Thursday, June 01, 2006

A disgraceful monument

Former Major Roberto D'Aubuisson gave the order to assassinate Archbishop [Oscar Romero] and gave precise instructions to members of his security service, acting as a 'death squad', to organize and supervise the assassination.
From Madness to Hope: the 12-year war in El Salvador: Report of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, 1993, 127-138.

In the municipality of Antiguo Cuscatlan, neighboring San Salvador, they plan to erect a monument to this gross violator of human rights. An article in La Prensa Grafica describes how in this plaza, they will memorialize, Roberto d'Aubuisson, a sponsor of death squads and the man who directed the assassination of archbishop Oscar Romero. Construction has already begun on the monument.

The plaza is a tribute to the founder of the ARENA party and there are plans for a celebration by the party faithful. "We have been much delayed in recognizing the role that Roberto d'Aubuisson had in our country. We are very happy to be the municipality which will have within its boundaries a plaza dedicated to him." said the ARENA mayor of Antiguo Cuscatlan, Milagro Navas. (The article in the conservative paper makes no mention of d'Aubuisson's ties to death squads or Romero's assassination).


Major Roberto D'Aubuisson headed the White Warrior Union, an ultra-right death squad that assassinated many people, including Rutilio Grande, one of the first priests to be killed for working with the poor, in 1977. The United Nations Truth Commission found that D'Aubuisson also ordered the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. D'Aubuisson's death squads, run from his office in the Legislative Assembly while he was president of the legislature, had close ties to the Salvadoran and U.S. intelligence services....

D'Aubuisson died of cancer in 1992. But his political legacy lives on. His image hangs in every ARENA party office I visit, from the headquarters in San Salvador to the local party offices in places like Quetzatepeque. [During the 2004 presidential campaign] between a performance by ARENA cheerleaders, dressed in boots and skirts, and Tony Saca's talk, the campaign organizers here play a scratchy recording of an old D'Aubuisson speech.
Salvador: From the Bullet to the Ballot, Elizabeth DiNovella

The action of erecting a monument to d'Aubuisson shows why the wounds of the Salvadoran civil war have not healed. Since the end of the civil war, the leaders of ARENA have steadfastly refused to permit the investigation, much less the prosecution of those who orchestrated the worst kinds of human rights abuses during the civil war. Immediately after the UN Truth Commission Report, the government rapidly pushed through a blanket amnesty for all crimes during the war. ARENA governments have repeatedly denied petitions to investigate the Mozote massacre, the Romero murder, the Sumpul River massacre, the Serrano sisters kidnappings and other similar crimes. The government steadfastly claims that no point would be served in investigating those crimes. Instead, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children of the victims of the death squads must see the perpetrators of those crimes continuing to walk the streets of El Salvador. It is an affront to the memory of those victims to see a public plaza dedicated to the man who sanctioned and ratified such crimes.

I wish a tide of bad publicity could prevent this monument from being erected.


Anonymous said...

The link to the La Prensa article in this post doesn't work. Can you please post the correct link? I tried to find it on their site but they don't have any obvious way to search. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

can we erect a monument to this groos violator of human righs friend of mine Mr. Jorge Shaffic Handall in "parque Cuzcatlan to even your claim?

umm... perhaps Mr. Joaquin Villalobos monument with assessinated majors' names will be better.

When our generation who participated in the war, and those who lived the madness die, then wounded minds will stop.

The Urss was dissolved. Countries emerged strong. did they have idiots who kill during their slavery? Yes!

It was a sad time. but you have to move on.

heroes and villains stand because of those who have the power to let them to be remebered.

it this righ?


The claim that violations on the left are on a par with the violations of the right is totally not credible. Not only is the number of human rights abuses at the hands of d'Aubuisson & Co. more voluminous (85% of the war dead, according to the U.N. Commission) but also more reprehensible in nature. The rebels' hall of shame might include the names of "assassinated majors," but the shame of the extreme right includes assassinated peasants, assassinated archishops, tortured priests, raped nuns. Let us be clear that the two sides do not have any parity. This is all exacerbated by the fact that d'Aubuisson & Co. were fighting to impose a military dictatorship that defended the entrenched interests of the oligarchy and, like them or not, the rebels were gaining the semi-democratic Salvadoran society we have today.

In short, d'Aubuisson, who professed admiration of Adolf Hitler and was classified as a terrorist by the *Reagan* Administration (no bleeding hearts they) is an ignominious figure, and this monument is a travesty that must not stand.

Tim said...

The link has been fixed to the La Prensa site.

Anonymous said...

Daubbissons statue should be violated, maimed, defiled with the most vile of impurities and burned to truly stand as a symbol of what this man represents, an effigy of excrement representing this rapacious villain.

