant ignorance when expressing their opinions possible motivated by dark interests.
thank you so much for trying to make public the suffering of the salvadorian people, during the war. this documentary was thoughtfully done and showed clearly both sides of the war. i would like to see it replayed as often as your schedual allows there should never be a time when the people forget what happened so that it may never happen again.
I read your piece on El Salvador with a lot of interest. I was hoping to see a balanced piece but as it always happens it was one sided. I lived in El Salvador before and during the war and the left was horrible too. Both sides are power hungry and the last thing on their minds is "the people". I was on the plane with Mr. Shafik Handal (one leftist leader) and some group of a "Human Rights Organization". I saw and heard them talking and saw how when we arrived they acted like they didn't know each other. What a farse! I know you mean well but it would be nice if for once you would open your eyes, stop being so naive and tell the truth. The problem in El Salvador is very complex and it's too bad because it's a beautiful country with unbelievable people that have been through enough on all sides.
The last 30 minutes were wonderful. Very accurate and unusually fair presentation. How can I get to see the first half, and tell others so they can see it?
Thank you very, very much.
You can check if the show will be broadcast in your area again, by searching "broadcast schedule" by station or state at this website.
You can also purchase the video - for home video orders contact South Carolina ETV, ph: 800-553-7752; for educational use only, please contact New Day Films, ph: 888-367-9154, email: email@example.com
To the filmmakers of Enemies of War,congratulations from a grateful salvadoran citizen.To mr.Anderson and mr. Jones I only can said that they belong to the malevolent,perverse,cinical and homicidal kind of people who during years have been terrorizing us.Ignorance is not an excuse,shame on you...Salvador Viana.
It is indeed tragic that those involved in the most violent opressive activities as illustrated in this film have continued to avoid condemnation for their actions through structured violation of the peace accords with complicity of government officials.
This film is a very timely discussion in light of 1) the current US policy towards and involvement in Columbia and 2) the new Bush administration and its possible policies toward Latin America.
The parallels of US involvement in Columbia should not be lost on the viewer. The US has approved $1 billion in 2000 to aid the Columbian military with the premise of fighting the drug war at its source, but there exists a similar guerilla war including right-wing paramilitary activity which continues with impunity.
As for the new US administration, even in light of the apparent 'hands-off' policy desired by President Bush, the following statement from the film most likeley dooms any policy reversal in Columbia:
General Colin Powell: "I wanted to take the opportunity to express once again, my admiration for the El Salvadoran armed forces, for the leadership that Minister Ponce [who is linked to adminstration of El Salvador death squads] and the other gentlemen here today have given to those armed forces."
It is unlikely that the US government has learned anything from its El Salvador experience that would alter its long-term policies in Latin America.
An excellant, honest, thought provoking documentary. Those of us who have visited El Salvador and have connections there are amazed at how long it has taken for this information to be made generally known. Thanks for a great work!
Thank you for bearing witness to the people of El Salvador! There continues to be much sufferring in El Salvador and for people who were able to get out of El Salvador and seek protection in other countries, such as Canada. People are still displaced and seeking protection because they fear persecution if the return to El Salvador. I hope that programs, like Enemies of War, that present the facts will help shape US public opinion and ultimately US foreign policy.
There are times when things are not as clear or idialistic as people would like. I lived and experienced the war in El Salvador, flashbacks are still vivid in my mind.Sometimes it takes experience for you to actually understand what CIVIL WAR is. I'am so glad that the U.S now knows that they did a mistake and hopefully this does not happend with COLOMBIA. Now at 23 I'am in medical school at standford and believe me it has been very hard but not immposible to over come childhood.
I am a Junior in High School. This program really struck a nerve. It was shocking to know how the U.S. acted during the 1980s, as well as the extent of the human atrocities. As a student, I'm concerned with human rights issues. This is a prime example of a double standard created by the U.S. government. I would like to thank PBS for broadcasting such a candid story.
Having lived through the worst part of the war, I applaud your courage!!!! Every day I thank God for having lived to tell about the war, though I was quite young. Those are years that, in spite of how hard I try to repress the memories, they continue; steadfast, as reminder of a life lived, many lost, and an ideal I strive for day to day. A child should never have to walk home from school and have to step over dead bodies to get home. Never! As far as who was more violent, the right wing or the FMLN... I say this: $6 billion in U.S aid to the military fight FARMERS who were pushed into a corner to fight for the most basic of human rights, to fight for their families, to fight for survival. Mr. Anderson: you were NOT there, you have no idea, and I hope you never do, of what it was like to live under such an oppressive regime!
I got to see Enemies of War last night. Thank you, what an important show. It exemplifies how cohesive thoughtful analysis spotlights the illogical and self-delusional thinking so often found. SHAME this was not shown in OCT!! I hope it was because of production or distribution issues and not "policy".
I lower my head to public television for putting the horrible attrocities that occured in El Salvador out in public. I think that public television as an American channel is courageous and brave in presenting a show that affirms that American officials worked hand in hand with dictators in Latin America. Being a Canadian citizen who adheres to peace and justice I once again salute and acknowledge my respect and thank Public Televsion for presenting the attrocities of El Salvador out in the open.
