Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Monument to Memory and Truth

The Los Angeles Times published a recent story concerning the Monument to El Salvador's civillian war victims, located in Cuscatlan Park in San Salvador:

Engraved with nearly 30,000 names, the Monument to Memory and Truth is a roll of dead and disappeared from the conflict, which ended in 1992. It is incomplete. Officially, the fighting between leftist guerrillas and the right-wing military government killed 75,000 and left thousands more missing. Not all the names of the war's victims were available when the monument project began, so the list is growing.

The monument, erected five years ago by the city's leftist-run government, draws visitors from around the country to mourn loved ones confirmed killed in the political violence or, in many cases, who have simply vanished.

An engraved name on this glinting stone is often the closest thing to a proper grave site many people will have. The neat rows of names represent bits of history, fibers of memory, personal anguish.

"These are stories," said 73-year-old Cipriana Rivera, a copper-skinned woman in a floral skirt and polo shirt who was scanning for the name of her husband. He disappeared in 1979 or 1980. "They are stories that happened." (more)

Like the monument at El Mozote, the recording of the names of innocent victims provides a powerful reminder of a history which must not be repeated.

Readers may also want to read this blog post written by a surfer who decides to walk from the MetroCentro shopping mall to Cuscatlan Park in the city's center.


Jon said...

I went to look at the monument last year. I wasn't completely sure where it was (and it hardly stands out even when you're close by). So I had to ask people on the street. What somewhat shocked me was that nobody seemed to know of its existence.

El-Visitador said...

«a powerful reminder of a history which must not be repeated»


How different would our country be if the marxist guerrillas had not started kidnapping, torturing, and killing innocent civilians in February 1971?

Like David Escobar Galindo said:

«A few days before, the kidnapped Ernesto Regalado Dueñas had been murdered. It was the first act of revolutionary violence in the nation.»

And like Marvin Galeas said:

«killed the young industrialist Ernesto Regalado Dueñas. His body was found horribly tortured [...] for months nothing further was heard of "The Group;" it was only in March 1972 [...] that it reappeared as the "People's Revolutionary Army." The new guerrillas killed two policemen close to the old Bloom Hospital»

How heavily these 30,000 names must weigh on the souls of the marxist killers and torturers who started the war.

Rebeca Taylor said...

TO: El-visitador

The names carved in the monument are from the other victims, the ones killed by the government, who started massacring its own citizens (and foreingners like American Ita Ford killed in 1980) as far as 1833.

(read the LA times if you don't believe me,0,6745832.story)

Also the two quotes you make are from pro-government right wing "analysts"... you can try to simplify the facts of the Salvadoran civil war but at least do a better effort in doing so by picking better "sources" than these...

El-Visitador said...

«the two quotes you make are from pro-government right wing "analysts"»


Marvin Galeas was a Communist guerrillero throughout the 1980's. The guy dodged government bullets and bombs for over a decade. He was one of the leaders of Marxist Radio Venceremos.

David Escobar Galindo's resumé as a peace negotiator and man of impeccable impartiality cannot be even questioned. The man is beyond dispute one of the most respected intellectuals of El Salvador, if not the most respected.

Lady, don't get your ignorance get ahead of yourself.

Mara Komoska said...

Hi - I need to point out that there is a very serious error in this LA Times article -- the Monument to Memory and Truth was NOT "constructed by El Salvador's leftist government." It was, in fact, constructed without any aid from the Salvadoran government, which, at the time that the monument was constructed, was still right-wing. The monument was constructed by Salvadoran civilian groups with the aid of foreign governments who care about human rights and reconciliation! I work with Co-Madres, the Committee of the Mothers of the Disappeared and Assassinated of El Salvador, who were one of the primary groups involved in the construction of the Monument. For more information, you can check out their website at:, or my organization's website, at: Paz, - Mara