ROMERO (1989)

Historical Context:  Print -- Video/Audio -- Online

Oscar Arnulfo Romero

[1]    Oscar Arnulfo Romero was installed as the archbishop of San Salvador on February 22, 1977, amid growing social and political tension in El Salvador.  During his tenure as archbishop, Romero evolved from an apolitical compromise choice for the church to an outspoken voice of the lower class.  Since his assassination on March 24, 1980, Romero has become a martyr for the masses of the lower class who seek to displace the reigning government and the oligarchical class system.

[2]    Born on August 15, 1917, in Ciudad Barrios, Romero grew up in poor living conditions without electricity or his own bed.  After three years of public schooling and about four more years of private tutoring, Romero was apprenticed to a town carpenter.  Soon after his apprenticeship began, Romero decided to forsake his training as a carpenter to attend the seminary in the city of San Miguel.  He continued his theological studies at the national seminary in San Salvador in 1937 and completed them at the Gregorian University in Rome.  Romero was ordained as a priest at the University in 1942 and stayed there to pursue a doctoral degree in ascetical theology.  Before he could finish the degree, Romero was called back to El Salvador where there was a lack of priests.  Upon his return he became very active, filling numerous roles as secretary of the diocese, pastor of the cathedral parish, and chaplain of the church of San Francisco.  After gaining increased power and respect in the Catholic community, Romero was given the title monsignor in 1967 and later became editor of the archdiocesan newspaper, Orientacion, in 1971.  Continuing his active leadership role in the church, Romero was then soon named a bishop in December of 1974.

[3]    Shortly after Romero’s ascension to archbishop, his friend, Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande was murdered on a road from Aguilares to El Paisnal along with an old man and a young boy.  These murders ignited Romero’s growing suspicion of the death squads that had been the rumored assassins for the government, and whom, some felt, were trained by the U.nited States.  Romero spoke out against the murders in public masses and in radio broadcasts over YSAX, which he would continue to do during his tenure as archbishop.  As he became more the voice against the government, he became more the church’s spokesman for liberation theology, a doctrine that justifies the church’s involvement in political conflicts that result in violations of human rights.  It was for this belief and message that Romero was assassinated by one of the very death squads he spoke out against.

[4]    Although a full investigation was never carried out, Romero’s murder is widely believed to have been on the orders of Roberto D’Aubuisson.  D’Aubuisson gained repute in El Salvador as being the voice of the government and founder of the National Republican Alliance (ARENA).  He appeared numerous times on Salvadoran television during which time he accused Romero, among others, as being a subversive agent against the government.

[5]    The political and social conflict that Romero dealt with had been brewing in El Salvador for the better part of a century. The struggle between the classes dates back to 1932 when the peasant uprising, called the matanza, was slaughtered by the military.  The uprisings are a result of the disproportion of wealth, with somewhere between fourteen and two hundred families controlling the land and economy of El Salvador.  These families are aligned with the government and the military, while the majority of the country lives in poverty.  While there have been democratic elections for the presidency of El Salvador, many believe that the ballots were tampered with in the elections of 1972 and 1977.  Romero sought to become the public voice for the lower class who had not previously had one.

[6]    Some people believed the security of the United States was in danger if Communists gained a foothold in Central America; others saw that belief destined to lead the country into another Vietnam.  Central America, and El Salvador in particular, were targets of substantial U. S. foreign policy attention and foreign policy dollars during the 1970s and 1980s.  Romero's assassination occurred just after the inauguration of President Reagan, a vigorous anti-Communist.

Print Resources

Arnson, Cynthia.  El Salvador: A Revolution Confronts The United States.  Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1982.

This book chronicles the roots of the political tension in El Salvador that prompted a previously uninvolved U.S. government to show interest in this small Central American country.  The prologue professes that “abstractions about situations such as those in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cuba and Zimbabwe–and the policies built around them–make little sense unless they are considered in a historical context” (4).  Questions are addressed about how the conflict began, why it escalated, and when the United States chose to be involved.  The author cites other historical references in order to draw parallels to the current situation and offer criticism of the U.S. involvement to date.  El Salvador’s political unrest is traced back to the late 1800s when the Salvadoran president issued laws taking land away from many farmers.  The history is then tracked through the reform period of the 1950s and then through the turbulent period of the 1970s, beginning with the fraud scandal of the 1972 presidential election.  El Salvador’s first junta regime is discussed as well as the government’s movement to the right with the military.  Within the context of the history of El Salvador, U.S. involvement is then discussed with a negative viewpoint as to the helpful effects for the country.  The book ends with an epilogue summarizing the events of the presidential election of 1982.

