REPORT ON THE
SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
RIGHT TO LIFE
American Declaration, Article I. Every human being has the
Right to life, liberty and the
Security of his person. /
1. Before conducting its on-site observation in El Salvador, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had received numerous communications denouncing violations of the right to life on the part of Salvadoran authorities. By way of example, these denunciations included the following:
2. The Commission received a communication dated August 26, 1975, in which a serious of events were denounced in connection with the death and disappearance of a number of students attributed to security forces. The claimant alleges that the events were occasioned by a student demonstration in the city of San Salvador, on July 30, 1975, and gives the following account:
“In the city of San Salvador, the students of the University of El Salvador held a general assembly on July 28 during which they agreed to hold a peaceful demonstration to protest events that had occurred some days before in the city of Santa Ana / and to march in defense of the autonomy of the university. The date set for this demonstration was Wednesday afternoon, July 30.
“On that day schedule for the student demonstration, the demonstrators lift the University City at around four in the afternoon. The student leaders unanimously agreed to avoid any action that might serve as a pretext for provocation by repressive groups. The demonstrators marched in an orderly fashion.
“Institutions were given in advance that paint not be taken so that no emblems would be drawn on the walls of houses and buildings along the streets where the demonstrators would pass. The banners bore inscriptions related only to the university problem and statement in defense of democratic rights and guaranties. As in any youthful demonstration, there were protest songs and the typical slogans.
“In other words, the university demonstrators marched abreast an d un-armed but for their words, toward the center of the city. At the Plaza Libertad, a meeting was to be held to inform the people of what was happening in Santa Ana and would warn them of another closing threatening the university. Further, the government’s anti-university attitude was to have been explained as part of a global plan of oppression that the government planned as part of the official strategy to destroy all popular opposition.
“Those were the purposes of the demonstration.”
“Marching along 25th Avenue North, called University Avenue, there was no warning of any imminent threat to the safety of the demonstrators. However, when the head of the line reached intersection near the ISS Hospital, the armored units appeared with their customary noise; in addition to those armored units, trucks carrying anti-demonstration forces, equipped with guns, machetes and clubs, protective helmets and gas masks were located near the Maternity Hospital. Also present were National Guardsmen and Treasury Guardsmen.
“The show of force in the area around Rosales hospital and on the north side of Asunción High School seemed to be designed to confront a heavily armed enemy and not a peaceful unarmed demonstration by university students.
“Those at the head of the demonstration, who were somewhat confused, wanted to turn into the street that goes in front of the main entrance of the ISSS (3 Calle Poniente), and turned to the left in order to avoid a confrontation with the armored forces stationed along side the Maternity Hospital. However, when they turned, they found contingents of the National Guard strategically posted behind La Asunción High School. Those in front wanted to turn around, but the armored units had cut them off because the units had crossed over the bridge; thus,, the place became a trap which they could not get out of, even if they were to jump over the walls to the pavement of the street below the bridge. Many demonstrators were hurt here, some brought down by fire.
“Just as the demonstrators were turning around, the rifle and machine-gun fire began, along with tear gas bombs thrown by the repressive troops. The manhunt began.
“The objective of those responsible for the crime was not to disperse the demonstrators; they wanted to destroy. If their intention had been to break up the demonstration, one tear gas bomb would have been sufficient to put an end to that peaceful demonstration.
“What they wanted, in their unrestrained fury, was to shed student blood.
“What we contend here is corroborated by the cold-blooded decision to shoot to kill on the afternoon of July 30, to pursue until the hunted are cut down, to speed the armored cars against the unarmed crowd, to cut savagely to pieces whoever came within their reach, to let their victims bleed to death by brutally preventing any assistance that the doctors and nurses form the ISSS wanted to provide.
What we are saying is corroborated also by the fact that behind the armored units was a military ambulance marked with a Red Cross, whose occupants were instructed to toss the bodies of dozens of the dead or seriously injured like sacks of potatoes, thereby removing the evidence of the crime.