To anonymous 2. You are a fool. YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT commiting political genocide! ... YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT ruling only in favor of the smallest minority at expense of the national well-being is the worst thing that can ever happen!It is thanks to the rebels that the ravaging military dictatorship that ruled our country has been toppled, and substitued with more "democratic" measures.

Miguel Lerdo said...


Thank you for calling ARENA out on the moral equivalence, the violence on the Right and Left were equally wrong nonsense. The evidence is what it is. The scale of atrocities committed by the Right dwarfs anything done by the Left. While the Left’s restraint may merely reflect a different tactical outlook, the reality is that only the right in El Salvador consistently and systematically violated international norms for warfare.

The political program desired by the Right is a bit more nuanced. Much has been written on the topic. I suggest “The Protection Racket State: Elite Politics, Military Extortion, and Civil War in El Salvador” by William Stanley.

Neoslv said...

I disagree with the erection of this monument. I read the news on the paper.

annonymous 2 said...

thanks to rebels? are you insane? military been toppled? where are you living?

Who are the one who line out to surrender their guns?

There are 1st, 2nd., 3er., 4th., 5th., and 6th., brigade still standing.

they fought to defend ideas vrs ideas.

it was madness

today, those fighting ideas are still in place from both sides, diferent arena, diferent world situation.

left ideas want All large factories to be controlled by the government.

Production planned and organized by the government.

Discipline for workers strict, and strikers could be shot.

Obligatory labor duty to be imposed onto "non-working classes".

Bourgeois experts replaced factory soviets in the management of industry.

Prodrazvyorstka – requisition of agricultural surpluses from peasants in excess of absolute minimum for centralized distribution among the remaining population.

Food and most commodities rationed and distributed in a centralized way.

Private enterprise will became illegal.

Military-like control of all country.

nor d'aubusson or else deserve a monument!!!!

Anonymous said...

d'Aubuisson was a man with balls. The only man who would say what freaking communist our very own president was (Duarte). He had to do what he had to do so the rebels did not think we were weak. Remember that in those times there was no human rights movement. The rebels would torture people they captured. Which led soldiers to carry a poison pill. Among many crimes, Shafick handal himself shot a rebel's doctor in the head outside a tatoo because he talked back at him. d'Aubuisson was the only man capable of doing what we all wanted to do... kill those commies.

Anonymous said...

Yet the middle class is more inclined to follow leftist ideologies than the other brainwashed sectors. D'Aubuisson was a pathological killer, El Salvador's own Charles Mason if you will. And how dare and idiot say that there weren't any human right's movement back then? Obviously there weren't or else you'd think that the government's genocide would've been much more telivised and penalized. It was thanks to the civil war, and the rebels that you have more humanitarian activism in in God forsaken country. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND, as several years of elitism, oligarchies, etc. have proved with the subsequent revolt of the people. And mind you, that not all of the rebels were "commies".

Anonymous said...

Tim, F.Y.I. Monseñor Romero's assasination was planned and executed not through Death Squads, but with the help of Argentinian Oficials. ( See recent article in La Prensa Grafica and El Diario De Hoy)

Anonymous said...

To one of the anonymous posters, you are incorrect, Romero's assassination was ordered by d'Aubuisson. D'Aubuisson was what former US amabassador Robert White called "a pathological killer". His favorite means of torturing victims was a blow torch. To erect a statue to such a monster suggests that the underlying problems in El Salvador were never resolved with the war but live on in the minds of the powerful.

In addition, the bizarre list of what would happen if there was a labor or leftwing government strikes one as funny and appalling. PLease remember, strikers WERE shot and killed in the late 70s and throughout the 80s by the rightwing governments. You are kind of like the pot calling the kettle black!

I worked in the guerilla territories of Chalatenango where some communities had been collectively organized. Private property was not outlawed (!). But I did notice a happiness and optimism utterly lacking in rural villages everywhere else in the country.

Ronald Reagan said...

The only good communist is a dead communist!!!!!!!!! If it was not for these right wing death squads, communism would have spread from central to south america.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I think I saw that movie too, wasn't that when the guy playing the part of D'Abuisson said, "We just want what you Americans want." It was action packed and bloody, just what I like to see in movies. I wonder why there hasn't been a movie made about the murder of that guy, Roque Dalton, by the leftist leader who at the end of the war ripped of the guerrilla's war chest and headed off to Great Britan with his then girl friend. He ripped them off and left his buddies high'n dry. Ha ha ha.. that would make a great movie.

lowe said...

It has become very clear who the rightwing champions as their heroes.The rich landowners,military,and overall current political leadership in ARENA[death squad]and U.S.I for one will not bother talking to anyone of them.We the people of struggle,will prevail as those before us have in other struggles around the world.