EDITOR'S NOTE: Last month, after Loren Jenkins had left El Salvador, government troops came again to La Bermuda. This time, special correspondent Alma Guillermoprieto reported, the troops swept up all the 600 peasant refugees who still remained at the camp and took them six miles away to the government prison at Suchitoto, where they were crowded into cells under military guard.
Col. Adolfo Cotto, a military spokesman, said, "I know both places, the camp and the prison, and they are better off in the prison."
The commander of the Guardia Nacional in Suchitoto, who supervised the transfer, asserted, "There are people in that camp who have been very closely connected to the guerrillas, and the Suchitoto community is afraid they might try something funny."
La Bermuda itself was burned to the ground.
La Bermuda is not a place mentioned in the public pronouncements, official communiques and white papers offered up to a puzzled world to explain the savage conflict tearing apart the minuscule Central American nation of El Salvador. The omission is understandable; La Bermuda does not easily reinforce the official wisdom about the nationhs crisis. Though it sits a mere 17 miles northeast of San salvador, the capital, it is never visited by those who speak so volubly about the issue being only a question of a demonic communist subversion, armed and guided by Havana. And when authorities from the capital do send emissaries, they come in jeeps and trucks bristling with guns and waste no time chatting about the state of the hearts and minds of those they profess to defend.
It is in La Bermuda and in hundreds of similarly sad communities across the breadth of this weeping and wild land that the grim daily realities of life and death challenge the pat political analyses of those who make policy and war. Whatever thin venner of civilization once existed there has been stripped bare, exposing darker, more complex and primitive forces at play than those that so hypnotize the political theorists of our times.
the tragedy that is El Salvador today is an ancient human drama that has been trying to play itself out since 1525 when the first conquistadores moved south from Mexico to claim for the Spanish crown the land and the Nahua tribes that inhabited it. the imperial feudalism that was imposed then with the warrior's sword and the priest's cross set the tone for a Salvadoran society that has changed little over the past four centuries. Neither national independence in the 19th century, the age of industrialism, successive political coups d'etat, local wars with neighboring nations, or peasant up-rising against the landed oligarchs, has done much to alter the legacy of violence and exploitation handed down by the Spanish conquistadores.
To visit LA Bermuda now is to understand how little really has changed in the lives of the rural campesinos, or peasants, who make up the vast majority of the nation's population. Life in the countryside remains, in the words of the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, "poor, nasty, brutish and short."
In another era not that long past, La Bermuda was one of those bucolic rural oases that could have been a setting for a story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian writer. Carved out of a rough tropical countryside at the foot of a massive, now-dormant, volcano named Guazapa, La Bermuda was one of El Salvador's oldest haciendas, or estates. Built in the 19th century, its white plastered adobe outbuildings and the stately wide sweep of the main house's thick-beamed veranda still speak of a time when the land-owning gentry gathered in the cooling shade of sundown to sip iced rums while watching the campesinos troop home from the fields with the last rays of daylight flailing their backs.
That was before this tiny, overpopulated nation of 4.7 million souls went to war with itself in the wake of the captains' coup of 1979 that not only antagonized the rich oligarchs with its promises of reforms but also alienated the hopeful because of the few changes they brought. The new age of democracy, justice and social equality promised by the coup-makers has not materialized. And now in the second year since the dictator, Gen. Carlos Humberto Romero, was ousted and relegated to the dustbin of history, La Bermuda has become just another grim testimonial to the revival of an ancient barbarism that is being variously called a civil war, a subversion from abroad, or simply "la violencia," the violence.
The idyll that -- for landed gentry, at least -- was once La Bermuda, has been transmogrified into a Goyaesque ghetto stalked by pestilence, war, famine and death. The hacienda owner and his family have long since fled to well-protected villas in the capital or lavish suburban homes in Miami, where their class has established its capital-in-exile to dream and plot their return. In their stead have come some 5,000 terrified campesinos fleeing the now-scorched neighboring countryside which, in the ways of modern anti-guerrilla warfare, has become just another free-fire zone where anything that moves by day or night is fair game for the armed bands of soldiers and guerrillas who hunt each other.
After days in teh surprisingly still-bustling San Salvador, La Bermuda is a shock to the senses. The once-elegant hacienda is now but a muddy slum of pathetic bamboo and thatch hooches, hellishly smoking communal cook fires, banners of tattered laundry on the dry, and aswarm with gaunt and skittish beings wandering aimlessly through a squalor that is almost medieval.
