Today, December 11, is the 25th anniversary of the massacre at El Mozote. This event stands out as one of the worst atrocities of the civil war and was committed by U.S. trained troops of the Salvadoran armed forces. Following the war, the United Nations Truth Commission issued its report with this summary:
"On 10 December 1981, in the village of El Mozote in the Department of Morazan, units of the Atlacatl Battalion detained, without resistance, all the men, women and children who were in the place. The following day, 11 December, after spending the night locked in their homes, they were deliberately and systematically executed in groups. First, the men were tortured and executed, then the women were executed and, lastly, the children, in the place where they had been locked up. The number of victims identified was over 200. The figure is higher if other unidentified victims are taken into account."
The massacre was carried out by soldiers of the US-trained Atlacatl Battalion, yet no one has ever been held responsible for this crime against humanity due to the 1993 amnesty law which followed the civil war. This absence of justice is part of the continuing problems of impunity and lack of reconciliation in the country. For more information about the massacre, read the UN Truth Commission report or Mark Danner's book The Massacre at El Mozote.
Today a silent memorial stands as a memorial to these innocent victims.
Although the massacre at El Mozote, along with the Rio Sumpul massacre, may be two of the most notorious massacres by government forces during the civil war, they may not have been the largest. Last month La Prensa Grafica, ran an article about the deaths of unarmed civilians during the twelve years of the civil war. The article mentions briefly, the El Morazán Massacre on April 14, 1981, in which 150 children, 600 elderly and 700 women were killed. Before that article, I had never heard of this massacre, and have not found any other mention of the massacre. If any other reader has more information, please post it in a comment.