• Toby Cadman

The Guernica Group Commemorates the Anniversary of the Jesuits Massacre





On the morning of 16 November 1989, Salvadoran society woke up with news that would definitively change the course of the long and tragic civil war that had plagued the country for nine years. During the night, a squad from the Atlacatl Battalion of the military forces of El Salvador, under orders from the highest military spheres, raided the Central American University to shoot six Jesuit parents, also taking the lives of their employee, Julia Elba Ramos, and her daughter, Celina Mariceth Ramos, who was only 16 years old. The photographs of their lifeless bodies flooded the world's newspapers and caused a great stir in the Salvadoran people and internationally.


Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín Baró, Amando López, Segundo Montes, Juan Ramón Moreno and Joaquín López. Jesuit priests, pioneers of liberation theology for Central America, dedicated their lives not only to raise awareness about the problems of poverty and inequality, but also to promote peace and the end of the Salvadoran war through a political negotiated solution. All those who had the opportunity to know them remember them fondly as extraordinary people.


That day, the victims began a long journey to seek justice for one of the most representative massacres in recent Latin American history. In that arduous path against impunity, after more than 30 years of waiting and 12 since The Guernica Group promoted the criminal process before the Spanish National Court, a historical milestone occurred on 11 September 2020: the former Colonel and Viceminister of Public Security of El Salvador, Inocente Orlando Montano, was sentenced to more than 133 years in prison as one of the authors of the massacre, for having been part of the military High Command that gave the order to murder the Jesuit priests.


However, despite this breath of hope and justice for the victims that has come from the hand of international justice, the truth is so far the Salvadoran state keeps a mantle of impunity over the atrocious crimes of repression and war.


From The Guernica Group we would like to remember the victims today and reaffirm our commitment to international justice so crimes like the present one will never be repeated.




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