What haunts most is the women. They stare out with frightened eyes from behind an undulating sea of sick and undernourished children and when they determine that the stranger is not one of those who comes to harm, they begin to move forward, hesitantly at first, then in a determined surge. They group around urgently and in voices as soft as rustling palms they beg for help in discovering what has happened to their missing loved ones.
"Please help me," says the first to speak up to the stranger, her voice unwavering with the stoicism of one familiar with the ubiquity of tragedy. "They came and took away my husband last week. He is 52 and is called Antonio Morales and he is all I have left in the world. Please ask someone if he is alive or dead.He did nothing."
One by one the women -- old, young, middle-aged -- take their turns at reciting the names of their missing, sometimes two or three or even four, their ages, and dates of disappearance from La Bermuda. The recitation takes on the monotony of a litany, a rote incantation of pain and fear of those dying in spirit, if not yet in body.
There are tales of murders, too, men dragged off in front of their eyes and killed and women raped, then shot. But it is the disappearances that oddly are more unsettling. None vanished on their own accord; they were all taken by armed and uniformed men who ride into the camp in olive-drab vehicles with the regularity of a harvest moon. At gunpoint the refugees are lined up, then the unfortunate are brusquely yanked out of line, seemingly at random with no explanation ever given, finally to be marched off down the road never to be seen again.
The sweep that carried Antonio Morales away numbered eight in all; the oldest was 59, the youngest, a boy of 14, and with them went a mentally retarded 16-year-old. Another 28 were seized the next month, bringing the total since January to more than 75. The story of the "disappeared" of La Bermuda is one a traveler across El Salvador today stumbles across everywhere, every day. Only the names, dates, ages and locales vary.
According to the conservative count of the U.S. Embassy, which cables a daily "Grim-gram" to Washington to update its figures, the number of the dead and missing since the captains' coup is more than 10,000. The Catholic Church, with contacts throughout the country at once broader and more reliable, places the number now at 18,000 -- 8,316 in the first six months of this year alone. For the purpose of comparison, in the United States the same percentage of the total population would be half a million dead or vanished.
The only real difference between the dead and the disappeared lies in the degree of torture such classifications inflict on the living. The dead have bodies that can be recovered, cleaned, prayed over. The disappeared are but disembodied names existing as little more than futile hopes in the tormented memories of those from whom they were taken.
The overwhelming number of those killed are not casualties of war, in the classic sense, but victims of political murder: cold, simple, final. In the capital not a day goes by without someone being ambushed at a traffic light, ice cream stand, restaurant or shopping center or gunned down by a passing car at the doorsteps of his own home. But it is at night, after the government begins to enforce its no-nonsense 10 p.m.-to-dawn curfew, that the real slaughter begins. Sometimes the shooting by the death squads, the "escuadrones de la muerte," is so close in the back streets behind the luxury hotels where the few visiting foreigners stay that it sends guests fleeing from the cold comforts of the bar. More often it is further away in the suburbs, discernible as a hollow popping that reminds of firecrackers.
By the first light of day the pulse of the violence is measured, as people go out to pick up their dead. There are days when only a handful of corpses are found scattered in city streets or abandoned on rural roads. Other days there are as many as a dozen bodies in one neighborhood alone, the corpses grotesquely draped across the street with drying rivulets of blood trailing toward the sidewalks.
Whole families have been round slaughtered in pajamas still in their homes, the doors they refused to open battered down. So callous has the killing become that in the eastern city of San Miguel recently residents woke to find that 11 of the city's habitual drunks had all been shot in the head and dumped in a park with two dozen slain stray dogs under a hand-lettered sign that said: "Limpieza de San Miguel" -- cleansing of San Miguel.
The standard form of execution is a bullet to the temple or a blast in the chest from semi-automatic G-3 rifles that are the favorite weapon of both the guerrillas and the government forces.But not a day goes by without evidence of more gruesome and sadistic modes of dispatch. Bodies turn up regularly with their heads or limbs severed by machete, the traditional weapon of the land that still is carried by troops in full battle dress. Other cadavers have been found charred by a torturer's blowtorch or with their skin peeled off their faces or with steel spikes driven through their ears. "How can we talk of civilization here," asks a shaken Catholic priest who like most people is afraid to have his name used lest he too become a target. "These are barbaric times we are living."
