33rd anniversary of 1989 Jesuit massacre
|UCA 33rd anniversary poster|
November 16, 2022 is the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 massacre of 6 Jesuit priests and one of their co-workers and her daughter at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador. I have been writing about this case and the search for justice for the past 18 years and you can review those articles on El Salvador Perspectives using the Jesuit murders tag.
The anniversary has been commemorated at the UCA with a traditional candlelight vigil, symposia, and cultural events.
This week a judge granted early release to ex-colonel Guillermo Alfredo Benavides, one of only two military figures convicted in the flawed 1992 trial in the Jesuit murders case. Benavides was released in 1993 when an amnesty law was passed, and then re-arrested in 2016 when that amnesty was ruled unconstitutional. Having now served a third of his 30 year sentence, and being 77 years old, he qualified for early release. The Jesuits of the UCA have been petitioning for the commutation of his sentence since 2017.
In the open criminal case in a Salvadoran court, there have been no public developments since an initial hearing in March to notify the retired military leaders who are defendants of the charges against them.
A new podcast from RevistaFactum recreates the threats against the Jesuits and other prominent leaders made during a national broadcast on the military radio channel five days before the massacre.
There is also a newly released movie about the massacre. Llegaron de noche (English title: What Lucia Saw) focuses on Lucia Barrera de Cerna, the sole civilian witness who saw the Salvadoran military on the grounds of the UCA and heard the sounds of the massacre on November 16, 1989. You can watch this trailer for the movie.