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.