Bonner, Raymond.  Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador.  New York: The New York Times Book Co., 1984.

From a first-person point of view, the political situation in El Salvador is much worse than our government made it out to be.  There is a disturbing recurrence of violence by the military and retaliation by the guerillas.  Spending time down in El Salvador as a reporter makes it hard to side with the U.S. government or the Salvadoran government it supported.  The U.S. government put on one face for the American public and another in its actual dealings with El Salvador.  Bonner relates many stories from his personal experience as well as from classified documents that conflict with what our government publicly professed to be doing.  One of the most detailed books of its kind, Weakness and Deceit takes an overwhelmingly in-depth look at the duplicity of the U.S. government’s involvement in the deterioration of the Salvadoran society.  Especially helpful is the “Cast of Characters” section that gives quick, one or two sentence descriptions of key people in the book.  Also a good reference tool is the “Chronology” section that takes the history of conflict in El Salvador back to the 1932 matanza.

Brett, Edward T.  "The Impact of Religion in Central America: A Bibliographical Essay."  Americas 49.3 (1993): 297-342.

The traditionally conservative Catholic Church has become more progressive in Central America with the advent of liberation theology.  Having sided with the elite classes for many years, the Catholic Church now chooses to take the view of the poor and works to uplift those in need.  Change has occurred at a grassroots level with the organization of Christian Base Communities (CEBs), which organize the lower classes to change the social structure of their cultures.  Protestantism has reacted to the changing religious climate and gained new popularity in adopting an evangelical fundamentalist and Pentecostal point of view, scaring many of the more traditional Protestants to side with the Catholics.  All these religious changes have brought increased attention from scholars who can no longer ignore the link between the church and politics.  This essay contains an updated summary of scholarly materials on nineteenth and twentieth century issues concerning Central American religion.  Notable citations concerning El Salvador, liberation theology and Archbishop Oscar Romero include: Philip Berryman's The Religious Roots of Rebellion: Christians in Central American Revolutions, Tommie Sue Montgomery's Revolution in El Salvador and The Church in the Salvadoran Revolution, Jorge Caceres Prendes' Revolutionary Struggle and Church Commitment: The Case of El Salvador, Rodolfo Cardenal's Historia de una esperanza: vida de Rutilio Grande, William J. O'Malley's The Voice of Blood: Five Christian Martyrs of Our Time, James R. Brockman's Romero: A Life,  Jose Jorge Siman's The Impact of Monsignor Romero on the Churches of El Salvador and the United States, and Voice of the Voiceless: The Four Pastoral Letters and Other Statements.

Brockman, James R.  Romero: A Life.  Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1989.

This book is a complete and extensive biography of the life of Oscar Romero.  Most of the focus centers on the same window of time that the movie deals with: the years 1977 to 1980.  The viewpoint also mirrors that of the movie, dealing mostly with the events and struggles within the church that Romero struggled with.

Fish, Joe, and Sganga, Cristina.  El Salvador: Testament of Terror.  London: Zed Books, 1988.

The authors accompanied 500 Salvadorans in an attempt to walk the path of a failed peace march through Central America.  In their travels, the group never made it to a single one of their destinations due to interference from the army.  The struggles the group went through provide a cross-section of the population of El Salvador and evidence the difficulties that the people have been living through in the years of political unrest and revolution.  Interesting chapters include “Christian Democracy and Counterinsurgency,” “Elements of Conflict,” “Welfare as Warfare,” and “Orders to Kill.”  This book serves as a testimonial to the durability of the spirit of the Salvadoran people who have endured so much.  The authors sum up: “These testimonies, like so many others we had listened to, brought home to us the fundamental impression of our visit, which was of people liking through events and experiences that to us seemed intolerable, but to them were an unavoidable part of their lives, and of a process they were nevertheless determined to see through” (134).

Grenier, Yvon.  The Emergence of Insurgency in El Salvador.  Pittsburgh: U of  Pittsburgh P, 1999.

