Mark Danner, an editor for the New York Times magazine, recounts in The Massacre at El Mozote a horrific crime against humanity committed by a branch of the Salvadorian army. He gives multiple points of views and cites numerous eye witnesses to try and piece together something that has been tucked away by the government at the time. In December, of 1981, news reports were leaked to major newspapers in the united states about an atrocity committed and a total massacre of a hamlet in El Salvador, known as El Mozote, or the Thicket. At first, the account was of over a thousand civilians, women men and children with no guerrilla affiliation were massacred. Danner pieces together the testimonies of the survivors, and interviews with officers in the Salvadorian army.
El Mozote was not affiliated with the guerrilla uprising at the time. It was a town that was seen as a last resort for fleeing civilians. There was supposed to be safe harbor there, as the rebels and army would be doing their fighting in the woods, away from civilians. On December 8th, peasants were straggling one by one into El Mozote, and were stretching the limits of the small town (Danner 34). Even the town mayor was under the impression that the citizens of El Mozote would be given clemency. They were instructed to keep off of the streets, to stay inside to avoid the fighting. Marcos Diaz, the mayor, recounts his seeming betrayal, "Wait!, he pleaded, They promised me nothing would happen to the people here. The officers told me so" (Donner 64). he was correct, the citizens of El Mozote were supposed to have clemency, they were not to be harmed.
A supposed "elite, American trained" arm of the Salvadorian army, Atlacatl were acting on their own. They had basic training from the Americans, but their extensive training came at the hands of Monterrosa (Donner 50). These seemingly advanced troops were anything but. They "shot animals and smeared the blood all over their faces, they...
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