THE PEACE PROCESS IN EL SALVADOR
If 4. F 76/1: P 31/17
rhe Peace Process in El Salvador, 1
THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON
WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
MARCH 16 AND 23, 1993
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
73-936 CC WASHINGTON : 1993
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
THE PEACE PROCESS IN EL SALVADOR
I.F 76/1: P 31/17
Peace Process in El Salvador/ 1... A t^ x -*t^
THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON
WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
MARCH 16 AND 23, 1993
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
73-936 CC WASHINGTON : 1993
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana, Chairman
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
ERIC FINGERHUT, Ohio
PETER DEUTSCH, Florida
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN, Maryland
DON EDWARDS, California
FRANK MCCLOSKEY, Indiana
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
Michael H. Van Dusen, Chief of Staff
MlCHELE A. MANATT Professional Staff Member
ABIGAIL Aronson, Staff Associate
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JAN MEYERS, Kansas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DAVID A. LEVY, New York
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, Florida
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey, Chairman
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
PETER DEUTSCH, Florida ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN, Maryland
Victor C. Johnson, Staff Director
DOROTHY TafT, Republican Professional Staff Member
LARRY MCDONNELL, Professional Staff Member
RICHARD NUCCIO, Professional Staff Member
PATRICIA WEIR, Professional Staff Member
Tuesday, March 16, 1993
President Belisario Betancur, United Nations Truth Commission for El Sal-
Dr. Reinaldo Figueredo, United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador .... 6
Professor Thomas Buergenthal, United Nations Truth Commission for El
Schafik Jorge Handal, general coordinator, Faribundo Marti Liberation Front
of El Salvador; accompanied by Salvador Samayoa and Ana Maria
Guadelupe Martinez, Faribundo Marti Liberation Front of El Salvador 26
Tuesday, March 23, 1993
Harold Johnson, Director, International Affairs, National Security and Inter-
national Affairs Division, U.S. General Accounting Office; accompanied by
Nancy T. Toolan and Daniel Ranta, U.S. General Accounting Office 41
Cheryl Morden, associate director for Development Policy, Church World
Services and Lutheran World Relief 55
Congressman Robert G. Torricelli (March 16, 1993) 67
President Belisario Betancur 68
Schafik Jorge Handal 74
Congressman Robert G. Torricelli (March 23, 1993) 77
Harold Johnson 78
Cheryl Morden 104
Commission on the Truth of El Salvador Summary Report 113
Table of El Salvador's National Reconstruction Plans: Indications of Bilateral
and Multilateral Support from the March 23, 1992 Consultative Group
Graphs of Murders and Disappearances in El Salvador from the Truth Com-
mission Report 123
Message to El Salvador by President Alfredo F. Cristiani, March 18, 1993 126
Original and Revised Funding Allocations for the Agency for International
Development's Five-Year Peace and Recovery Project in El Salvador 128
THE PEACE PROCESS IN EL SALVADOR
TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 1993
House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:20 p.m. in room
2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Robert G. Torricelli
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Torricelli. The committee will please come to order.
We meet today to bear witness to another milestone in the long
and tragic history of war in El Salvador. Today we receive the re-
port of the Commission on Truth. The mandate of the Commission
was to seek, to find and to make public the truth about acts of vio-
lence committed on both sides of the long and bloody war in El Sal-
The Commission sought to fulfill the Biblical teaching that "the
truth shall make you free", knowing that, indeed, the nation would
never come to rest and could never build a real and lasting peace
unless there was some answer to the 75,000 lives that were lost
during the course of the struggle.
These terrible crimes committed against tens of thousands of Sal-
vadorans are cause for great shame. Just as certainly the commit-
ments of all sides of that conflict and the settling of the war are
cause for great pride. The fact that we can speak of peace in El Sal-
vador is a tribute to many people but none more than the father
of that peace, Alfredo Cristiani, for bringing together disparate in-
terests in El Salvador. He has managed to bring his troubled coun-
try at long last to peace.
The members of the Political Commission of the FMLN are here
to testify today as partners in that struggle for peace. It is to their
eternal credit as well, they were prepared to lay down their weap-
ons and come forward within a political process knowing that at all
times they did so at great risk to themselves and their families.
