El Salvador, 1977
Aguilares, 1977: Options for the Poor
Father Rotilio Grande
God is not somewhere up in the clouds, lying on a hammock. God is here with us, building a kingdom here on Earth.
Father Rotilio Grande has brought the new theology of liberation to the poor communities of Aguilares, a town of ten thousand. Now a pastor near his birthplace of El Paisnal, he awakens the campesinos to their dignity. They are worth more thatn the $1.75 a day they get from the rich plantation owners. They are worth more than the rocky land they are forced to rent.
Government informers spy on his sermons. On March 12, he takes the parish jeep to drive to his birthplace to say mass. With him are two friends and three children. ON a lonely stretch of the road he notices that he is being followed. The car overtakes them and fires. Father Rotilio is shot twelve times by 9mm. armor-plated dumdum bullets from Mantzer automatic rifles, the kind issues to police. One campesino is killed in the barrage of bullets. The other is found with a bullet in his forehead fired at point-blank range. The three children escape to tell the story.
William J. O’Malley, The Voice of Blood, 43-46
Escalon, 1977: Being Patriots
In the plush neighborhood of Escalon, a flyer circulates throughout the summer: Be a Patrior, Kill a Priest.
In July, the White Warriors Union, a right-wing death squad, sends this note:
All Jesuits without exception must leave the country forever within thirty days… If our order is not obeyed within the indicated time, the immediate and systematic execution of those Jesuits who remain in the country will proceed until we have finished with all of them.
Robert Armstrong and Janet Shenk, El Salvador: The Face of Revolution, 94