Frustrated with the traditional scholarly analyses of revolution based on structural conditions, Grenier has decided to look back at different variables that played a part in the civil war of El Salvador.  Particularly, ideologies of academic and religious groups, he postulates, played an active role in the conflict in El Salvador out of a self-interest to attain some form of power.  In this controversial book, Grenier attempts to show that “some of the basic premises embraced by most of my colleagues are mistaken” (6).  Of particular interest to a study of Archbishop Oscar Romero is Chapter 5, “The Catholic Church, Social Change and Insurrection.”  Grenier tracks the history of the Catholic Church’s involvement in politics in El Salvador over past decades and taking note of some connection with Marxist leftists.  Groups discussed include the Christian base communities (CEBs), the Christian Federation of Salvadoran peasants (FECCAS), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), and the Social Christian Popular Movement (MPSC).

LaFeber, Walter.  Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America.  New York: W.W. Norton, 1984.

“No area in the world is more tightly integrated into the United States political-economic system, and none . . . more vital for North American security, than Central America.”  The countries Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica have long been important to the U.S. for many reasons, yet many Americans have little understanding about the political climate in these countries and the U.S. government’s role in the violence so prevalent in all of them.  Central America has been in turmoil for years because of its economic and military dependence on the United States, coupled with a fear of Communism and a willingness to sacrifice human rights for political agendas.  The U.S. must shoulder a great deal of the responsibility for the unrest because of its deep involvement in the events that have progressed with or without the knowledge of the American public.  The book goes into deep historical detail, chronicling many events of the past 150 years.

Lara-Braud, Jorge.  “Monsenor Romero: Model Pastor for the Hispanic Diaspora.”  Apuntes Fall 1981: 15-21.

Archbishop Oscar Romero has been one of the most visible figures in the Catholic church since his martyrdom.  Romero was an asset to the faith by embodying the type of involvement with the people that the church envisioned in the Latin American Bishops’ Conferences in Medellin and Puebla.  To follow Romero’s example is to struggle, as Jesus did, against the status quo and stir up social unrest in the name of morality.  Romero’s assassination serves as an indicator of the state of the struggle against the oppression of the people in Latin America by the governments against which the church has fought.

Leslie, Wirpsa.  "No-nonsense Regime of Salvador's Saenz: Cardinal Puts Brakes on Option for the Poor in Post-Romero Church." National Catholic Reporter, 11 April 1997, 9-13.

The appointment of Fernando Saenz Lacalle in 1995 to Archbishop of San Salvador has drawn criticism due to his opposition to the doctrine of liberation theology endorsed by Salvadoran martyr, Archbishop Oscar Romero.  Since his inception he has taken measures to eliminate support of liberation theology within the church and has been accused of trying to weaken the force of Romero's legacy ,despite his public support for Romero's canonization.  Bishop Rosa Chavez, who has been called the embodiment of Romero's "voice of the voiceless," warned that the dismissal of dissenting opinions creates a tendency for the church to turn inside itself to the exclusion of dealing with the problems of the world that Romero chose to address.  Despite having leaders murdered and world powers against them, Rosa notes that the spirit of the church has sustained over the years, and he is determined to stay unified by refusing to create any conflict with Saenz.  Rosa's outspoken opinions on the social, economic, and violence issues, however, have landed his name on the hit list of a death squad named after Roberto D'Aubuisson.  Citing his lessons from Romero and successor, Rivera, Rosa spoke of his unrelenting energy to work globally against the neoliberal free-market government directives that have been as impoverishing to the people as civil war.  Many parishioners do not share Rosa's stamina and have voiced their feeling of abandonment by the Saenz church.  While there may no longer be one big voice, many small voices continue to keep the ideals of Romero alive in grassroots organizations such as Equipo Maiz, which runs educational workshops and organizes celebrations of martyrs.

Morley, Jefferson.  "Guilt in El Salvador: Demonizing D'Aubuisson."  The Nation 8 May 1989, 624-27.

Reputation has transformed Oscar Romero into a saint and Roberto D'Aubuisson into a murderer.  Both Salvador and the upcoming Romero perpetuate these reputations, yet Romero most likely would have placed more of the blame for the evil represented by D'Aubuisson on the influence of U.S. "national security" ideas that perpetuated the interclass conflict in El Salvador.  Romero was wary of this doctrine that placed individuals "at the total service of the state" and perpetuated injustices committed by the state against its own citizens.  D'Aubuisson and Salvadoran Vice Minster of Defense, Nicolas Carranza, represented the right-wing government and created an underground network of national security that was not supported by the U.S. and which included death squads such as the one that is believed to have killed Romero.  Romero took a decidedly anti-U.S. position from the left in support of the people's struggle and in publicly challenging President Carter's $50 million aid package to the Salvadoran government.  It appears that the C.I.A. viewed Romero as more of a threat to U.S. interests than D'Aubuisson -- a theory evidenced by the appearance of Romero's name in a C.I.A. report dated one month before his murder.  Investigations of Romero's death were lackadaisical and slow, and some obvious leads, such as a man who professed to have the murder weapon, were never followed up on.  In a suspicious ruling by the Salvadoran Supreme Court, the extradition of a suspect was struck down, and the focus continued to be placed on D'Aubuisson despite much conflicting evidence.  It seems as if D'Aubuisson has become the scapegoat for a more involved conspiracy in which the U.S. government may have played a role.  In Washington the conditions in El Salvador have been viewed as a bipartisan success -- a misguided opinion and one that will not help improve conditions in El Salvador.