For an outsider, even one conditioned over a decade to the standard savageries of Asian wars and African rebellions, El Salvador is a nightmare beyond comprehension.
There are no battle lines, no safe sanctuaries, no neutral corners.No one is safe and everyone knows it. Anybody and everybody is a potential victim. One need not even have taken a political stance for or against the ruling junta that the captains have installed to be marked for execution. A malicious rumors from a personal enemy or a suspicion based on nothing more than an individual's family background, education or profession will do.
the lucky are only those with the money, mainly the very rich of the old oligarchy of famous families, who have moved their bank accounts and bodies abroad, either to Miami or Guatemala City. Those who can not afford such luxury have been reduced to turning their comfortable homes into fortresses protected by steel doors and high concrete fences, and patrolled by armed guards. If they can, they drive about in armored Cherokee vans (a status symbol in Salvador to rival Mercedes-Benz), wear bulletproof vests and pack handguns tucked into their waistbands. The rest, the majority of the population, just go on about their lives as best they can, caught up in the numbing fatalism of those who have always been aware that they have no control over their destiny.
The daily newspapers, cautious, conservative and self-censored, try to kee up with the fallen the best they can, giving over their pages to the identification portrait photographs of the victims over brief captions giving their names, means of death and place felled.
The list of victims runs the gamut of society from peasants to socialites, taxi drivers to businessmen. But reading through the names carefully over a period of time, it becomes apparent that it is a special strata of the society that is clearly getting the worst of it: the doers, leaders, managers, educated. It is as if a decision had been made to eliminate the very people on whom the country's future depends.
In the countryside the main victims are those who emerged as community leaders under church-inspired comunidades de base (grassroots communities), activists in the peasants' union or those who have tried to administer new cooperatives created by the first stage of the government's land reform. In the towns it is the school teachers, nurses, church catechists, neighborhood leaders and secondary students who are killed most. In the city it is those feared to be the most likely to have political views: politicians (those that have not fled or gone underground), university professors, lawyers, labor organizers, students, professionals, administrators and managers.
In the country at large the target is the Catholic Church, a pillar of the established order before it turned to a liberation theology that has allied it with the poor. Twelve priests have been gunned down, including Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero nno relation to the ousted dictator), who was assassinated last year while saying mass in the capital. A tearful woman in the western city of Santa Ana put it like this recently, as she described how her 23-year-old engineering student son was shot to death in her arms while she pleaded with the assassins who had invaded her home: "They just don't want this country to have any talent. To think today is to be dangerous."
There are probably as many different groups involved in the bloodletting as there are methods of killing. There are the death squads funded by the rich and reactionary discomfited by the 1979 coup that go by such names as the "white warriors union" and the "anti-communist armed forces of liberation." There are such murderous vestiges of the ancient dictatorships as ORDEN, an ununiformed rural militia set up to terrorize peasants into obeisance at the whims of the landowners and the military that supported them. There are also groups of dissident soldiers and police, extreme leftist urban guerrillas, anarchists, four left-wing guerrilla groups in the hills and the armed forces themselves with the three ill-disciplined security forces under their command.
Despite this multiplicity of agents of death, the consensus, supported even by U.S. diplomats backing the ruling junta, is that most of the killings are the work of rightists, either those believing in the pre-coup order or those backing, or even belonging to, the present military-dominated regime. One diplomat estimates the breakdown at 40 to 60 percent in favor of the right; another puts the rightist killings higher still but no one is in any position to prove the case.
U.S. officials embarrassed by these conclusions try to rationalize them by predicting, as is their habit in such cases, a "bloodbath" should the left, backed by the guerrillas of even more extreme views, ever come to power. With no hard evidence to justify such a conclusion, they predict the left would kill 100,000 people if they ever won. In almost the same breath, however, these same diplomats admit that Roberto d'Aubuisson, a former Army major who is the darling of the reactionary right, has openly talked of the need to kill 200,000 to 300,000 people to restore peace to El Salvador.
salvadorans seem to accept the violence around them as if it is part of their destiny. "We are a country at war and in a war people take the opportunity to kill people," Ernesto Rivas Gallont, El Salvador's new ambassador to Washington, told a visitor recently.