TORTURE IN EL SALVADOR
But, indeed, everything in this report does not concern only El
Salvador nor will my comments this afternoon be limited to ques-
tions of the Salvadoran Government. Introductory comments before
a hearing by any subcommittee chairman are usually, by definition,
limited and mild. This afternoon I will not pretend that mine are
either. Rarely as a Member of this institution have I been more
personally offended or betrayed than — after so many years and so
many hearings, listening to so many administration witnesses dis-
cuss the knowledge of the U.S. Government and the view of succes-
sive administrations about the murder and the torture and the
death in El Salvador — to learn of your findings about the war in
REAGAN ADMINISTRATION COUNTENANCES HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
In a gesture of good faith and in the belief that it would contrib-
ute to peace, this Congress established a process whereby Presi-
dent Reagan would certify that progress was being made in re-
specting human rights. As a reaction to that certification, this Con-
gress would provide military assistance to fight the war in El Sal-
It is now abundantly clear that Ronald Reagan made those cer-
tifications not only in disregard of the truth but in defiance of it.
Members of his administration came forward to this Congress and
swore that they had no knowledge of acts of violence. Peace was
being restored and rights respected. It was a lie.
And while the consequences for the people of El Salvador were
tragic, the ramifications on this institution and the operations of
the U.S. Government are not yet fully known. El Salvador will not
be the last war where the United States plays a role. A process has
been poisoned where an American President pledges in good faith
to be an arbiter of events, to make a certification to Congress based
on the knowledge of his administration so that in good faith we can
take a foreign policy position. No future Congress, based on what
we now know about the credibility of those certifications, could ever
establish such a process again.
People of good will could have differed about what position the
U.S. Government should or should not have taken in El Salvador.
The deceit and betrayal which led this Congress to invest our Na-
tion's fortune and honor in that conflict in the blind belief that we
were being told the truth is a shameful chapter in American for-
There is no way to find all of those who suffered, those who were
victims of the abuse which might have been stopped if we had
known earlier the complicity with which military forces were en-
gaged in this human slaughter. There is only to say that that is
not our country.
CONGRESS IS DECEIVED
Approving that assistance was not done so knowingly by this
Congress. If we were to do it again, that would not be our choice.
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us today. This is an impor-
tant part of the work of this subcommittee. For 10 years we took
testimony on the war in El Salvador. In one respect you present
its final chapter with regard to the truth about what happened in
I can only conclude by saying to those who served in those ad-
ministrations who today find themselves in retirement around
America that this may be the last hearing on events in El Sal-
vador, but if you served in a previous American administration and
if you testified before this Congress that you had no knowledge of
events, that you were unaware of the killing, the torture and if
that proves to be a lie, you better not have said it under an oath.
This committee will review every word, every sentence ever ut-
tered by every official of the Reagan administration who came be-
fore this committee and swore about events. When we are con-
cluded we had best find that either it was done without knowledge
or there was a omission in the providing of an oath.
[The prepared statement of Chairman Torricelli appears in the
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.
With the release of the Truth Commission report yesterday at
the United Nations, this hearing provides our subcommittee a good
opportunity to focus on their findings and the future of El Sal-
vador. We have before us, Mr. Chairman, three distinguished au-
thors of that report, three men who are clearly champions of
human rights and of the truth.
EL SALVADOR SCARRED BY HORRORS OF WAR
The world is clearly indebted to you three gentlemen for your
findings, for your careful investigation and for your analysis. With
approximately 75,000 Salvadorans dead in 12 years of civil war,
not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans who have
been dislocated or moved away, the memories of slaughter, torture
and intimidation are strong and the scars run deep.
El Salvador was the scene of gruesome mass murders, a military
acting with impunity and guerrillas committing their share of
extrajudicial killings and assassinations. The atrocities committed
mar the character of both the Salvadoran military and security
forces, and the armed guerrillas.
With only 6 months to investigate and complete their report of
human rights abuses in El Salvador over the period from 1980 to
1992, obviously the Commission was not able to be exhaustive.
They documented more than 7,350 cases of violence, and elected to
highlight a number of well-known or typical cases. Though not
complete, the Commission found the Salvadoran military respon-
sible for as many as 4,300, and the security forces involved in an-
other 1,600 acts of violence, and more than 800 killings committed
by the infamous death squads. FMLN is implicated in nearly 400
killings and more than 300 disappearances.
As noted by the Commission, individuals are responsible for their
actions, and I think it is highly appropriate that the Commission
pointed to specific perpetrators. It names names, whether they be
the persons carrying out the order or the intellectual mastermind
behind the violence.
COMMISSION RECOGNIZES NEED FOR RECONCILIATION
I have been struck by the Commission's recognition of the ulti-
mate "end use" of the findings. Not only must the truth be identi-
fied, national reconciliation must, they argue, be accompanied with
a sense of forgiveness. Family and friends of the victims must rec-
oncile — that is a frame of mind that I fear, for obvious reasons, will
be easier said than done. The Commission noted "justice demands
punishment for the violations of human rights" and they made a
strong case for judicial reform prior to initiating legal action
against the abuses.