Mulligan, Joseph.E.  “Martyrdom in El Salvador.” Apuntes Spring 1982: 15-21.

In response to the increased violence against the organizers of the church, in 1978 the Jesuits of El Salvador published a book about the life of the then recently assassinated Father Rutilio Grande.  The book tells the story of Father Grande’s life within the context of the movement against the government that he was a part of.  Rutilio’s struggle included condoning the constitution as a “dead letter” and fighting for the land rights of the masses.  He encouraged the people of El Salvador to stand up and fight against the status quo, which allowed a very small segment of the population to control the vast majority of the power and resources.  In memory of Father Grande, American Christians should take on the responsibility of ending U.S. involvement in the oppression in Latin America.

Romero, Oscar, and Brockman, James (ed).  The Violence of Love.  San  Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988.

James Brockman compiled and translated a book full of quotes from Oscar Romero’s homilies from 1977 until his death in 1980.  The foreward by Henri Nouwen places Romero in the context of much praise and admiration as a man of the church.  The book provides a good opportunity to learn more about Romero through the man’s own words.  Many of the quotes deal as much in a political context as they do in a religious context making it a good resource for any study of the man.

Schmidt, Steffen W.  El Salvador: America’s Next Vietnam?  Salisbury: Documentary Publications, 1983.

The crisis in El Salvador requires that we observe on three different levels: compassion for the thousands of victims of war atrocities, understanding of the domestic politics, and context within the climate of global politics.  El Salvador provides a microcosm of the entire political climate of Central America and even the evolution of human history all over the globe dating back to the earliest of revolutions.  The awful brutality of the civil war can be understood and explained when placed into the context of other such justifications for violent revolutions and regimes throughout history such as explained by Freud, Hobbes, and Hitler among others.  The United States must decide what position to take in this conflict and choose how much to risk in taking action while trying to avoid another Vietnam-like disaster.  Americans are generally poorly informed, and those who are informed react to questions about El Salvador in a very tentative way, which has affected both sides of the struggle in lowering expectations of U.S. involvement with the right-wing junta.  Washington’s decisions today will have unknown effects in the future, but we are virtually guaranteed of playing a role in the history that has yet to unfold in El Salvador.  The book offers an extensive history of El Salvador and ends with a summation and criticism of current U.S. policy that pessimistically predicts another Vietnam.

Shenk, Janet, and Robert Armstrong.  El Salvador: The Face of Revolution.  Boston:  South End Press,1982.

The struggle in El Salvador has been going on long before it was making headlines in the United States.  It is important for Americans to learn the history of El Salvador because the U.S. is soon to be drawn into the conflict.  The book details the history of El Salvador in many areas, hitting on many issues involving political conflict and social unrest.  Poignant examples of the detail include issues touched upon in Romero, such as “The Hour of Resurrection” radio broadcasts of Archbishop Romero and the “Be a Patriot–Kill a Priest” slogan of the anti-left terrorists.  Special care is taken to address the U.S.’s role in El Salvador’s and all of Central America’s history with the point of view that “we must stop the war in El Salvador, the plans to sabotage the victories of the Nicaraguan revolution, the attempts to quietly support a genocidal government in Guatamala” (231).

Smith, Christian.  The Emergence of Liberation Theology.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991.

This book is a great resource through which to learn more about the liberation theology movement.  Part one details the history of the theology of liberation to provide a base for the movement’s ideas, which are also laid out in a basic explanation with support from theoretical models.  Part two studies and interprets major events in the liberation theology movement including the Latin American Episcopal Conference, the Second Vatican Council and the conference in Medellin, Colombia.  The conclusion recaps the struggles of the movement, sighting “expansion in political opportunity." “an increase in organizational strength,” and “the formation of a driving insurgent consciousness” (236-37) as the necessaries behind its growth.