To make any sense of El Salvador's current tragedy, one is forced to probe its past. And nothing in its long black history explains events today better than the aborted revolt in 1932, the last serious uprising against the nation's rulers. That event, labeled by history books as "La Matanza," the butchery, was the death of 10,000 to 40,000 Salvadorans.
The stage was set in 1931 when the then-minister of war, Gen. Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez, overthrew the nine-month-old government of President Arturo Arrujo, to this day the only person to have ascended to the presidency of El Salvador by a free and democratic election.
Arrujo, the engineer son of a wealthy landlord, was a liberal whose vague notions about bettering social conditions in the country were quickly taken as dangerous heresies by the coffee as sugar plantation oligarchs, and the military who diligently served their interests.
The revolt against Hernandez's coup was the brainchild of Agustin Farabundo Marti, a mestizo of peasant ancestry who was one of El Salvador's first genuine communists. (He discovered Marx while attending, but failing to graduate from, the National University in 1914.) Though Marti's 1932 revolt has often been termed Latin America's first communist uprising, few other communists other than Marti were involved. There were few around. Most of the rebels were angry campesinos or young radicals who were incensed that their hopes of changing El Salvador's plantation feudalism once again had been stifled by the landowners and the military.
The revolt was a disaster. Marti and his two closest collaborators were arrested four days before the Jan. 22 date that had been planned for the uprising. Their followers, mostly from around the small towns of the western provinces of Sonsonate and Ahuachapan, revolted on schedule anyway, even though martial law had already been decreed to dissuade them.
Armed only with machetes and the odd pistol or hunting rifle, the rebels were disorganized and badly led and never had a chance. They took over half a dozen small towns, killed a few dozen local officials or landowners, and marched around the countryside waving their machetes in the air. The military routed them easily, first chasing them out of the towns, then hunting them down in the countryside. For all intents and purposes the revolt, which began Jan. 22, was over by Jan. 25, 1932. In all, counting rebels, police, soldiers and civilians, no more than 100 persons were estimated to have died.
With the passage of time the facts about the rebellion have been intentionally blurred by the military men who have ruled uninterruptedly since Hernandez's coup. As taught to schoolchildren in doctored history books, Marti's revolt was a savage class war where peasants, armed and led by hard-core communists, fell upon sleeping provincial towns and massacred the innocent caught in their beds by the tens of thousands.
The true story of the Matanza is more chilling. As University of Nebraska historian Thomas P. Anderson discovered while doing research for his book, Matanza, the first objective history of the 1932 revolt, the real killing only began after the rebellion had been put down.
"The Matanza began against anyone caught with a machete, or who looked too dark, or Indian, or too campesino," Anderson writes in describing the military actions that followed the revolt's failure. "Tied by their thumbs in groups of 50, they were led to walls where they were executed by machine guns mounted on trucks." By the thousands they were slaughtered and buried in huge pits throughout western El Salvador. Marti and his two colleagues were given a summary court-martial and hanged. Estimating that 10,000 died in the repression (others count the victims as many as 40,000), Anderson notes that his figure means the government "exacted reprisals at the rate of 100 to one."
In San Salvador today the Army leaders, who remain the dominant force behind the junta, angrily reject any suggestion that such repressive military traditions of their past might account for the ferocity of the killings going on today. As the doctored histories of the Matanza blamed all the 1932 deaths on the rebels, today's military men seek to blame the recent wave of killings and disappearances on the "subversivos," their term for the rebels who -- as in times past -- are depicted all as communists armed and directed through the international communist movement.
That there are communists involved in today's rebellion is beyond doubt, just as Marti's allegiances were not hidden in 1932. But the communist party of El Salvador is only one of four leftist groups fighting in the countryside and at least two of those have very little time for Havana or Moscow. Supporting or sympathetic to this armed struggle are many who are actually anticommunists -- social democrats, liberals, Catholics. To tar the whole opposition movement against the government with the brush of communism, as the State Department clumsily attempted with its error-filled white paper, is to miss the point of the real issues in El Salvador.
Today's military leaders in San Salvador, however, persist in identifying their critics as communists. In the convoluted official logic of autocracies, the killings and disappearances are offered as evidence that the junta is winning the hearts and minds of the populace.
"The guerrillas have failed militarily," boasts Col. Jose Guillermo Garcia, the defense minister and current military strongman. "When the subversivos failed to trigger a popular rising in January they were reduced to terrorism against the people who did not jion them. Because of that the people are now against them."
