Salvador shame

In the small hours of the morning of Nov. 16 two years ago, a squadron of armed men broke into the residence of the Jesuit Community at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador and brutally murdered six Jesuit priests, their cook and her teenage daughter.

The killers were later identified by the Salvador government as member of the U.S.-trained elite Atlacatl Batallion. Their action decimated the leadership of the Jesuit University, one of the strongest church voices in behalf of justice for the poor.

Some in the U.S. have expressed satisfaction at the recent conviction of Salvadoran Col. Benaviides in connection with the massacre. However, as Rep. Joe Moakley, who headed the House Speaker’s Task Force on El Salvador, stated:

“A terrible injustice has been done. The people who actually carried out the murders, who made these six men of God lie down in the dirt and shot them, the men who ordered the two women riddled with bullets while they lay moaning and wounded, in each other’s arms, have escaped justice. Where is the outrage? Where is the leadership?

“There is an old but true saying that for evil to triumph, all that is required is that the good do nothing.”

Moakley calls on our president to suspend all military aid to El Salvador in view of the cover-up and destruction of evidence surrounding the trial and the failure to convict either the confessed trigger man or the higher-ups who ordered the slaughter.

Grassroots pressure is needed to get Congress to cut all military aid to El Salvador (over $1.5 million a day) without further delay. The longer Congress procrastinates, the longer the killing goes on.

Writing or calling our two senators and our representative now, urging Congress to act, would be a fitting memorial to the eight who died in the Jesuit massacre two years ago, as well as the 75,000 other Salvadorans who have lost their lives at the hands of the brutal military and related death squads.

Dave Schmidt

United Campus Ministries