Demanding Salvadoran Military Records on Missing Children be Opened

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

Even after the Salvadoran Supreme Court ruled that all of the Salvadoran military records on all missing children from the civil war (1980-1992) must be opened, the Salvadoran Ministry of Defense has refused to do so. The Defense Ministry has stated that mo such records exist. There is no question that they do according to the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. During the civil war, the Salvadoran military put into operation what is known as “Mario Azenon Palma.” The operation was to deny any and all resources and support to the leftist guerrillas that the military fought. This meant “neutralizing” their families as well as villages. Horrifyingly, this meant that the children of those suspected of aiding and abetting the leftist guerrillas were either killed, kidnapped or “disappeared.”

But what happened to all those children who were kidnapped? In some cases, they became family members of those soldiers who fought the guerrillas. In many other cases they became servants or were dropped off at orphanages and never did find out who their real parents were. All this information would most likely be found in the records of the Salvadoran military. But with the Ministry of Defense still refusing to open the archives, it is now up to Salvadoran President Sanchez Ceren to force the hand of the Salvadoran military on this issue. It is a hard and it will most certainly be a heart-rending issue. It is nevertheless necessary in order to lay bare what happened to the missing children of those families still looking for them, and if there is any chance that they may yet be alive. In many ways it is like the Dirty War waged in Argentina a decade before. In order to put that terrible time behind them, the Argentinians demanded that all Argentinian military records be opened for the full truth to come out. This was done, and it helped in many ways not only lay bare the truth about the Dirty War but also help put the Dirty War period behind Argentinian history. If there is any way for the Salvadorans to have any closure on their civil war period the Salvadoran military records must be opened.

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