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News > El Salvador

Salvadorans Reject Bukele's Delegitimizing Speech in El Mozote

  • President Nayib Bukele (L) holds a rally at El Mozote, El Salvador, Dec. 24, 2020.

    President Nayib Bukele (L) holds a rally at El Mozote, El Salvador, Dec. 24, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @NacionSV_

Published 25 December 2020

In 1981, soldiers from the U.S.-trained Atlacatl battalion killed 986 people, including 558 children in El Mozote village.

El Salvador's human rights defenders Thursday rejected the delegitimizing speech President Nayib Bukele gave last week in El Mozote, scene of the largest massacre that occurred during the Salvadoran war (1980-1992).


El Salvador's Govt. Refuses to Give Data on El Mozote Massacre

He presented his government as the only one interested in clarifying the events in El Mozote, where 986 people, including 558 children, were murdered in 1981.

"I am angry that El Mozote is being used for political purposes," Bukele said to discredit local organizations and human rights defenders who have been demanding justice for the victims for the past three decades.

The El Mozote Human Rights Association Vice President Jose Cruz described as cynical the statements given by "the same man who denies us access to crucial documents that will help us find those responsible for the massacre."

"Efforts in finding truth, justice, and reparation do not correspond to a political campaign or a political party,"  Cruz added.

On September 21, Bukele banned access to military archives as part of the ongoing investigation against 13 officers in command during the civil war.

"Bukele came full of cameras to target the defenders as the villains. El Mozote was the scenery, and the victims were the props," journalist Nelson Rauda reported as he recalled that the president had his eye on the parliamentary elections of February 2021.

"El Mozote received a hate speech. The suffering of the victims and their families is priceless," Rauda added.

On December 13, 1981, soldiers from the U.S.-trained Atlacatl battalion executed hundreds of El Mozote residents on suspicion of collaborating with the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) guerrilla.

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