2017 -- the year of El Mozote

For the first time in 2017 we began to see blows in a Salvadoran court against the impunity which has so far protected those who ordered one of the largest massacres of children and other civilians in the western hemisphere.   The massacre of the hundreds of children and others at El Mozote took place in December 1981, and 36 years later, the witnesses and the relatives of the victims are testifying in open court.

We are still a long way from justice.   The armed forces still have not opened their archives, and there are fears that the military has long since expunged any record of the command and planning of this scorched earth military operation.   But the momentum is building none the less, and the trial will continue in 2018.

The Salvadoran human rights organization Cristosal has a very good overview of the 2017 developments of the El Mozote child massacre case here

Earlier this month, the government of El Salvador released a documentary about the events at El Mozote titled El Mozote nunca más. (El Mozote never again).  It's quite well done, and gives voice to many of the victims relatives who are now testifying in the trial as well as to human rights advocates and others.   (Sorry, so far it is only available in Spanish).

Documental El Mozote nunca más from Tevelevisión de El Salvador on Vimeo.

Referring to the massacre as a "genocide" and a "mass extermination," the documentary traces the history from the massacre to the current testimony of witnesses in a courtroom in San Francisco Gotera. The documentary was produced by the government of El Salvador in compliance with the judgment against it by the InterAmerican Court for Human Rights.

Those surviving witnesses seeking justice have been named by the digital periodical RevistaFactum as the "Protagonists of 2017."   Their perseverance has brought continued hope for justice despite the best efforts of the Salvadoran system to deny or delay it.