The El Mozote Massacre | Crows Dream

Wendy Wallas (or Cristina Starr as she is known in El Salvador) is originally from the United States and moved to El Salvador in 1988. She has worked with a trade union federation and lived and worked in the repopulation community of Santa Marta, Cabañas. Cristina is one of the co-founder of Radio Victoria, a youth run community radio station. Since 1988 Cristina has worked on videos supporting community projects and historic memory. She works with groups that come to El Salvador to learn about the history, culture, politics, economics and reality and has coordinated the SIT Nicaragua academic excursion to El Salvador since 2004. The proposal is to show the 31 minute video testimony produced in 2007 by Wendy Wallas and then facilitate an open discussion on the issues of Conflict, Memory, and Reconciliation as they relate to El Salvador today and the use of testimonial documentaries in keeping the memories alive. Video Testimony of Rufina Amaya: “I am not afraid. “ Background: In El Salvador during the civil war the Salvadoran army, trained and financed by the United States, initiated a series of massacres in the Morazán province beginning on December 11, 1981 in El Mozote, where almost one thousand people, the majority children, were brutally assassinated. Rufina Amaya, the only surviving witness to the whole El Mozote massacre, told her story continuously for 25 years. Rufina Amaya lost her husband and 4 children in the El Mozote massacre. In 1990 Rufina Amaya asked the Archdiocese Legal Aid office to investigate the El Mozote Massacre. In 1992 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team carried out the first exhumation of massacre victims. There were more exhumations in El Mozote and neighboring villages between 2000 and 2004. Of the remains that have been recuperated 74% were children's. Thanks to Rufina Amaya's testimony the forensic specialist team scientifically proved that the deaths in El Mozote were the product of mass executions. The U.S. and Salvadoran governments consistently denied that the El Mozote Massacre had occurred. In 2006 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights formally accepted the case of El Mozote. Although the truth has been established, no one has ever been investigated, brought to trial or sanctioned for the El Mozote Massacre. Rufina Amaya was always willing to share her testimony with groups and individuals that visited her. She also presented her testimony in Great Britain's Parliament, in the U.S. Congress, in churches and organizations in the U.S.A., Canada and Europe, and in front of the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. Rufina Amaya died on March 6, 2007 leaving a legacy for everyone: never cease to demand from the Salvadoran State the reparation and dignification of the civilian victims and never rest in the struggle for Human Rights in all its extensions.

Mozote massacre.

The most damning evidence was exhumed in the sacristy. The Argentines found the skeletal remains of 143 bodies there. Of these, 131 were of children under the age of 12. The evidence showed that many of the victims were lying on the ground when shot from above by the killers standing in the door and by the windows. The bullets uncovered were U.S. government ammunition for U.S. government M16 rifles. The forensic experts concluded that the evidence "confirms the allegations of a mass murder." "There is no evidence to support the contention," the experts went on, "that these victims, almost all young children, were involved in combat or were caught in the crossfire of combat forces." The Truth Commission condemned the El Mozote massacre as "a serious violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

The El Mozote massacre : anthropology and human rights

» The El Mozote Massacre Photographer Susan Meiselas holds one of her photographs at the site where it was taken in early January 1982, weeks after the El Mozote massacre occurred. Meiselas's photograph appeared in the New York Times on January 27, 1982. The news of the massacre sparked an intense debate in the United States Congress, where the renewal of military aid to El Salvador was already the subject of controversy.

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Photographer Susan Meiselas holds one of her photographs at the site where it was taken in early January 1982, weeks after the El Mozote massacre occurred. Meiselas's photograph appeared in the New York Times on January 27, 1982. The news of the massacre sparked an intense debate in the United States Congress, where the renewal of military aid to El Salvador was already the subject of controversy.

Rufina Amaya, Survivor of the El Mozote Massacre : NPR