Subject: Transitional Justice in El Salvador
I am writing to request your support for justice for the 1981 massacre of over 1,000 in the village of El Mozote in El Salvador.
On December 11, 1981, an elite Salvadoran military unit trained and armed by the United States massacred 1,000 civilians—mostly children—in and around the village of El Mozote. One witness, six years old at the time, saw soldiers kill his mother and newborn sister. “I was playing with my brother when a soldier came in and started firing. He was dressed in olive green… he shot me first,” the witness said, displaying the bullet scar on his arm.
A post-war amnesty law protected perpetrators of the massacre for over 20 years, making El Mozote one of the major unprosecuted war time crimes in the world. In 2016, the Salvadoran Supreme Court overturned that amnesty law. Today, 17 ex-officers of El Salvador’s military high command are being prosecuted for allegedly planning and ordering the massacre.
Innocent civilians in El Mozote were killed by troops armed, trained, and advised by the United States. This awful chapter of history belongs to the United States as well as El Salvador—and you can do something to help bring justice to victims’ families.
Specifically, I request that you call for:
1) The declassification of Department of Defense and CIA documents related to the 1981 Operation Rescate, during which the Salvadoran military carried out the massacre at El Mozote.
2) Statements from the United States government expressing support for the Salvadoran judicial system in prosecuting the El Mozote case, and support for the cooperation of the Salvadoran Defense Minister and Attorney General’s Office in the case.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. I hope you will join me in seeking justice for this egregious massacre and, in doing so, contributing to a lasting peace and a source of hope for a nation that continues to seek security and respect for fundamental human rights.