With the resignation last Friday of the Minister of Defense, one
of those implicated in the Commission report, the Government of
El Salvador has a unique opportunity to take steps to purge certain
officers and promote a civilian head of the military.
CRISTIANI EXERTS LEADERSHIP
I want to take this opportunity to commend the dedication of
President Cristiani for getting to the root of the human rights
abuses, which have plagued his country. Without his leadership in
bringing his government and the leadership of the FMLN back
again to the peace table and the will of the Salvadorans them-
selves, I am certain progress of this kind would not have been pos-
For a country racked with 12 years of civil war, this is a critical
period in the history of El Salvador.
This hearing today is about the healing process. While it is true,
as Santayana wrote, "those who cannot remember the past are con-
demned to repeat it"; the Salvadorans must decide what prescrip-
tion is most suitable. I believe the United States must support na-
tional healing and maintain our focus on relations and programs
which encourage national reconciliation.
I want, again, to thank our fine witnesses for their support and
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. Ballenger. As an individual who has visited El Salvador
many years, going back at least 25 years, it is unfortunate that a
place so beautiful as El Salvador could be involved or get involved
in a contest between the two great powers at the time in the 1980's
and, therefore, cause unbelievable deaths and murders, et cetera.
I happen to have been in El Salvador before this all occurred.
There was a revolution there. A Taylor Cub flew over the down-
town of El Salvador and someone threw out a hand grenade out.
That was the ultimate end their civil war at that time. That was
before the great powers who seemed to be involved in pointing the
world to their own direction came up and armed the people there
to fight against each other.
I would like to say that having been involved as much as I have
in El Salvador, at long last it is wonderful to see peace develop
there between the two sides. I hope that the effort that % was put
out by this committee here, this investigative committee, will at
last bring peace and quiet. As President Cristiani said in his
speech last week, that we can forget and forgive the past and try
to live for the future.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. Betancur, Mr. Figueredo and Professor Buergenthal, we are
honored. Thank you for being with us today.
STATEMENT OF HIS EXCELLENCY BELISARIO BETANCUR,
PRESIDENT, COMMISSION ON TRUTH; ACCOMPANIED BY DR.
THOMAS BUERGENTHAL AND MR. REINALDO FIGUEREDO
Mr. Betancur [through translator]. Good afternoon Mr. Chair-
man, distinguished members of the committee.
On behalf of the Truth Commission and the peace process in El
Salvador, I thank you for this honor. Your kind invitation has
made it possible for us to present to you the report which we deliv-
ered yesterday to the Secretary General of the United Nations, to
the representative of President Cristiani and to a representative of
It also gives us an opportunity to comment on the current situa-
tion in El Salvador and the prospects for its future.
TRUTH COMMISSION CATALOGUES PATTERNS OF VIOLENCE
As you are aware, the Truth Commission was created by the gen-
eral 1992 agreements signed in Mexico City. It has worked for
more than 8 months with a staff of many nationalities, and during
these months of study and research has drawn up a document con-
sisting of about eight chapters devoted to the discharge of its man-
They included the 12 years of war and an analysis of 32 cases
of violence and the patterns of violence that emerged from it.
Among other things the report also identifies the persons respon-
sible for these acts. It ends with a chapter of recommendations, an
epilogue and two volumes of appendices.
I would ask for your permission, Mr. Chairman, to allow us to
submit for the record the introductory chapter and the chapter con-
taining our recommendations, as well as any other sections of the
report you might deem appropriate.
ECONOMIC AID TO EL SALVADOR
With reference to the interest you expressed in your invitation on
hearing our views on economic assistance for El Salvador, a subject
your committee will be considering in the next few months, we ap-
plaud your interest in providing this important aid to a people who
chose to renounce the instrument of war in favor of efforts to reach
a consensus to find solutions for social injustice.
All Salvadorans are feeling triumphant today. The fundamental
value for which each in his or her own way fought has prevailed.
The valiant people of El Salvador have earned the admiration and
support of the free world. That is why we applaud any aid that the
committee may provide, including the resources needed to set up
a fund to compensate the victims in the conflict as set forth in our
chapter on recommendations.
We would have liked to have included a greater number of cases
of violence. However, the Commission chose to concentrate on only
those events on which we had received sufficient supporting docu-
ments and evidence to enable us to faithfully uphold our criteria
of objectivity and equality as we indicated at the outset of our task
upon our arrival in El Salvador.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would now ask my col-
league, former Foreign Minister Reinaldo Figueredo to read the
statement on behalf of the three members of the Truth Commis-
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of the com-
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Betancur. Dr. Figueredo.