See also:

Brockman, James R.  “Archbishop Romero, the United States and El Salvador.”  America 162.11 (March 24, 1990): 287.

Video/Audio Resources

Crossing the Line.  New York: Maryknoll World Productions, 1999.

Documentary video of nonviolent protest against the United States Army School of the Americas, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. On November 22. 1998, over 7.000 people gathered at the gates of Fort Benning to demand that the United States end its policy of training foreign soldiers.

Esta Esperanza: Hope for El Salvador.  Filmakers Library.  NY: Filmakers Library.

Father Roy: Inside the School of Assassins.  New York: Richter Productions, 1997.

Describes the military assistance and training that the United States provides to Latin American countries at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a human rights advocate who would like to see the school closed, on the basis of torture training at the facility.

Last Interview with Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador.  Pacifica Radio Archive, Hollywood, CA.  1980.

Romero discusses the issues in El Salvador in the week before his assassination.  He criticizes the Carter administration’s involvement, the military’s human rights violations, the Christian Democratic Party, and the Catholic Church of El Salvador.  Romero claims that Carter’s so called aid to El Salvador is actually intervention on the side of the government because it reinforces the program of the current government, the junta.  The agrarian reform that has begun is a necessary action, but Romero feels that its implementation has created an opportunity for the military to increase repression on non-reformed land.  This forces many Salvadorans to sleep in the hills to avoid being murdered.  Romero establishes that the church must support a concrete project at the service of the popular organizations that operate peacefully.  The Christian Democratic Party has lost ground with the people because, despite their good intentions, they are seen as partly responsible for the repression.  Romero pledges to come to the U.S. in some major cities in which many Salvadorans live to tell them the situation in El Salvador and let them know that they cannot continue to take refuge in the U.S. to avoid their own country’s problems.

Roses in December.  New York: First-Run Features, 1982.

Examines the life of Jean Donovan, who left a secure life and high-paying job to become a lay missionary in El Salvador amid the growing violence and unrest there -- and was murdered.

School of the Americas, School of Assassins.  New York: Richter Productions; Princeton: Films for the Humanities, 1994.

School of Assassins, a Robert Richter documentary, is the Academy Award nominated 17-minute short film on which Richter’s Crossing the Line and Father Roy: Inside the School of Assassins are based (see above).  All three focus on non-violent protests and the grassroots movement aimed at closing the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA, and feature footage of the atrocities and human rights violations committed by SOA graduates in El Salvador as well as other parts of Central and Latin America.  The SOA continues under a new name put into effect on January 17, 2001: the “Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation" (WHISC), but appears no less oppressive.  The film shows how the school has been responsible for training several dictators, including Manuel Noriega, the president of Panama from 1983-1989, during whose tenure thousands of “subversives” were slaughtered.  Noriega, is among the many recognized dictators and military leaders (the list includes Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia) all of whom were trained at the SOA and featured in their “Hall of Fame”—and all of whom have come under sharp critique for human rights violations.

Richter has also released another short film, Guns and Greed (October 2000, 22 minutes), which attempts to make a connection between “sweatshops, World Bank and IMF policies” with the former U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA).  The video is basically an extension of the previously mentioned videos in that it shows footage of the American protest to shut down the SOA, as well as commentary about American and Latin American economic connections.  (MAC)
 
 

Online Resources

Archbishop Oscar Romero, Central America
http://www.claret.org/~salt/romero/rindex.html

 “Welcome to Salt of the Earth's remembrance of Archbishop Oscar Romero.”  This web site is a Christian memorial to Romero with suggestions for continuing the type of prayers that Romero offered.  It contains outlines for Homilies and services on topics concerning Romero and supports the theology Romero preached.  The site suggests using the materials it contains to run church events in which Romero’s ideas wish to be discussed.

Archbishop Oscar Romero -- Resources for Catholic Educators
http://www.silk.net/RelEd/romero.htm

This page provides a number of resources from different places concerning Romero.  Included are links to other Romero pages as well as a list of books and videos about Romero.  The page comes from a Catholic point of view and deals mostly with the man and his preaching.

The Central American Refugee Center
http://www.icomm.ca/carecen/index.html

“The Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN-N.Y.) is a non-profit immigration and human rights organization serving the refugee community on Long Island and throughout southern New York State.”  This site is the homepage for Latin Americans in New York that is used to inform and organize members.  One link contains a summary of Oscar Romero’s life and a report on his murder.  Also included is a link on human rights in Central America and the death squads of El Salvador.