“The shooting lasted some minutes, but because of the density of the demonstrators, those minutes were enough to spill much young blood. They were out to kill. The repressors were in a kneeling position, which shows there was no armed response or any other response on the part of the demonstrators; the repressors acted as if they were facing a target in shooting practice.
“But they were not just bullets. The boys and girls who in their desperate flight wanted to jump over the walls of the grounds around the ISSS, received slashes on the head and other parts of the body, parts of the body were dismembered. Tragic evidence of the slaughter was left on the scene: pieces of skull, scalps and brains, tracks left by bloody hands still visible the next day.
“The streets at the intersection and in front of the main entrance to the ISSS were wet with blood. Not even the heavy rainfalls that followed have managed to erase them entirely. This is the blood of people who bled to death or of people died instantaneously.
“People were pursued even inside the hospital of the Social Security Institute of El Salvador, where many individuals were captured, including physicians, aides and employees of various rank.
“Eight days after the massacre, the number of deaths and disappearances has not yet been established. The oppressors, who gathered the dead and the seriously injured are maintaining a complete silence backing the official, account to the effect that only one university student died. However, the truth will prevail and it will not conform to official accounts.
“Furthermore, it should be emphasized that the demonstrators at no time provoked the oppressors. However, on the night of July 30, the Minister of Defense and Public Security drafted a bulletin that totally distorted the truth: the peaceful demonstration was described as a “violent demonstration” and it was said that loudspeakers were used to call upon the instigators to abandon their attempts to create disorder, which is utterly false; it is also false that the violent attitude of which the bulletin speaks was transformed into action ¢when phosphorous grenades and Molotov cocktails were thrown, and attacks using heavy arms and shots from automatic and semiautomatic weapons.¢ It is equally untrue that ¢as a consequence of this aggressive act¢ --which in truth did not take place-- ¢ten members of the security corps were seriously wounded.¢”
3. Later, it was reported to the Commission that the following individuals had died as a result of those events: 1) Guillermo Aparicio; 2) María E. Miranda and 3) Roberto A. Miranda; and that the following individuals had disappeared and were presumed dead: 1) José Domingo Aldana; 2) Gilberto Ayala García; 3) Sergio Antonio Cabrera; 4) Napoleón Calderón Grande; 5) Ricardo Cantón García; 6) Romero Cuadra; 7) Carlos a. Fonseca; 8) Daniel Gómez Mendoza; 9) Elber Gómez Mendoza; 10) Reinaldo Hasbún Jiménez; 11) María J. López; 12) Marlene López; 13) Elizabeth Milla; 14) Norma Nolasco; 15) Marta Pineda and 16) Oscar Rodas Lazo. The claimant added that 17 individuals were known to have been injured.
4. During its visit to El Salvador, the Special Committee received the following denunciation in connection with this case:
“In a student-organized demonstration held on the afternoon of July 30, 1975, Mr. José Domingo Aldana Guerrero was detained along with many others. It is not know whether they died when that demonstration was ambushed by police authorities and the National Guard and attacked with firearms, tanks, machetes, etc. Later, the then President of the Republic announced over television that only 11 students had been arrested and that they had been released. With this, the case was closed and our sons and daughters did nor reappear.”
5. This communication, like the others it received during its visit to El Salvador, was analyzed by the Special Committee. Once its admissibility had been determined, the regulatory processing was initiated.
6. A communication, dated July 26, 1977, denounced the murder of Father Alfonso Navarro Oviedo and Luis Torres, a minor. The claimant recounted the events as follows:
“Father Alfonso Navarro Oviedo was murdered on May 11, at 5:40 p.m. Father Alfonso was pastor of the Church of the Resurrection which serves heavily populated neighborhoods, including Colonia Miramonte I and II, Toluca I and II, Universitaria I and II, which are inhabited by upper-middle class, mid-middle class and lower-middle class people. Father Alfonso was 35 years old.