I only caught the last half of the show but I must say what I saw was excellent. Imagine what $6 billion of aid could have done for that country....every road could have been paved and every hospital and school replaced. You can't tell me that doing so wouldn't have resulted in a more stable and more U.S. friendly Central America than currently exists!!!
Truly, how could countries so impoverished every really threaten the U.S. stability - with or without the Soviet backing.
With respect to shows balance or leftist bent - sometimes the left is right (as in correct) - it happens more than some like to think. Too bad it takes 10 years, 6 billion dollars and over 100,000 dead to prove it - and what is even worse - 90% of the public don't even care.
Your excellent program seems to indicate that the use of overwhelming US military aid to counter a poor civilian population guarantees injustice on a massive scale that legitimizes and consolidates the very forces we wish to eliminate. My concern is that we may be once more repeating the process in Colombia - this time demonizing the poor population as drug producers instead of communists. How can we learn to solve social and economic problems without recourse to military means?
Mary D. Willis
Thank you for providing the citizens of our country with a glimpse of how our government really operates outside our borders. Even inside, when we consider the treatment of the original American people. I understand that people will always "choose sides," however, programs such as these will allow those of us who live in a middle class bubble to become truly educated in our own foreign policy.
As the child of missionaries who lived in Latin America throughout my childhood, and part of my adult life, I can say that what constitute "news" south of our border is so different than what constitutes "news" here. It breaks my heart each evening when sports and weather takes up so much more time than what is happening worldwide.
Since the broadcast will not be shown in my area for several more weeks, I will reserve ultimate judgement. However, I am concerned by the write up on this web page, as it appears very one-sided. It is true the government of El Salvador resorted to violent tactics but so did the FMLN, and it is arguable who was more violent. A fair analysis might find equal culpability and it should further be noted the FMLN was hardly an organization dedicated to democracy.
It should further be noted the end of the war can also be traced to the demise of the Soviet bloc and the Sandanista regime in Nicaragua which supplied the FMLN with military aid during the civil war. A very biased presentation is not educational.
Dear Mr. Anderson: Thank you for your response to the Enemies of War website. The documentary was based on public record documents, such as the Truth Commission Report publiched by the United Nations and Congressman Moakley's Report to Congress on the Investigation of the killing of the Jesuits. As you noted, during El Salvador's civil war, the FMLN was engaged in violent military operations against the Salvadoran Army. According the 1993 Truth Commission Report, the FMLN also was respponsible for 15% of the human rights abuses committed during El Salvador's civil war. The scholarship we depended upon in producing Enemies of War pointed to the United States providing billions of dollars in funding to the Salvadoran government and military to fight the FMLN. The scholarship also pointed to the FMLN being made up of Salvadorans, who were fighting to overthrow the government. I will check with two of my scholars to see how much outside or foreign aid the FMLN rebels actually received. I want to remind you that Cuba and Nicaragua are (and always have been) extremely poor nations. They struggle to feed, house and clothe their own populations and neither has received humanitarian or any other aid from the United States government in many years. I will get back to you by next week with the information you requested.
Bruce B. Jones
The achievement of peace in El Salvador, was not just the result of a favorable correlation of forces between the FMLN, it required political will on both sides. In 1990, I sat in the Casa Presidencial and listened to Roberto D'Aubuisson - leader of the ARENA party, vigorously articulate the need for a politcal accomodation with the FMLN. At the time, the unknown factor was the possible reaction of the Armed Forces (FAES). While Alfredo Cristiani was President, Gral. Rene Ponce controled the reins of real power. The fact that Ponce, Zepeda, and members of the FAES accepted their purge as a necessary ingredient of a lasting peace speaks highly of their patriotism and basic human decency. They were in a position to drag the war on for years, Joe Moakley's opposition did not weigh heavily in their decision nmaking process. Now, with the passage of time, perhaps the contribution of the FAES leadership toward the creation of a civilian society built on the rule of law can be seen in a more positive light.
First I would like to thank PBS for this documentary on El Salvador. I lived there before 1980, and witnessed the cruel massacrers the army comitted against the people, for example they had a method they called "Cordon Militar",that meant that when there was a demonstration against the government, they would sorround the whole area, as many blocks as the size of the demonstration, and they would fire against everybody within that perimeter, didn't matter if some people were just casual pedestrians in the area, they would kill them all, I remember some people lifting theirs hands up, begging not to be killed and the police officer near the area were I took refuge would fired his G-3 (gun) against them, I never forget the moment when they were falling to the floor. That was something really cruel.
After viewing ENEMIES OF WAR, my speculations on excessive military spending have been affirmed. I worry about the new administration and meddling in other countries, adding to the violence and in turn, killing thousands of innocent people. We can learn from this documentary and get involved the next time something of this magnitude occurs like in El Salvador. I was very moved by the program as was my family!
Story | People | El Salvador | Timeline | Perspectives | Film | Talkback | Resources | ITVS