Christian Liberation Theology
http://www.stthomas.edu/www/juspce_http/libthe16.htm

“Annotated resources for Christian Liberation Theology based on work of previous students.”  This page is a collection of resources that have been compiled by students at the University of St. Thomas.  A collection of resources similar to our course has been compiled, with an emphasis on Liberation Theology.  Lists include Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Electronic resources, and more.  This is a great resource to begin a study of Liberation Theology, as these folks have already done much of the legwork in finding resources.

History of El Salvador
http://www.countryreports.org/history/elhist.htm

Through the Library of Congress, the Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the history and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world and “examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors.”  This site provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of El Salvador from the Spanish conquest and colonization up till the turbulence of the late 70’s and early 80’s.   Because of the affiliation with the Library of Congress, the website is sympathetic to U.S. involvement in the region but is nevertheless a worthwhile starting point for any student or teacher who will be looking at Romero or Oliver Stone's Salvador (see Comparison Films).   (MAC)

Latin American Network Information Center -- LANIC
http://lanic.utexas.edu/

This site is an academic search engine that is a great place to begin any study of a Latin American issue.  There are simple and advanced search options as well as options to look directly into media, government, education, and economy, among others.  Links to other Texas University sites that deal with Latin America including one that links to the homepage of the Institute of Latin American Studies.  Current news updates are provided as well as an archive of historical data.

Latin American Video Archives
http://www.lavavideo.org/lava/

“The Place to Locate and Purchase Latin American & U.S. Latino Made Film and Video.”
As the title suggests, this site has a database of many videos that deal with Latin America.  There are links to other similar sites on the web, and you can also purchase the videos from this site.  There is also a forum to record feedback on the films that this site recommends and a discussion board where you can read other peoples’ reviews.

Latin America Working Group
http://www.lawg.org/

The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) is a coalition of over sixty religious, human rights, policy, grassroots, and development organizations.  Since 1983, the coalition has been striving for U.S. policies that promote peace, justice, and sustainable development in the region.  This site focuses on human rights reporting and discussion in many areas of the world.  Among the countries listed is El Salvador with a report on some of the more serious and widely known human rights violations carried out by the government.  The site provides an opportunity to take part in the movement to take action in helping the people of these countries.

Liberation Theology and Land Reform
http://www.landreform.org/

“This course is the latest offering in the Henry George Institute's long tradition of correspondence courses on important social and economic issues, offered tuition-free as a public service.”  This page deals specifically with the issue of the struggle for land in Latin America and the church’s role in this struggle, a topic central to a study of Romero.  Links are provided under Readings that offer discussions from other books on the issue.  The Lessons link offers a test for reading comprehension but requires an entry of name and email address.  The Links section has over 20 links to related pages.  This page is a web course that is free and anyone can sign up for that is interested in learning more about Liberation Theology and Land Reform.

SOA Watch
http://www.soaw.org/

“The US Army School of Americas, based in Fort Benning, Georgia, trains Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency, and counter-narcotics.”  This site is dedicated to reporting on the School of the Americas, a U.S. government-run institution that trains military personnel from both the U.S. and Central America in army tactics.  SOA Watch deals with any events that surround the School of the Americas that may involve human rights violations.  Recently, the yearly protest was performed on the grounds of the facility and 65 protestors were arrested.  Also provided are links to similar sites and archives concerning the effort to close down this facility.  Among the links provided are: Bring Pinochet to Justice Campaign, Non-Violence Web Page, Link to Latin America Working Group, and Official US Army School of the Americas Web Page.

US Army School of the Americas
http://www.benning.army.mil/usarsa/main.htm

“Much-Maligned School Teaches Human Rights: To call the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas a ‘school of the assassins’ is anachronistic.”  The official site of the School of the Americas contains a number of press releases that attempt to debunk the claims against it that implicate human rights violations.  The School of the Americas is an army institution that teaches “doctrinally sound, relevant military education and training to the nations of Latin America, while promoting democratic values and respect for human rights, and fostering cooperation among the multinational military forces.”  Among the many segments of the page is a listing of the number of graduates from each Central and South American country, the highest number belonging to the relatively small El Salvador.  Among the hyperlinks are Human Rights, History, Congressional Briefing, News Releases, and Budget.
 
 

Copyright (c) 1999 by Nathan Henry Laver, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.  Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.