The recently canonized Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero is remembered for his selfless work for the lower classes, but his mission was also a serious threat to the U.S. mission in El Salvador, says Uruguayan journalist Juan Raul Ferreira.
In an exclusive interview with teleSUR, Ferreira revealed his deep friendship with Monsignor Romero who was gunned down on the floor of a San Salvadoran chapel on Mar. 24, 1980.
The Monsignor has been praised for his work with the poor as well as his brave example in the face of the violent repression which choked the Central American country.
Romero called on the U.S. to stop supplying arms to El Salvador, arguing in an open letter to then-President Jimmy Carter that, "U.S. support would only sharpen the injustice and repression against the organizations of the people which repeatedly have been struggling to gain respect for their fundamental human rights."
"What was Romero for the United States? He was a serious threat because he raised his voice and he spoke for those who couldn't," Ferreira told teleSUR.
Romero blamed U.S. propaganda for the deadly conflict between the government-backed “Death Squads” and the now-democratically-elected leaders of El Salvador, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).
Ferreira said the archbishop was “a voice that listened to all of Latin America, so as not to lose hope — his weapons were light, truth, and love. … He breathed love with great serenity.”
In a separate interview, Fr. Numa Molina echoed these sentiments, saying Romero was someone who recognized Latin America’s vast potential and “who defied the powerful, giving a voice to the voiceless.
“He was someone who, in the context of Latin America, dared to live the gospel in depth and prophecy. ... He had the courage like the prophets of the Old Testament,” the Venezuelan Jesuit said.
Nearly forty years after his death, Archbishop Romero was honored with the highest form of tribute in the Catholic religion and was canonized as a saint by Pope Francis in Rome Sunday.