Over the past week, I watched a documentary, known as Massacre in El Salvador, with my dad, and it affected me and my father. For me, I did a presentation about El Mozote in my APUSH class and seeing that nobody knew what happened in El Mozote was terrifying. So seeing what was going on in the documentary was crazy. Even though my dad wasn’t in El Mozote, he was in El Salvador and in his 20s when this event happened, and ever since then, it has affected him and his POV on many things.
I’m writing this article because I have realized that not a lot of people know about it. I have asked my coworkers if they have heard of El Mozote and almost all o,f them have never heard of it, which helped my theory. Since most of my classmates three years ago also didn’t know about it. So here is the article.
The Hidden Figure of United States History: El Mozote
In 1981, El Mozote was and still to this day a village in El Salvador. It had a massacre where 1,000 villagers were killed and, it was during the civil war. It was led by the Salvadoran’s army, trained by the Green Beret and CIA officers. During this period, Reagan was president of the U.S. and his anti-communist fever was affecting the country’s political party in the Americas. Since the Cold War was about capitalism and democracy vs. communism and dictatorship, the U.S. and the USSR have sponsored countries’ battles to go against other countries or their people, called Proxy Wars. The problem about these proxy wars is that the two sponsors don’t really get affected if they lose their side compared to the countries fighting for the two sponsors. Good examples of proxy wars would be the Vietnam War or the Korean War.
So many other countries were affected by the US and the USSR, but in El Salvador, the country was fighting its people. The US was helping so much to keep the government that El Salvador has in power already to keep it. They feared that if El Salvador becomes anotherbecamey like Cuba, it could inspire other countries to become Communist countries.
Because the Civil War was happening, Reagan and his team have pushed the Salvadoran army to do whatever they needed to do, to weed out the rebels. They infiltrated and massacred the villagers when they heard about El Mozote being a possible hideout for the rebels. The problem was that the village was a neutral place, so the massacre wasn’t necessary. So for the past 40 years, governments like the U.S. and El Salvador have been keeping the massacre silent.
So in 2021, the Massacre in El Salvador’s documentar, explained that the journalism that keeps on fighting for El Mozote to be heard and to be a remembrance is that the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, uses his powers to remove their Supreme Court’s judges, where he gets to pick who brings to the Court’s judges, which can affect journalist companies like El Faro, who pushes the government to keep advocating El Mozote and so many other issues that the Court can overturn their arguments, and just like that, El Mozote is gone.
This matters to us because many of the massacre victims were told by their government that this event never happened, even though it did, and they found hundreds of dead children and adults. So if we were in their shoes, we would do the same and try to fight for our families.