The boast ignores the evidence that the guerrillas have mastered the elusive arts of hitting and running and that the government's forces suffer the greater numbers of casualties when they encounter the guerrillas in the bush.* The notion that the people have turned against the rebels is not the view of things that an inquisitive outsider comes away with after a month of wandering around the countryside, visiting places that policymakers never visit and talking to the simple people to whom they rarely talk. In a code that in this land of death and retribution quickly states the unstatable, those the government calls subversivos are usually referred to sympathetically as los muchachos, the boys. After a while, one concludes that fear more than lack of sympathy prevented a popular uprising.
Rural peasants, country villagers and refugees admit that los muchachos occasionally come to population centers to demand food and supplies, to recruit new members when they can, or to execute those believed to be orejas (ears) -- government informers, collaborators of ORDEN or the local representatives of the junta. But for every tale of guerrilla excess a visitor hears, he is told 10 of more methodical and random repression by members of Col. Garcia's own security forces.
At La Bermuda, for instance, the women with their tales of grief insist that the raiders of thier camp are not any of the muchachos who operate from bases on the Guazapa volcano.
Those who have come to kidnap and kill and rape all ride in military vehicles, they say. Though some wear motley civilian clothes, most are dressed in the unmistakable black helmets and olive-drab fatigues of the Guardia Nacional, one of the Defense Ministry's paramilitary security forces created at the turn of the century to impose the government's writ on the countryside, where 60 percent of the populace lives. The same noncommissioned officer from la guardia, the women say, always has led the raids on their camp.
Official disclaimers of responsibility for the national terror have suffered of late. In April, 30 bodies, some of children, most in pajamas, were found one dawn in the streets of a suburb of the capital named Soyapango. Neighbors who in the past would have kept their mouths shut, were so outraged that they contradicted the official explanation that the killings resulted from an after-curfew clash between security forces and guerrillas. The witnesses said that the dead had all been hauled out of their homes in the middle of the night and shot by uniformed members of the Finance Police, another security force, which is commanded by Col. Francisco Moran. One western diplomat contemptuously labels Moran the "Darth Vader" of the armed forces.
In May, after six months of junta footdragging and bitter internal debates within the military, U.S. pressure -- and an FBI analysis of the evidence -- forced the reluctant junta to arrest six members of the Guardia Nacional on "suspicion" of involvement in the killing of four U.S. missionaries -- three nuns and a lay woman -- last December after the group was stopped at a roadblock. The military's grudging admission that its forces are not, after all, blameless was speedily followed by an insistence that such cases are exceptions, not the rule.
"This has nothing to with the armed forces," Col. Garcia claimed at a press conference in which he announced the guardia arrests while flanked for support by his fellow brass. "If they did what they are accused of doing, they did not do so under orders. Hence they [the killings] are individual acts that the armed forces cannot be held responsible for."
The military's many critics in the land are not prepared to buy this view. "What you foreigners do not seem to understand is that the real issue in El Salvador is the armed forces and the power they still wield in this country," says a lawyer, a social democrat, over dinner in his home in the capital. Other guests, a university professor and an agronomist, nod in agreement. "The issue here is not ideology, or even the poverty and misery of most of our people. What has fueled the leftist movement, the guerrillas, is simple outrage at the injustice and repressiveness of the military that is ruling us today just as it ruled us the past. What you have here is what we've always had: a war of the military against its people."
The real failure of the expectations that flowered with the 1979 coup, its opponents argue, is that the military refused to relinquish any of the prerogatives of power and control that had long been its monopoly. The officers moved against Gen. Romero not because they opposed military rule but because his style had become an embarrassment at a time the popular Sandinista revolt in Nicaragua to the south had just swept out the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. The colonels who rule today were appalled at how quickly Somoza's National Guard was disbanded and persecuted after his fall and were eager to appear to move with the times to avoid a like fate in El Salvador.
The colonels argue that the changes they have tried to introduce have not been merely cosmetic. They point out that they were prepared to share power by bringing three eminent civilians to join their two representatives on the junta, Cols. Jaime Abdul Gutierrez and Adolfo Arnoldo Majano. Didn't they also agree to a sweeping land reform program which if ever fully implemented would finally alter the plantation feudalism that lies at the root of so many of the country's ills? Didn't they sack all military generals and many, though hardly all, of the most neolithic of their fellow officers? Hadn't they agreed that national elections will be held in 1982?
