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The massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis

Nearby, in the long-depopulated villages, you can see stirrings of life: In a remote corner of El Salvador, investigators uncovered the remains of a horrible crime — a crime that Washington had long denied.

The villagers of El Mozote had the misfortune to find themselves in the path of the Salvadoran Army's anti-Communist crusade. The story of the massacre at El Mozote — how it came about, and hy it had to be denied — stands as a central parable of the Cold War.

No one has returned to El Mozote. Empty as it is, shot through with sunlight, the place remains — as a young guerrilla who had patrolled here during the war told me with a shiver — espantoso: After a moment's gaze, half a dozen battered structures — roofless, doorless, windowless, half engulfed by underbrush — resolve themselves into a semblance of pattern: Some of these men and women — most of them young, and casually dressed in T-shirts and jeans and work pants — began dumping out into the dust a glinting clutter of machetes, picks, and hoes.

Others gathered around the hillock, consulted clipboards and notebooks and maps, poked around in the man-high brush. Finally, they took up the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis and began to hack at the weeds, being careful not to pull any, lest the movement of the roots disturb what lay beneath. Chopping and hacking in the morning sun, they uncovered, bit by bit, a mass of red-brown soil, and before long they had revealed an earthen mound protruding several feet from the ground, like a lopsided bluff, and barely contained at its base by a low stone wall.

They pounded stakes into the ground and marked off the mound with bright-yellow tape; they stretched lengths of twine this way and that to divide it into quadrangles; they brought out tape measures and rulers and levels to record its dimensions and map its contours.

And then they began to dig. At first, they loosened the earth with hoes, took it up in shovels, dumped it into plastic pails, and poured it onto a screen large enough to require several people to shake it back and forth. As they dug deeper, they exchanged these tools for smaller, more precise ones: Slowly, painstakingly, they dug and sifted, making their way through the several feet of earth and crumbled adobe — remnants of a building's walls — the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis, by the end of the second day, reaching wood-beam splinters and tile shards, many now blackened by fire, that had formed the building's roof.

Then, late on the afternoon of the third day, as they crouched low over the ground and stroked with tiny brushes to draw away bits of reddish dust, darkened forms began to emerge from the earth, taking shape in the soil like fossils embedded in stone; and soon they knew that they had begun to find, in the northeast corner of the ruined sacristy of the church of Santa Catarina of El Mozote, the skulls of those who had once worshipped there.

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By the next afternoon, the workers had uncovered twenty-five of them, and all but two were the skulls of children.

Later that afternoon, the leaders of the team — four young experts from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Unit, who had gained a worldwide reputation for having exhumed sites of massacres in Guatemala and Bolivia and Panama and Iraq, as well as in their own country — piled into their white four-wheel-drive vehicle and followed the bumpy, stony road out of El Mozote the Thistle.

Slowly, they drove through Arambala, waving to the smiling little girls standing on their porch, and out onto the calle negra — the "black road" — which traced its way up the spine of the red zone, stretching north from the city of San Francisco Gotera to the mountain town of Perqu?

At the black road, the Argentines turned left, as they did each evening, heading down to Gotera, but this time they stopped in front of a small house — a hut, really, made of scrap wood and sheet metal and set among banana trees some fifteen yards from the road. Getting out of the car, they climbed through the barbed wire and called out, and soon there appeared at the door a middle-aged woman, heavyset, with high cheekbones, strong features, and a powerful air of dignity.

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In some excitement, the Argentines told her what they had found that day. The woman listened silently, and when they had finished she paused, then spoke. In the polarized and brutal world of wartime El Salvador, the newspapers and radio stations simply ignored what Rufina had to say, as they habitually ignored unpalatable accounts of how the government was prosecuting the war against the leftist rebels.

In the United States, however, Rufina's account of what had happened at El Mozote appeared on the front pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times, at the very moment when members of Congress were the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis debating whether they should cut off aid to a Salvadoran regime so desperate that it had apparently resorted to the most savage methods of war.

El Mozote seemed to epitomize those methods, and in Washington the story heralded what became perhaps the classic debate of the late Cold War: Rufina's story came to Washington just when the country's paramount Cold War national-security concerns were clashing — as loudly and unambiguously as they ever would during four decades — with its professed high-minded respect for human rights. In the United States, the free press was not to be denied: El Mozote was reported; Rufina's story was told; the angry debate in Congress intensified.

But then the Republican Administration, burdened as it was with the heavy duties of national security, denied that any credible evidence existed that a massacre had taken place; and the Democratic Congress, after denouncing, yet again, the murderous abuses of the Salvadoran regime, the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis the end accepted the Administration's "certification" that its ally was nonetheless making a "significant effort to comply with internationally recognized human rights.

