Amnesty and impunity in case of the Jesuits

An article this week from the Chicago Tribune looks at El Salvador's amnesty law passed after the end of the civil war and its effect of preventing justice in the case of the six Jesuit priests slain in 1989:
El Salvador is still wrestling with how to achieve justice after a 12-year conflict between Marxist rebels and a military regime propped up by the Reagan administration.

While international human-rights groups say prosecution is the only logical avenue, both leading candidates in March's presidential election have taken the opposite approach, vowing to keep the amnesty law in place.

That angers [Jesuit Father Jose Maria] Tojeira, now rector at Central American University, which houses a shrine to the slain priests. "We call it an insult to the victims of El Salvador," he said. "The amnesty law attempts to say that nothing happened here, that the living are the ones who count and the dead don't matter. It is a lack of respect to human dignity."

The facts of the murder of the Jesuits have been re-affirmed by national and international investigators. El Salvador's truth commission determined that high-level military officers planned the attack on the priests, who were considered "subversives" because they favored peace talks and had contacts with FMLN rebels.

The lack of prosecution in El Salvador has led human rights attorneys to open a case in the Spanish court system.

Funes and Avila both talk about the need to avoid reopening old wounds when they describe why they oppose repealing the amnesty law. The delicate balance achieved following the peace accords could be disturbed if there was a quest for vengeance.

As quoted in the Tribune article, Benjamin Cuellar, head of the Human Rights Institute at the UCA, has a rejoinder:
Likewise, Cuellar doesn't oppose pardoning the perpetrators but says they must face a legal process and have their guilt publicly affirmed.

"We have to get rid of the cliche that says, 'we can't reopen old wounds,' " he said. "Yes, it is important to turn the page. But first you must read the page and learn the lessons."


Anonymous said…
Tonight saw a feature-length propaganda piece by a group called "Cruzada Pro Paz y Trabajo" (Pro Peace and Work Crusade) running for what appeared to be at least 30 mins, in which the people that presented the piece completely distorted El Salvador's history and deeply rooted social unrest, and blaming absolutely everything, from the country's high criminal rate, high prices of living, war, immigration problems, to FMLN. Then going as far as intrumentalizing FMLN as being nothing more than Chavez's surrogate whose purpose is giving a foothold on the region to Chavez, who apparently is the biggest menace to the world since Hitler. Seriously, after seeing this commercial makes you think that Chavez has nothing to envy Emperor Palpatine. But this did not stop here, the persons responsible for the commercial (READ: ARENA), stepped on the reputations of every single political leader that had the slightest relation with Venezuela to be nothing more than totalitarian puppet regimes. Suffice to say that they reduced Mauricio Funes to nothing more than a trojan horse, the receptacle by which El Salvador's doom will come if FMLN's is to win: READ: USA relationships with El Salvador will cease, remittances will stop, deportations will increase.

Obviously this travesty of commercial that wanted to pass as a documentary, of course without any mention to the Death Squads, the scorched earth campaigns led by the "security forces" controlled by the army and financed by the oligarchy, the disproportionate accumulation of wealth on the hands of the few, etc. The fact that such things exist in this country without any way to be contested and refuted show you why exactly such levels of impunity have become ingrained into our society forbidding anything with a semblance to reconciliation, combat to corruption, the making of justice to occur in our society. So, until things like this stop, with crimes of the present occurring without fear of punishment, you might as well forsake any hope that crimes of the past will be tried.

It is for this reason, due to the dirty campaigns, where ARENA tries to entitle itself with being the only guarantee that any relations with a key ally (the USA),and unfortunately one with which we've generated a parasitical dependence on, that more than ever Obama and cabinet have to demonstrate this to be untrue.
Anonymous said…
Stop help promoting disastrously irresponsible behavior, help cut USAID to El Salvador! Save a tax-payer's dollars, today!

Do not become the life-line by which criminals, evildoers, bigot popinjays continue to perpetuate their falsehood usurping the ideals of democracy, free speech and free enterprise. Urge Obama to act.

Nevermore become the unwilling accomplices to the vast number of silent genocides occuring world-wide, by the hands of inhuman and greedy regimes. Demand the accountability and responsibility of foreign leaders to their citizens. Learn what your dollars really purchase... Don't let crimes be done IN YOUR NAME.
Anonymous said…
My only problem with the Jesuits and their whining about the crimes perpetrated against them and the 6 priests is that they chose to start a war against the ruling government. If they couldn't do it through democratic means, then they shouldn't have been giving support to the enemies of the government. In most places that would be considered treason and is punishable by death. While I don't condone murder they were condoning the death of whoever got in their way.
Get the church off their high horse and take care of the spiritual needs of the people instead of fomenting revolution and anarchy through liberation theology. I haven't found anyplace in the bible where Christ or the apostles preached radical overthrow of the Romans. Why do the Jesuits think they have the right in this day and age. Get the church out of politics!