Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Political(?) Murders

There are recent updates in two murders and a new murder, which continue to raise the question: how do you know when a murder is politically motivated? It is a question I've asked before in this blog, especially when people are quick to assert a political motivation when few facts are known about a murder.

The case of Salvador Sanchez -- Sanchez was the radio journalist who worked for progressive radio stations and was murdered near his home in September 2007, and some suggested a political motivation for the murder. This week police reported capturing a member of Mara Salvatrucha as the second suspect in the murder of the radio journalist, after arresting another gang member last October.

The case of Wilber Funes -- Funes was the FMLN mayor in the town of Alegria. He was killed along the road in January of this year. At the time, some in the FMLN blamed the former ARENA mayor of Alegria. Authorities have now charged two current municipal officials from Alegria as the intellectual authors of the murder of Funes. Allegedly these town officials had bad blood with the mayor and hired a gang member to commit the murder.

The new murder of Hector Ventura -- Hector Ventura, was one of the Suchitoto 13 originally arrested for acts of terrorism and finally released after a long legal battle. The 19 year-old Ventura was stabbed to death last Saturday. Activists are demanding that authorities investigate the possibility that this murder was politically motivated by Ventura's activism.

There are too many killings with all sorts of causes in El Salvador. There are too few credible police investigations performed of those killings. Because of those two factors, we may never know which murders are politically motivated and which are not. But every murder, regardless of its cause, calls out for justice for its victims.

4 comments:

Ricardo PANIAGUA said...

You don’t have idea how sad the Salvadoran youth feels after reading in the newspaper the death of Ventura. I’m from El Salvador, and I do not like you to see us a violent country, but it’s good to know that a United States citizen is waking up to our reality. Thank you for the information!

Ricardo PANIAGUA

Larry said...

"There are too many killings with all sorts of causes in El Salvador. There are too few credible police investigations performed of those killings. Because of those two factors, we may never know which murders are politically motivated and which are not. But every murder, regardless of its cause, calls out for justice for its victims."

1. This goes back to the old Nazi strategy of "night and fog." Authoritarian forces seek to keep everyone guessing, creating a world in which no one "knows" but everyone suspects.

2. Back in 1999/2000--before things were as bad in Salvador as they are now--activists repeatedly told me that they feared that they could be murdered with impunity because the state would blame it on "crime." Even if these weren't politically motivated murders--and that is a BIG if--there is no denying that they generate genuine fear among Salvadorans, particularly those thinking about whether or not to make trouble in politics. In other words, they have the same effect as political murders one way or the other.

3. If they are indeed cases of common crime, resolving these cases would only serve to remove the "night and fog." Salvadorans would then realize (hypothetically speaking, of course) that there is nothing to fear from getting involved in politics. That provides powerful forces with a very strong motive for not resolving any of these cases. (Or "resolving" them in a manner that lacks legitimacy, as in the Gilberto Soto and Katya investigations.

Anonymous said...

I JUST THINK THAT RENE FIGUEROA IS GAY

Anonymous said...

How bout Shafik..
How bout Funes' son in Paris..
How bout the cleanup ARENA did in Guatemala after Daubuisson got fried in the car..