A press conference was held this morning, August 13th, in San Salvador by representatives of Tutela Legal Maria Julia Hernandez to give an update on the case of El Mozote, the massacre that occurred on December 11, 1981 in northern Morazán.
Over 40 witnesses have come forward since the overturn of El Salvador’s Amnesty Law in 2016 to contribute harrowing testimonies of the barbarity executed by Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Monterrosa Barrios (deceased) and the Atlacatl Battalion (disbanded).
According to the findings, Monterrosa had the full cooperation and authorization from the Salvadoran state at the time of the massacre and attempted to cover up and deny the act, which was thwarted due to the forensic anthropological team from Argentina that conducted exhumations. Based on their invaluable work, it has come to light that over 1,000 innocent civilians were indeed tormented and being killed.
“It is no longer possible to deny that a massacre occurred.” stated one of the attorneys from Tutela Legal.
The legal team also expressed the painful truth that til this day, survivors of the massacre have been left blind, sterile, full of shrapnel and continue to suffer from post traumatic stress.
The 18 military commanders that carried out this inhumane act are being tried in a court of law, some posthumously, in a judicial process that has reached “an advanced stage,” and attorneys are confident that justice will “finally be served.”
The mission of Tutela Legal is the “observation, protection, study, promotion, dissemination, information and intervention in the defense of threatened or violated human rights, with special attention to groups in vulnerable situations.”
Voices has two full-time staff in country which means we regularly rely on the strength and direction of our Board of Directors to ensure we’re doing what’s right and doing it right. Our current Board of Directors is full of amazing folks, many whom have been with Voices since the 1980’s, and others who have watched it grow. What’s clear is that these histories have created strong connections and bonds with our communities and partners making our jobs on the ground easier and more impactful. This June, our Board and field staff met in Maryland’s beautiful lakeside to reconnect, to share, to learn, to inspire and be inspired, and recommit to the work at hand.
Below is a collection of short interviews taken at the close of this year’s meeting.
2016 was a dynamic year for Voices. We said goodbye to old friends and opened the door to new ones. We began an extensive education revitalization project in Bajo Lempa, started supporting women’s empowerment in Morazán and even joined in on environmental justice protests in the capital San Salvador.
This year is even more special because we turn 30! Since our inception in the refugee camps until now, we have never deserted our communities and are committed to being a critical source of support for them now, and in the future.
Read our report to find out what our partners have been up to, the large scales issues they are facing and how Voices has been working hard in collaboration with leaders to find solutions to issues and pathways to accomplishing goals.