True. But all the eminent civilians brought into the junta quit within months to run to exile in Mexico after denouncing the military for refusing to share actual power and failing to halt the repression. Col. Garcia, a man who might have been dictator back in 1975 had he not been out-maneuvered at the time by Gen. Romero, has refused all requests that he quit and instead has emerged as the real strongman of the government. President Jose Napoleon Duarte, a Christian Democrat with previously impeccable credentials, was eventually brought into the junta to replace the civilians who quit, but though he was named president, he has proven increasingly powerless.
And Col. Majano, one of the few certifiable liberals in the military hierarchy, was forced out of the junta six months ago and now lives in the United States. In El Salvador, there is a warrant out for his arrest.
President Duarte remains the junta's most eloquent salesman. A former mayor of San Salvador and politician who built his career on opposing the military regimes of the past, he stunned the armed forces in 1972 by beating their own hand-picked choice in a presidential election whose displeasing results the armed forces quickly abrogated. His expressionless, immobile visage testifies to the ministrations of military torturers, who broke most of the bones in his face in a concerted effort to convince him of the evil of his political ways before sending him off to seven years of exile in Venezuela.
Few doubt that Duarte is sincere and honorable. He and his moderate Christian Democratic party, at most a collection of several thousand centrist politicians, are the only civilians of any stature will prepared to work with the military. Duarte's role has become more ceremonial than executive under the colonels and his efforts to push reforms, including the land reform, have stalled.
His association with the military has eroded his past support and credibility in the country and his own party is split over the benefits of continued links with the military at a time when all other political groups have rallied to the leftist antigovernment coalition led from Mexico by Guillermo Ungo, a social democrat and one of the three civilians in the original junta.
Duarte's enemies accuse him of clinging to the presidency because of his long-frustrated ambition to the hold the job. The more charitable say he continues hopeful that his presence will put at least some brake on the military. The military leaders seem happy to keep him as window-dressing to impress Washington, on which they realize their ultimate survival depends.
In recent days U.S. officials for the first time have begun to mutter about the possibility of seeking some negotiated settlement to the Salvadoran crisis, but the armed forces remain adamant that the solution is a military elimination of the guerrilla forces. "The problem is they know any negotiation means compromise," says Salvador Samayoa, a former philosophy professor and minister of education under the junta's first government. Today he is one of the Mexico-based strategists for the umbrella group representing the dozen-odd political, professional and labor organizations that are seeking politically and diplomatically to undermine the junta. "Even a minimum compromise would affect military power directly and that is something they will not allow. Military power is the issue."
With negotiations ruled out by the military, Duarte has put all his political efforts into convincing his skeptical citizens and the world that the only way to resolve the tragedy of their nation is by having free elections in 1982, a strategy initially recommended by the United States. Such a proposal is hard to argue with in principle, but one has only to look at Duarte's wounded face to understand why to Salvadorans such promises of free -- and binding and unreversible --The only free election in the country's history was Arrujo's in 1931 and that led to the military coup that produced the Matanza a year later and left a legacy of 50 uninterrupted years of military rule.
For the moment it is difficult to see a future for El Salvador much different than its present. The political situation is clearly blocked by refusals of any negotiations by the military. The land reform is barely in motion. The economy, even without the serious disruptions of violence is collapsing with the collapse of the world coffee and sugar prices on which it depends. Despite the infusion of $35 million dollars of military aid this year for helicopters, weapons, and the U.S. advisers to teach their use, the war in the hills is stalemated, with the guerrillas proving increasingly able to punish El Salvador's 18,000-man armed forces. That point alone bodies ill for those attracted to the seeming simplicity of military solutions.
By now it should have begun to become clear to the policymakers of the Reagan administration that bombast and hyped white papers attacking Nicaragua, Cuba and the Soviet Union are no real alternatives to a serious policy to deal with a crisis that would exist anyway whether or not those countries existed and regardless of what aid they really give the rebels.
Until such a policy can be formulated, and El Salvador's colonels can be induced to accept it even at the diminishment of their political monopoly on power, it seems difficult to see how the present Matanza, which has probably already exceeded the horrendous carnage of 1932, can realistically be brought to an end.