By early 1992, when a peace agreement between the government and the guerrillas was finally signed, Americans had spent more than four billion dollars funding a civil war that had lasted twelve years and left seventy-five thousand Salvadorans dead. By then, of course, the bitter fight over El Mozote had largely been forgotten; Washington had turned its gaze to other places and other things.

For most Americans, El Salvador had long since slipped back into obscurity. But El Mozote may well have been the largest massacre in modern Latin-American history. That in the United States it came to be known, that it was exposed to the light and then allowed to fall back into the dark, makes the story of El Mozote — how it came to happen and how it came to be denied — a central parable of the Cold War.

In the weeks that followed the discovery of the skulls of the children, as each day's work at El Mozote yielded up a fresh harvest, the initial numbers came to seem small. But in San Salvador, five hours by road to the west, where President Alfredo Cristiani and the generals and the guerrillas-turned-politicians were struggling with one another about how to put in place, or not put in place, a purge of the officer corps, which was proving to be the most difficult provision of the ten-month-old peace accord — struggling, that is, over what kind of "reconciliation" would come to pass in El Salvador after more than a decade of savage war — the first skulls of the children were enough to provoke a poisonous controversy.

Those twenty-three skulls, and the nearly one hundred more that were uncovered in the succeeding days, were accommodated by the nascent Salvadoran body politic in two ways.

Massacre at El Mozote Term Paper

Juan Mateu Llort, the director of El Salvador's Institute of Forensic Medicine, declared that the skulls themselves proved nothing, for "there were an abundance of armed children in the guerrillas. Neither was the entry of journalists or individuals permitted. Four thousand men, drawn from the security forces — the National Guard and the Treasury Police — and from regular units of the Salvadoran Army, were hard at work.

The area north of the Torola River, the heart of the red zone, was alive with the thud of mortars, the clatter of small-arms fire, and the intermittent roar of helicopters. Two days before, Operaci?

  1. Rhineland Massacres of 1096 15 Pages of 1096 are, too many demonstrative if retrospective of early.
  2. The Massacre at El Mozote. You're worrying about feeding your family, and you try not to pay attention to these other things.
  3. When the Air Force began bombing the city, ten days later, the guerrillas swiftly vanished, fading into the mountains and ravines they knew so well, and leaving behind the four dead men, buried in a bomb crater, and also the civilians who had been there all along — the civilians who, after playing host to the guerrillas for ten days, now gazed with all innocence into the faces of the National Guardsmen who had taken the places of their dead comrades. Activists on the moderate left, having been denied an electoral path to the Presidential Palace by the Army's habitual ballot tampering, joined populist forces in organizing vast demonstrations, and managed to bring hundreds of thousands of people into the streets.
  4. His Vice-Minister, Colonel Francisco Adolfo Castillo, added that the troops "must advance no matter what the cost until we reach the command post and Radio Venceremos.
  5. Plot overview and analysis written by an experienced literary critic. Danner, was of course not disclosed at the time.

Many of the towns and villages were already empty; during and after Army operations of the previous spring and fall, thousands of peasants had left their homes and begun a long trek over the mountains to the Honduran border and refugee camps beyond. Of those who remained, many made it a practice, at the first sign of any Army approach, to leave their villages and hide in the caves and ravines and gullies that honeycombed the mountainous region.

But El Mozote was crowded; in the days before Operation Rescue, people from the outlying areas had flooded into the hamlet. Between their feet lay an expanse of dark rubble, a miniature landscape of hills and ridges and valleys in every shade of brown. It took a moment or two to distinguish, among the dirty-brown hillocks, the skulls and parts of skulls, each marked with a bit of red tape and a number; and, beneath the skulls and skull fragments and the earthen rubble, scores of small brown bundles, heaped one on top of another, twisted together, the material so impregnated with blood and soil that it could no longer be recognized as clothing.

Amid the rubble in the northeast corner of the tiny room that had been called el convento though it was really a kind of combined sacristy and parish house, in which an itinerant priest, when he visited the hamlet, would the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis himself, and sometimes, perhaps, stay the nighta dark-haired young woman in denim overalls was kneeling. She slowly drew a small bundle toward her — it had beenlabelled No.

Tibia, left, I think. Pants, light in color, with patches of blue and green color in the posterior part. In the pants pocket. Over her shoulder, I saw her staring at something in her palm, then heard her swear in a low voice: After a moment, the anthropologist Mercedes Doretti said, "Ordinarily, we could use this for identification. I mean, even after eleven years, any mother would recognize this as her kid's, you know? They had walked the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis their small house, several miles outside El Mozote, where the dirt track joins the black road.

