Another Salvadoran war criminal located in the United States

Image capture from video shot by ZEMBLA team

Another Salvadoran war criminal has been located living in the United States.  Colonel Mario Reyes Mena is alleged to have given the orders in 1982 to kill four Dutch journalists covering the civil war in El Salvador.  At the time he was commander of the 4th infantry brigade based in  El Paraíso, Chalatenango.  The massacre occurred close by in Santa Rita.

Dutch journalists from ZEMBLA tracked Reyes Mena down through social media activity to a house in the United States.  He has reportedly been living in the US since 1984, two years after the massacre. From NL Times:
Zembla tracked down the colonel who ordered the murder of the four Dutch. The now 79-year-old Mario Reyes Mena has been living in the United States for four years. Zembla found him through his three adult children, who are active on social media. 
In 1993 a United Nations truth commission concluded that Reyes Mena  was responsible for the ambush and the murder of the Dutch journalists - Koos Koster, Jan Kuiper, Joop Willemsen and Hans ter Laag. That same year an amnesty law was passed in El Salvador, which meant that he could not be prosecuted in that country. 
The ZEMBLA team tweeted the video of meeting Reyes Mena at his front door where they asked to speak to him about the allegations in the Truth Commission report.

Reyes Mena is seen answering the door in an ARENA T-shirt and angrily telling the reporters that he was never charged with anything.  The video begins in English and later their conversation switches to Spanish.

There is a petition to open proceedings in El Salvador seeking to hold persons criminally responsible for the 1982 massacre.   The complaint is backed by the Dutch government and names as defendants Reyes Mena as well as Colonel Francisco Antonio Morán, ex-director of the Treasury Police, General Rafael Flores Lima, ex-chief of the Estado Mayor General of the armed forces; and General José Guillermo García, ex-minister of Defense.

Locating Reyes Mena in the United States raises the question whether he could be deported, like former Salvadoran general Eugenio Vides Casanova who was deported under US law which provides for deportation of those guilty of human rights violations.

The ambushed Dutch journalists.


Greg said…
Excellent investigative journalism on the part of the Dutch documentary team!

The repeal of the General Amnesty law is slowly but surely seeing alleged war criminals on both sides sought for trial.
Greg said…
This is the link to the English version of "In Cold Blood".

Interesting the observation made early in the documentary that the belief held by many at the Estado Mayor at the time was that all journalists were communists, and communists were to be killed.

When Reyes Mena is confronted at his swank home in Virginia he is passionate when he echoes, in his own words, this same thought process. Clearly, for him then and now, the Dutch were fair game and there was no moral confusion between a camera man and an FAL armed "subersivo".
Greg said…
Statements from Dutch family members are being taken in San Salvador.

The defeat of the effort to install a new "amnesty law" recently will urge this effort forward.