“He had been threatened on a number of occasions. Some month ago, in February, his house was attacked by terrorist, and the garage of the parish house and his car were destroyed.
“On the afternoon of the murder, he had been at the presidential residence, summoned because of information against him in connection with classes that he was giving at a high school in the capital city. He then went to the Archbishop to r report and then went home. A few minutes after he arrived, some four men called at the residence. A young boy opened the door and they shot him. Father Navarro ran out to the yard in an attempt to climb over the wall. He was cut down by seven bullets. Even so, he was still alive when found, but died at an Aid Station at 3:30.
“The murder of Father Navarro occurred two month after the death of Father Rutilio Grande, S.J., who was murdered in a town 33 kilometers from San Salvador while on his way to celebrate mass at 6:00 in the afternoon.”
7. In a subsequent communication, the Commission was informed that Father Grande had been present in Plaza Libertad where, according to the claimant, the crowd protested the results of the elections on February 20, 1977, and claimed massive fraud. The denunciation read as follows:
“On the occasion, Sunday, February 2y, Father Navarro celebrated mass before the crowd and gave a moving sermon on the role of the Christian in today’s world and the need for Christians to know how to discover their true leader, and that leader was none other than Jesus. The sermon given by Father Navarro in the Salvadoran context was obvious, as the official candidate had waged his entire campaign on the basis of the phrase “the leader of the people of El Salvador.” This candidate, who the Central Election Council today declared to be the President-elect despite serious doubts concerning the elections, is General Romero to whom various acts of oppression, deaths of students, workers and farm workers are attributed. The sermon in the Plaza Libertad ended as follows: ¢I something happens to us for having spoken the truth, you yourselves know who the responsible parties are¢”
8. Through a note dated December 5, 1977,the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of the denunciation to the Government of El Salvador in application of the special procedure provided for in Article 53 of its regulations.
9. By note 4026, dated March 13 1978, the Governor of El Salvador reported on the deaths of Father Navarro and the boy Luisito Torres:
3. As to the murder of Father Alfonso Navarro Oviedo, the investigation has revealed that the event occurred at around 6:00 p.m. on May 12, 1977, when the priest in question, pastor of the church of the Colonia Miramontes in this city, was in his parish office in the company of a young boy, Luis Alfredo Torres. Both were shot by individuals unknown, who prior to the commission of the crime knocked at the door of the office, which was opened by the young boy. According to the investigation, Father Navarro Oviedo was reading in a chair when the crime was committed, according to the young boy before he died.
“The priest and the young boy were aided by a number of individuals immediately after the attackers took flight. The victims were taken tot he Emergency medical Center, where they died as a result of their wounds.
“As to the reprehensible act, the clandestine, ultra rightist organization known as UNION GUERRA BLANCA (UGB) claimed responsibility for the crime, which it publicized in information that it passed surreptitiously to the newspapers in this country, and which was published on May 13, 1977, a copy of which I am enclosing for you.
Further a ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice, which accompanied the aforementioned note, states the following with regard to the case:
“6) For the crime of the murder of Father Alfonso Navarro Oviedo on May 11, 1977, the First Justice of the Peace of this city initially took cognizance of the initial investigative procedures, and later referred the information to the First Criminal Judge of this Judicial District, under whose jurisdiction the case currently stands.”
10. During the on-site observation, the Special Committee received additional information on the death of Father Navarro. That information was forwarded to the Government through a note dated April 20, 1978. The Government replied by repeating the same information that appears in the foregoing paragraph.
11. The deaths of Father Rutilio Grande, S.J. and of his companions Manuel Solorzano and Nelson Rutilio Lemus, on March 12, 1977, were denounced to the Commission in a communication dated June 26, 1977. The denunciation submitted by the claimant reads as follows:
“On the night of Saturday march 12, Father Rutilio Grande, S.J., 49 years of age, of El Salvador was driving to the town of El Paisnal to celebrate mass. He was accompanied by Manuel Solorzano, 72 and Nelson Rutilio Lemus 16. While going by some sugar cane plantations, they were ambushed by machine-gun fire. All three died.
