Carranza trial

The trial of Colonel Nicholas Carranza is underway in Memphis. The first witness for the plaintiffs was former US Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White. Some of the highlights of his testimony are reported by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:

White described Carranza as the "quarterback" of a terror campaign designed to prop up the longstanding military oligarchy and eliminate dissent.

The military ran the government, White said, for the benefit of 14 wealthy families.

When democratic initiatives by labor unions, the Roman Catholic Church and intellectuals began to emerge, death squads indiscriminately killed anyone suspected of anti-government tendencies.

The crackdown, in which the country's archbishop, two American advisers and three nuns were assassinated, drove many of that country's young people into the camp of leftist guerrillas, White said.

White warned his State Department superiors about Carranza's actions in telegrams introduced Tuesday as evidence.

Carranza, he said in one missive, "has got to go."

Carranza's attorney has shed light on his client's defense:

Carranza was a paid informant for the CIA, and tried to reform El Salvador's security forces, his attorney, Robert Fargarson, told jurors.

In his years in Memphis, he has never hidden his identity from possible accusers.

"It is inconceivable that the U.S. government would trust Nicholas Carranza, and he being a savage, insensitive person," Fargarson said.

El Salvador, like the rest of Central America, was being targeted by Communists who sought to influence grassroots groups opposed to the military dictatorship, his attorney said.

"Communists were very active in Central America," Fargarson said, and armed guerillas killed many of the 10,000 civilians who died in 1980 alone.


Anonymous said…
From the CJA:

Dear friends of CJA,

We are pleased to announce that the plaintiffs rested our case today. We expect that Nicolas Carranza will take the stand tomorrow afternoon. The plaintiffs called 10 witnesses, including the five plaintiffs, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White, Salvadoran law professor and human rights expert, Luis Ramirez, military expert Col. Jose Luis Garcia from

Argentina, Irma Calderon - sister to plaintiff Paco Calderon, and Stanford professor and expert on El Salvador, Terry Karl. Today, the defendant started his case. He put on three witnesses: Leonel
Mejia, Alejondro Marroquin and military expert Jose Araujo. We expect that Colonel Nicolas Carranza will take the stand tomorrow afternoon in his defense.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

CJA Staff

Highlights and Order of the Trial:

Monday October 31, 2005: jury selection.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005:

Opening Arguments: The attorney for defendant Nicolas Carranza announced during opening statement that his client “worked for the US government” during the period of time at issue in this case.

Plaintiffs’ Case in Chief:

Robert White, former US ambassador in El Salvador in 1980, confirmed
Carranza was on the CIA payroll. He described the decisive role Carranza played as the Ministry of Defense as operational commander of the Salvadoran Security Forces.

Luis Ramirez. Law Professor, lawyer and Human rights activist from San Salvador. Ramirez works with Socorro Juridico, an association founded by the Jesuits to provide legal assistance to the poor and to the relatives of the victims of the repression.

Wednesday November 2, 2005:

Conclude Luis Ramirez testimony

Erlinda Franco, Plaintiff and widow of Manuel Franco, one of the six FDR leaders assassinated by Salvadoran Security forces on November 27, 1980. She has a claim for extrajudicial killing and crimes against humanity.

Cecilia Santos, Plaintiff. Ms. Santos was detained and tortured by members of the National Police (one of the security forces) in San Salvador late August 1980. She has a claim for torture.

Jose Luis Garcia, retired Colonel of the Argentine Armed Forces and expert witness in military command structure. Founder of Military for Democracy. He has testified as an expert in the Jesuits’ case in El Salvador and in Romagoza v. Garcia.

Thursday November 3, 2005:

Conclude Jose Luis Garcia Testimony

Irma Calderon. Ms. Calderon was originally a plaintiff and is the daughter of Paco Calderon, a teacher from the teachers union ANDES 21 DE JUNIO. A National Police death squad assassinated him at his house in San Salvador on September 11, 1980.

Paco Calderon, Plaintiff and brother of Irma Calderon. Mr. Calderon witnessed the assassination of his father. He brings a claim for torture and extrajudicial killing.

Friday November 4, 2005:

Ana Patricia Chavez, Plaintiff. Members of the National Guard in civilian clothes assassinated her parents. They were shot to death in their house in Ahuachapan, El Salvador on July 26, 1980. She brings a claim for torture and for extrajudicial killing.

Daniel Alvarado; Plaintiff. Mr. Alvarado was detained, tortured and falsely accused of the assassination in 1983 of American attaché, commander
lieutenant, Albert Shaufelberger in San Salvador. The defendant was the director of the police headquarters where Alvarado was tortured. Alvarado saw the defendant on three separate occasions after being tortured Alvarado was cleared of all charges.

Carranza’s deposition. Excerpts from Carranza’s deposition were presented where he made important admissions regarding: duties of a member of the high command; duty to observe the law; responsibility of the security forces in the human rights abuses and factual statements regarding Daniel Alvarado’s torture.

Monday November 7, 2005

Terry Karl. Expert witness. Professor Karl testified about the political context in El Salvador from 1979-1984, her knowledge of the military and those in power, and the pattern of attacks and abuses against civilians in El Salvador in those.

Tuesday November 8, 2005
Conclude Terry Karl’s testimony.
Plaintiffs’ Rest.

Defendant’s Case in Chief:

Leonel Mejia; Businessman from El Salvador. Carranza, as a director of the

Treasury Police, requested Mejia to buy and donate mattresses and beds for

the prisons. His testimony was limited to Carranza’s effort to improve the

conditions of prisoners.

Alejandro Dagoberto Marroquin. Economist from El Salvador and member of Congress for the PCN (partido de conciliacion nacional) a party traditionally allied to the military. He testified about helping Carranza obtain paint and mattresses to improve the condition of the prisons.

Jose Antonio Araujo, Expert Witness from El Salvador and former law professor at the now defunct Military University of El Salvador. He is expected to testify as an expert witness in chain of command and military structure in El Salvador.