As well as being one of El Salvador’s most celebrated poets, Roque Dalton was also a committed political activist and a member of the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP), a leftist guerrilla organisation, in the 1970s.Friday, May 14, was the 75th anniversary of the birth of El Salvador's revolutionary poet. His two sons chose that day to file a complaint with El Salvador's attorney general against two of the men they accuse of participating in their father's killing in 1975. The complaint accuses Joaquin Villalobos and Jorge Meléndez with the murder of Dalton. Both men were leaders in the ERP guerilla movement which condemned Roque Dalton to death. Meléndez is the current director of Civil Protection in the Ministry of the Interior under the Funes government. Villalobos has lived outside of El Salvador in Oxford, England and has publicly split with the FMLN in recent years.
On May 10, 1975, Dalton was gunned down by his own ERP comrades-in-arms, four days before his 40th birthday. His execution was ordered by the ERP leadership, which accused him of insubordination and of working for the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
It was subsequently determined that the accusation that he was a CIA collaborator was false.
The whereabouts of his remains are still unknown.
The two sons are supported by the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America, which characterized the murder of the heralded Salvadoran poet as a crime against humanity, in which political dissent was eliminated by deadly force.