“Father Grande has delivered a sermon on February 13 at an open-air gathering to protest the expulsion of Father Mario Bernal.
“Some people feel that that sermon caused the death of Rutilio Grande. ¢We have only one Father and all of us are his sons… all of us are brothers, we are all equal. But Cain is the bad seed of God’s plan; there are groups of Cain’s in this country.¢
“Speaking of Mario Bernal and of the risk of being a Christian, he said the following: ¢-dear brothers and friends, I am fully aware that very soon the Bible and the Gospels will not be allowed to cross the border. All that will reach us will be the covers, since all the pages are subversive—against sin, it is said. So that if Jesus crosses the border at Chalatenango, they will not allow him to enter. They would accuse him, the man-God, the prototype of man, of being an agitator, of being a Jewish foreigner, who confuses the people with exotic and foreign ideas, anti-democratic ideas, and i.e., against the minorities. Ideas against God, because this is a clan of Cain’s. Brothers, they would undoubtedly crucify him again. And they have said so.¢
“One month later, on Saturday March 12, Father Grande was driving past sugar cane plantations on his way to celebrate mass in El Paisnal, where he had lived as a child. The assassins riddled his body with ore than ten bullets, all but one of which was fatal. According to one account, the car had turned over. The old man and the young boy presumably were killed so that there would be no witnesses. It is said that they let loose two or three small children who were with them. The authorities did not want to become involved by ordering an autopsy, so that the Jesuit hired a physician with forensic experience. The doctor was of the opinion that the shots came from at leas five different places and that the weapons used was a machine-gun of the type used by the police.
“There are a number of signs of Government complicity. One hour after the incident, telephone service in Aguilares was cut off, although it was not interrupted in the neighboring towns. At a point when few people knew of the murder, President Molina called Archbishop Oscar Romero to express his condolences (although the newspapers reported that the Archbishop made the call).”
12. The Commission decided to apply the special procedures established in Article 53 of its Regulations to this denunciation and transmitted the pertinent parts thereof to the Government of El Salvador on September 19, 1977.
13. In the aforementioned note 4026, dated March 13, 1978, the Government of El Salvador provided the following information:
“As for case 2338 concerning the murders of Father Rutilio Grande, Manuel Solorzano and Nelson Rutilio Chávez Lemus:
“On March 12, 1977, at around 6:30 p.m., approximately 1 kilometer from the city of Aguilares on the highway from Aguilares to the town of El Paisnal, unknown individuals killed the aforementioned clergyman, who served as pastor for that city, while the priest in question was driving a vehicle bearing license plate P-97449, a Volkswagen with a white body and black top, traveling with Mr. Manuel Solorzano and Nelson Rutilio Chávez Lemus, a young man.
“The corpses of Father Grande and the other two individuals were identified by the Justice of the Peace of Aguilares, the city from which he was driving. The body of Father Grande had eighteen bullet holes in various parts of the body; the body of Manuel Solorzano had ten bullet holes and Chávez Lemus had five bullet holes in the head.
“The vehicle in which Father Grande and his companions were traveling was found at the side of the highway and had what appeared to be 45- caliber bullet holes in the front and many smaller holes behind the seats, presumed to be from a pistol because of the shells found at the site.
“From what is known, an individual by the name of Benito Estrata was seen at the site of the ambush prior to the commission of the three murders; this individual is being sought by the authorities as there is serious suspicion surrounding his person. To date he has not been captures.”
For its part, the letter from the Supreme Court of Justice, attached to note 4026, states the following:
“3) As for the murders of Father Rutilio Grande, Manuel Solorzano and Nelson Rutilio Lemus, which occurred on March 12, 1977, the justice of the Peace of the town of Aguilares took competence and appeared at the scene of the crime promptly and as required, to carry out the initial investigatory proceedings; those proceeding have been passed on to the Judge of the First Instance of the Judicial Dist5ic of Quezaltepeque, who is continuing the investigation.”
14. The Archbishop of San Salvador issued various communiqués on the murder of Father Rutilio Grande and his two companions. Transcribed below are certain relevant paragraphs from Bulletin No. 4, dated March 13, 1977; are considered relevant:
“The Press Secretary of the Archbishop of San Salvador announced that yesterday, Saturday March 12, at around 5:00 p.m., Father RUTILIO GRANDE, a Jesuit and pastor of Aguilares, was murdered. Also murdered in the same act were two individuals with Father Grande, who was on his way to his hometown, El Paisnal, to celebrate holy Mass. The names of the other two victims are MR. MANUEL SOLORZANO, seventy years of age, and a youth by the name of NELSON RUTILIO LEMUS, fifteen years of age.
“Father Rutilio Grande and his two companions were surprised from behind and riddled with bullets by individual unknown. High caliber weapons were used in the commission of the crime and the bullet went through the body and seats of the car that the priest was driving, fatally wounding the three victims.
“One physician with forensic experience identified the bodies, at the request of Church authorities, so that his professional opinion could be used in a subsequent judicial investigation, and in order that this horrendous crime does not remain veiled in mystery, as often happens in cases of this kind. The authorities, which tend to provide official assistance in these cases, we conspicuously absent. Further, the public telephone service in Aguilares was not operating.
“The Archbishop, Monsignor Oscar A. Romero, has formally requested the President of the Republic that the competent authorities conduct an exhaustive investigation to clear up so treacherous a crime and to punish those responsible.”
15. The following day, the Archbishop published another bulletin. It reads as follows:
CLARIFICATION FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ARCHBISHOP ON THE DEATH OF FATHER RUTILIO GRANDE S.J. AND HIS COMPANIONS
Having read the quite detailed information provided today, Monday, in the Diario de Hoy and the Prensa Gráfica, on the murder of Rev. Father Rutilio Grande and his companions Nelson Rutilio Chávez 16, and Manuel Solórzano, 72, the Office of the Press Secretary for the Archdiocese wishes to make the following clarification to the people of El Salvador, in order to erase any distorted and false image of the horrendous sacrilege:
“1. That the perpetrators of the vile murder of the priest from Aguilares are not common criminals. The true reason for his death was his prophetic and pastoral efforts to raise the consciousness of the people throughout his parish. Father Grande, without offending and forcing himself upon his flock in the practice of their religion, was only slowly forming a genuine community of faith, hope and love among them, he was making them aware of their dignity as individuals, of their basic rights as words, his was an effort toward comprehensive human development. This post-Vatican Council ecclesiastical effort is certainly not agreeable to everyone, because it awakens the consciousness of the people. It is work that disturbs many; and to end it, it was necessary to liquidate its proponent. In our case, Father Rutilio Grande.
“2. That it is not true that Father Grande and his companions were riddled with bullets from pistols. The opinion of a physician with forensic experience and the destructive and fatal impact that he high caliber bullets had on the car and the bodies show that heavy arms were used to commit the crime.
“3. That is was not the Archbishop who called the President of the Republic Last Saturday, but vice versa.
“The President expressed his condolences to the Archbishop and promised that the crime would be investigated and that is precisely that the Archbishop, the clergy and the members of the Catholic Church asked of him: an exhaustive investigation on the part of the Government, because only the Government has the tools and means to do it. The people await clarification from the authorities; otherwise, the criminal act will place the Government in an unfavorable light.”
16. During its visit, the Special Committee received numerous new denunciations in connection with the right to life, and obtained additional information on the cases cited above. Based on the communications received during its visit to El Salvador, the Commission opened 27 new cases, which cover 37 individuals whose deaths the claimants attribute to governmental authorities.
17. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Special Committee received various versions of the events that occurred on the night of February 27, 1977. According to the claimants, the crowd of sympathizers for the presidential candidate of the Union Nacional Opositora (UNO).. National Opposition Union), Colonel Ernesto Claramount, gathered in the Plaza Libertad in San Salvador to protest the decision to award the victory to the candidate of the Partido de Conciliación Nacional (PCN) – National Conciliatory Party), General Carlos Romero. The claimants agree that after midnight, when most of the people had left, the Plaza was surrounded by security forces; shortly after everyone was advised to leave, the troops opened fire on those that still remained there. Estimates of the number of people killed in this action vary greatly. Leaders of the opposition stated to The Special Committee that several hundred had perished that night. Other sources told the Commission that around 100 people died. / On the other hand, the Salvadoran authorities admitted to the Special Committee during its on-site observation that one person died that night, but they denied that the troops had fired on the crowd.
18. In addition to these denunciations, various sources reported to the Special Committee that many people had died and disappeared under truly alarming circumstances. By way of example, these sources pointed to the events that occurred during a student demonstration on July 30, 1975 and in the Plaza Libertad on February 27, 1977. They also alleged that it was difficult to determine how many individuals had died because the Government had gathered the bodies of the dead and wounded following the confrontations with the security forces and buried them in secret places or concealed them and because of the intimidation campaign aimed at instilling fear in the relatives of the victims so that they would not submit denunciations.
19. On the other hand, the Special Committee received the views of the authorities on the overall situation in the country regarding the right to life and on the major cases of violations of the right to life denounced to the Commission. The authorities stated that the denunciations received by the Commission with regard to the student demonstration of July 30, 1975, and the succession of events at the Plaza Libertad in San Salvador on the night of February 27, 1977, and in Aguilares in May of 1977, as well as other encounters that received less publicity, have been exaggerated to a large extent. The authorities added that only one person had died in each of the encounters at Aguilares and Plaza Libertad and that these were the result of attempts made by the victims to grab weapons from members of the security corps. In both instances, according to the authorities, the members of the public security forces had acted with moderation, using as little force as was necessary to carry out their mission to maintain order. The authorities stated that in Aguilares the security forces were searching for contraband and that in the Plaza Libertad public order was seriously threatened by the large number of people gathered there to protest the outcome of the elections.
20. The report of the National Guard, presented on January 18, 1978, to the Special Committee during its on-site observation, stated the following with regard to the events in Aguilares:
“In May on 1977 it was learned that a house located in the center of the city of Aguilares was being used to store arms and explosives and was a place of refuge for terrorist subversive elements. That information was verified on May 19, 1977, at 7:00 a.m., in an operation conducted by members of the armed forces and the security corps. As the Governmental Forces approached the house, a group of civilians ran to take refuge in that very house and opened fire against the troops, using weapons of various caliber. They killed a soldier by the name of JOSCE CARLOS GUARDADO. In repelling the aggression, the troops entered the house and found a large number of arms and explosives as well as abundant subversive propaganda of the clandestine organization that calls itself ‘FUERZAS POPULARES DE LIBERACION FARABUNDO MARTI.’
21. As for the allegations surrounding the deaths of the students on July 30, 1975, the authorities categorically denied that a massacre occurred. According to their account, a tumultuous student demonstration had been stopped by the security forces with the necessary force, but which was at any rate moderate, which explains the small number of victims.
22. The Government’s viewpoints on the denunciations received by the Commission were shared by the university officials and representatives of various business groups. The University authorities supported the Government’s denial that a student massacre had taken place. However, representatives of the opposition political parties, church officials and numerous individuals emphatically denied the account provided by the Government.
23. A number of people who claimed to have witnessed the alleged student massacre and the subsequent action of the authorities in gathering the bodies of the students that were on the ground, testified before the Special Committee. The descriptions provided by these individuals, some of them eyewitnesses, were in accord with the substantive denunciations received by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
24. While it is difficult for the Commission to establish how many people died, and what individuals or groups wee responsible in each case, the data and evidence in the hands of the Commission are sufficient for it to conclude that the conduct of the security corps and of the paramilitary organization known as ORDEN led to considerable loss of life.
American Convention on Human Rights
Right to Life
Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right
shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
In countries that have not abolished the death penalty, it may be
imposed only for the most serious crimes and pursuant to a final judgment
rendered by a competent court and in accordance with a law establishing such
punishment, enacted prior to the commission of the crime.
The application of such punishment shall not be extended to crimes to
which it does not presently apply.
The death penalty shall not be reestablished in states that have
In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for political
offenses or related common crimes.
Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time
the crimes was committed, were under 18 years of age or over 70 years of
age; nor shall it be applied to pregnant women.
Every person condemned to death shall have the right to apply for
amnesty, pardon, or commutation of sentence, which may be granted in all
cases. Capital punishment shall
not be imposed while such a petition is pending decision by the competent
its visit, the Special Committee received the following account of the
“On February 27, there were, according to some reports, from 40 to
60,000 individuals gathered in the Plaza Libertad.
That night a mass was said in the Plaza by a Salvadoran priest,
Father Alfonso Navarro, who was killed some weeks later by the Unión de
Guerreros Blancos (union of White Warriors).
Following the mass, most of the crowd dispersed.
At around 12:30 a.m. on February 28, the Plaza Libertad was
surrounded by troops and police with tanks, armored vehicles and jeeps, the
demonstrators, who at that point numbered around 6,000 were given ten
minutes to disperse. Many left.
The security forces then opened fire. Colonel
Claramount and some 1,500 to 2,000 individuals, including women and
children, took refuge in the Church of El Rosario, alongside the Plaza.
Gas grenades were then thrown inside the church and some of the
people left, although there are conflicting reports as to how many escaped.
Finally, at around 4:30 a.m. the parties agreed to a truce, following
the intervention of the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador; The red Crowd was
authorized to take the people from the church.
The Government gave Colonel Claramount an ultimatum: to be detained
by the military, be placed under house arrest or abandon the country.
Once he did so voluntarily, he was put on the Air Force plane and
taken to Costa Rica. His
running mate, Antonio Morales Ehrlich, and other leaders of the UNO sought
asylum in the Embassy of Costa Rica. Many
UNO candidates have gone into hiding, have been arrested or have ¢disappeared¢.
“When the sun came up, the demonstrators gathered again in the
center of San Salvador, which was then occupied by the army and police.
The demonstrators burned cars and attacked Government buildings and
the offices of the Government newspaper La Prensa Gráfica.
Many people, who returned to work in response to the Government
announcement over the radio that calm had been restored, were sounded when
troops opened fire against the demonstrators.
A demonstration in Santa Ana, the second largest city in the country,
was broken up in a similar manner. That
night the Government declared a state of siege suspended all constitutional
freedoms of expression and association and blamed agents of “communist
subversion” for the violence.
“At the end of the day there were massive arrests, hundreds of
wounded and a number of dead. There
are conflicting reports as to how many people died.
Officially, the Government acknowledge 60, while other sources
estimate that there were between 100 and 300 deaths.”
the Special Committee’s visit, the national guard of El Salvador submitted
a report which contains the following information on the events that
occurred in Santa Ana:
“On July 18, 1975, in the city of Santa Ana, information was
received to the effect that a group of agitators were preparing to conduct a
MOCK DEMONSTRATION within the city. The
initial meeting point was the University Center in Santa Ana.
With such information available, the organizers were asked to abandon
their plan, as their disorderly conduct might injure people and property and
would be illegal. Despite the
foregoing, on July 25, a large group of people headed by agitators
assembled, and announced their intention to go into the city to case damage
and create disorder as they had planned.
In view of the foregoing, Security Forces were place on the street in
the vicinity of the center and the march was thereby prevented from leaving.
At no time did the security forces enter the university Center.