Eleven years before, in early December, scores of people were passing by their house, pulling their children along by the hand, laboring under the weight of their belongings. The people of El Mozote would have no problems — provided they stayed where they were. Some townspeople wanted to head for the mountains immediately, for the war had lately been coming closer to the hamlet; only the week before, a plane had dropped two bombs near El Mozote, damaging its one-room school, and though no one had been hurt, the people had been terrified.

My godfather left, with his family. My children were crying. They said, 'Mama, let's go. Otherwise, people would have left. Though the debate went on that afternoon and into the following morning, most of the people of El Mozote finally accepted his assurances. They had seen soldiers before, after all; soldiers often passed through on patrol and sometimes bought supplies in El Mozote. Only the month before, soldiers had come during an operation and occupied El Chingo and La Cruz, two hills overlooking the town, and though the people of El Mozote could hear mortars and scattered shooting in the distance, the soldiers had not bothered them.

If the soldiers were looking to find guerrillas, that was fine with us, because we didn't have anything to do with them. And the guerrillas knew about our relations with the Army. That El Mozote in late 1981 was not a guerrilla town is a fact central to Rufina's story and lies at the heart of the mystery of what happened there; and though it is a fact — one that almost everyone from the zone affirms — it seems to have nonetheless been a slightly more complicated fact than Rufina makes out.

Licho, a rebel commander who had grown up in Jocoaitique, a few miles from El Mozote, acknowledged to me during an interview in Perqu? People had begun to convert as early as the mid-sixties, and by 1980 it is likely that half or more of the people in El Mozote considered themselves born-again Christians; the evangelicals had their own chapel and their own pastor, and they were known — as were born-again Christians throughout Central America — for their anti-Communism.

The guerrillas passed by El Mozote only at night, and when they did, Rufina says, "the people would hear the dogs barking and they'd be afraid.

Rufina didn't attend, nor did most of the other townspeople. Let's just live and work and not get involved. I had four children to look after. You're worrying about feeding your family, and you try not to pay attention to these other things. Peasants poured into the hamlet, occupying every bit of space.

  • Colonel Monterrosa had thought long and hard about civilians and guerrilla war, about the necessity of counterinsurgency, about the frustrations of the odd and bloody conflict that the overextended Salvadoran Army had been fighting and losing;
  • He has accomplished a great deal in his lifetime such as teaching journalism at the University of California, Berkly and Bard College;
  • Mark Danner did just that in a long article that took up most of last week's issue of The New Yorker.

He and Alba Ignacia del Cid had stood in front of their house, had watched the people pass. But they had decided not to go. They'll say he's not here because he's a guerrilla and then they'll kill me.

Either we both go or we both stay. They saw soldiers pass by, and saw a helicopter hover and descend. And later they saw thick columns of smoke rising from El Mozote, and smelled the odor of what seemed like tons of roasting meat. Four miles south of El Mozote, outside the hamlet of La Guacamaya, the guerrillas of the People's Revolutionary Army also awaited the soldiers. Santiago recalls that "intelligence sources within the Army itself" had passed on a report of a key meeting at the High Command.

His Vice-Minister, Colonel Francisco Adolfo Castillo, added that the troops "must advance no matter what the cost until we reach the command post and Radio Venceremos. He was not alone: Even worse, the radio managed to be funny. Most people at the Embassy, including the Ambassador, wanted to hear it. Colonel Monterrosa was mortified by Radio Venceremos as well, but, unlike his colleagues, he had determined, in his rage and frustration, to do something about it.

For Monterrosa, as American military advisers had come to realize, was a very different kind of Salvadoran officer. By late 1981, with Congress and the American public having shown themselves resolutely opposed to dispatching American combat forces to Central America, it had become quite clear that the only way to prevent "another Nicaragua" was somehow to "reform" the Salvadoran Army.

And it wasn't because the guerrillas were so good; it was because the Army was so bad. You could surrender with eighty-five men and nothing at all would happen to you.

These had to do not with military competence but with politics: If among them there proved to be embarrassing incompetents, not to mention murderers and rapists and thieves, then these men were shielded by their classmates, and defended ferociously. Finally, perhaps two decades after graduation, one or two from the tanda — those who had stood out early on as presidenciables, as the massacre at el mozote mark danner thesis to become leaders of the country — would lobby within the officer corps to become the President of El Salvador.