In December 1981 soldiers of the Salvadoran Army’s select, American-trained Atlacatl Battalion entered the village of El Mozote, where they murdered hundreds of men, women, and children, often by decapitation. Although reports of the massacre — and photographs of its victims — appeared in the United States, the Reagan administration quickly dismissed them as propaganda. In the end, El Mozote was forgotten. The war in El Salvador continued, with American funding. When Mark Danner’s reconstruction of these events first appeared in The New Yorker, it sent shock waves through the news media and the American foreign-policy establishment.
Now Danner has expanded his report into a brilliant book, adding new material as well as the actual sources. He has produced a masterpiece of scrupulous investigative journalism that is also a testament to the forgotten victims of a neglected theater of the cold war The massacre at El Mozote is a book about all the horrible series of events that occurred at El Mozote. When one looks at the massacre, it is obvious the United States aided in these events. The United States government chose turn its eye and pretended as if nothing happened. This book introduces one to the events in El Salvador in 1981.
The author gives a reconstruction of the events and shows it importance. The massacre is not to be forgotten. Mark Danner uses many specific examples to link the United States with the massacre. The United States supported a friendly regime at this time during the cold war. Danner mentions large shipments of munitions from the United States arriving at Ilopango Airport. He tells us the United States helped to reform the army so that they would not lose to the rebel cause. One can see the United States help in aiding the military figures. General Fred F.
Woerner had been sent from the pentagon to assess the Salvadorian war. One thing he mentions repeatedly is the reluctance of United States aid money. He mentions the elite trained Aclactl Battalion, and that their American trainers had perhaps instilled their aggressiveness. He mentions that the Americans loved Monterrosa and that the Americans were desperate to finish the war. As an example Danner says, “The Americans had stepped forward to fund the war, but were unwilling to fight it” He mentions the aid of a CIA officer who claims that the largest fighting was taking place at El
Mozote. This leads us to America actually acknowledging that something might have been happening at El Mozote. Reagan signed a bill called the foreign assistance act of 1961 that was to certify that the government was taking adequate steps to recognize the human rights of the people of their country before aiding them. The U. S State Department urged diplomats to undertake “a grit your teeth” approach to The Massacre at El Mozote? Mark Danner’s book, “The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War” tells the story of a massacre of men, women, and children in El Salvador.
The massacre at El Mozote was not discovered until years after it occurred, and the government attempted to play it down until the truth came out. The author is attempting to show that the political cover-up that occurred after what happened at El Mozote became known is a “parable” or tale of the Cold War, because it indicates the power of large governments to cover up information they did not want the people to know or understand, while “undermining” Communism around the world. The massacre is also a parable of power, and how power can corrupt and kill.
That the troops were trained by Americans is another element of the parable, and it shows how corrupt even the “best” intentions can be. The author shows that the situation was tragic and could have been avoided, but it was also ignored and played down, something that seems especially repugnant since so many of the victims were innocent women and children, who posed little real threat to the troops By Danner’s account, the next morning the soldiers must have reassembled all of the village’s inhabitants and then proceeded to separate men, women and children.
Once seperated, the groups were locked into the church, the convent, and some of the houses. Fomr this point forward, the soldiers interrogated, tortured, and began executing the villages men. By noon the the soldiers took the women from the children and commnecnced shooting them with machine-guns. Unbelievably, they then killed the children? “There was one in particular the soldiers talked about… a girl on La Cruz whom they had raped many times during the course of the afternoon, and through it all, while the other women of El Mozote had screamed and cried as if they had never had a man, this girl had sung hymns, strange evangelical songs, nd she had kept right on singing, too, even after they had done what had to be done, and shot her in the chest. She had lain there on La Cruz with the blood flowing from her chest, and had kept on singing — a bit weaker than before, but still singing. And the soldiers, stupefied, had watched and pointed. Then they had grown tired The Massacre at El Mozote as told by Mark Danner takes place El Salvador. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. It shares borders with Guatemala and Honduras.
El Salvador is divided into 14 departments and El Mozote is a village in one of the Departments called Morazan. According to the author, the Salvadoran Civil War 1979-1992 was a conflict waged by the Military led Government of El Salvador and coalition of left-leaning militias or guerillas called the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). The FMLN was supported by peasants and indigenous Indian people. The United States supported the El Salvador Military government. The tensions between the classes, the halves and the halve-nots are therefore represented by the two warring factions.
The harrowing events in Mark Danner’s Massacre at El Mozote investigates and questions three central issues; the Massacre, the role of American Policies in the region during the Cold War and the executive cover-up of the events as Propaganda. One of the concerns is what responsibility (if any) did the U. S. government have for the massacre at El Mozote? El Mozote was “uniquely” different from most villages because it had resisted the Liberation Theology taught by left-leaning Catholic Priests and according to the author was “as as stronghold of the Protestant evangelical movement” (pg 19) .
The villagers of El Mozote had their own chapel and referred themselves as born-again Christians and as Danner states were known for “their anti-communism” (pg 19). The villagers of El Mozote did not support the guerillas. According to Danner the Massacre at El Mozote takes place when American trained Salvadoran Armed forces called the Atlacatl Batallion arrived at the village and began systematically killing men, women and children by various means such as torturing, hangings, decapitation, and shooting. The U. S government was responsible for the massacre at El Mozote for a plethora of reasons. First, The Reagan
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