Saturday, March 27, 2010

Remembering and Investigating Oscar Romero's Death

This past week (March 24th to be precise) marked the thirtieth anniversary of the murder of Oscar Romero, archbishop of El Salvador. Right-wing death-squads connected directly to eventual president Roberto D'Aubuisson were responsible for the murder, though exactly who pulled the trigger and how the plan was executed remains murky.

While there were many moving tributes over the past week, there was also a somewhat-overlooked translated journalistic investigation into Romero's death. Many have claimed former Air Force Captain Álvaro Rafael Saravia as the man responsible for the murder. Journalist Carlos Dada tracked down Saravia, as well as several other individuals connected to the assassination, and offered this intensive report investigating Romero's assassination, finding (among other things) that Saravia's claims to (relative) innocence (in that he didn't pull the trigger) may have some validity. It is a lengthy report, but well worth reading in its entirety due to its analysis and findings, the varying viewpoints on the murder, the conditions of appalling poverty and violence that Saravia (in hiding) and his neighbors live in, and the criminal networks that existed in right-wing death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s, squads that often had the tacit or explicit support of the United States. As we remember all that Romero did this week, it's also worth taking time to look at the broader terror-networks that impacted hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans.