Remembering "la Matanza" of 1932

January 22 was the 78 year anniverary of an event in El Salvador known simply as "la Matanza" -- the Massacre. Following an armed uprising of campesinos in January 1932, many of whom were indigenous, the Salvadoran armed forces massacred as man as 30,000 in reprisal.

This week, indigenous communities remembered the slaughter, as reported in Upside Down World:
The killing, led by former President General Maximiliano, left almost thirty thousand dead, "the majority of whom were indigenous -who probably did not know [that the government considered them] communists- thus destroying much of a culture that now demands justice and recognition," says Montoya.

"After this massacre, the Indian community was greatly reduced in the country, many of them changed their habits for fear of being killed and many customs gradually waned into oblivion" recounted the spiritual guide "Tata" Juan.

78 years later, in a place known as "El Llanito" where many victims of the slaughter are buried, an indigenous ceremony was held to "pay tribute to all the fallen who died innocently."

“Naja nusan matiguagua su 1932 matachiwa,” [We will never forget the martyrs of 1932] exclaimed indigenous priests in Nahuatl.

If you speak Spanish, you can learn more about the 1932 massacre known as La Matanza by watching the excellent documentary film 1932, Cicatriz de la Memoria (Scar of Memory) which is available for viewing over the internet at this link.

The documentary is from the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, the Museum of Word and Image. You can buy an English language version of the documentary from the bookstore at the Museum.

Another good resource in English is the book Matanza by Thomas P. Anderson.


danielschmidt said…
Also suggest:

"To Rise in Darkness: Revolution, Repression, and Memory in El Salvador" by Jeffery Gould.


"Remembering a Massacre in El Salvador: The Insurrection of 1932, Roque Dalton, and the Politics of Historical Memory" by Hector Lindo-Fuentes
Oscar R. said…
Anybody know of an in depth biography on President General Maximiliano?
El-Visitador said…
Watch the video: every single elder mentions the fact that they were driven by Communism.

History revisionists are going to have a very hard time going against all of those elderly peasants, witnesses to the mayhem, talking about and singing Communist songs.

- * -

Interestingly, the Consalvi documentary states as a fact that in the first night alone of the mayhem, the Communists looted and killed 20 innocent civilians... without so much as holding a Potemkin court.

Is anyone ever going to remember that the first ones to spill Salvadorean blood on the first night were the Communists?
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