STATEMENT OF REINALDO FIGUEREDO
Mr. Figueredo. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. It is a privilege
for the members of the Truth Commission for El Salvador to ap-
pear before this subcommittee to present the Commission's report
to you and members of the subcommittee for its inclusion in the of-
ficial record of these hearings. We are particularly honored that
you requested our appearance just one day after the Secretary Gen-
eral of the United Nations made the Commission's Report public,
for it underscores the importance the Peace Accords place on the
need for the widest possible dissemination of the results of its in-
TRUTH COMMISSION MANDATE: INVESTIGATE "SERIOUS ACTS OF
The parties to the Salvadoran Peace Accords, the Government of
El Salvador and the FMLN, under the auspices of the Secretary
General of the United Nations, asked us to investigate "serious acts
of violence that have occurred since 1980 and whose impact on soci-
ety urgently demands that the public should know the truth."
The Commission received direct testimony from 2,000 sources re-
lating to 7,000 victims and information from secondary sources re-
lating to more than 18,000 victims. But as the Peace Accords gave
it only 6 months to examine the long history of violence endured
by El Salvador during its brutal civil war, the Commission con-
centrated its limited resources on the most notorious cases of vio-
lence, committed by both sides to the conflict, as well as those
cases that formed part of a broader, systematic pattern of abuse.
All witnesses who requested it were guaranteed confidentiality to
protect their lives and encourage frankness. Based on the number
of corroborating accounts and other evidence in a particular case,
the Commission used three levels of certainty in reaching its con-
clusions: overwhelming evidence, substantial evidence, and suffi-
The testimony of a single witness or other single source, no mat-
ter how compelling, was deemed insufficient to make a judgment
if not backed up by other evidence.
SENSELESS KILLING BUT A SPIRIT OF HOPE
In examining the staggering breadth of the violence that oc-
curred in El Salvador, the Commission was moved by the sense-
lessness of the killings, the brutality with which they were commit-
ted, the terror they created in the people. In other words, the mad-
ness or "locura" of the war.
At the same time, the Commission was especially cognizant of
the spirit of hope or "la esperanza," which brought it and the entire
peace process into existence.
It is the hope in a peaceful future that has led the parties to put
down their weapons and to construct a new society based on prin-
ciples of democracy, respect for basic human rights and reconcili-
In that regard, the Commission draws the subcommittee's atten-
tion to one of the most important recommendations it makes in its
final report, that all those individuals named in the report as hav-
ing participated in violent acts committed by both sides to the con-
flict be prohibited from holding any public position for a period of
10 years. Having proven themselves to be unfit to exercise the
rights and duties as citizens, particularly at this fragile moment in
the country's history, these individuals must be barred from carry-
ing out any public function. In addition, the Commission rec-
ommends that those individuals cited in the report immediately be
removed and prohibited from ever holding any military or security
MOAKLEY COMMISSION'S FINDINGS PARALLEL THOSE OF THE TRUTH
At this point, we would like to draw attention to the excellent
work of the Speaker's Special Task Force on El Salvador, otherwise
known as the Moakley Commission, which reached much the same
conclusions as did the Truth Commission. Its investigation of the
Jesuits' case served the best interests of the Salvadoran people in
seeking the truth about what happened the terrible night during
the guerrilla offensive.
Congressman Moakley, his staff and the others who served on
his Commission deserve great credit for their determination and
commitment to tell the truth. Our task would have been much
more difficult had it not been for the work of the Moakley Commis-
THE FINDINGS OF THE TRUTH COMMISSION
Let me now summarize our findings on some specific cases, in-
cluding those involving American victims of the conflict.
On December 2, 1980, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy Kazel
and Jean Donovan, four American churchwomen from the
Maryknoll order, were killed by soldiers from the Salvadoran Na-
tional Guard. As a result of one of the rare prosecutions that re-
sulted in convictions, the actual people remain in jail today. The
Truth Commission received sufficient evidence that the cnurch-
women's detention was planned in advance; that Subsargeant
Colindres Aleman was not acting on his own but received orders
to execute the churchwomen from superior officers; and that Colo-
nel Vides Casanova, then Director of the National Guard, and
other officers knew that members of the National Guard had exe-
cuted the churchwomen and facilitated the coverup, thereby imped-
ing the judicial investigation.
On June 19, 1985, Thomas Handwork, Patrick Kwiatkoski, Bob-
bie Dickson and Gregory Weber; four unarmed U.S. Marine Secu-
rity Guards serving in El Salvador, were killed at an outdoor cafe
in San Salvador by members of a guerrilla commando unit. During
the attack nine civilians were killed, including U.S. citizens George
Viney and Roberto Alvidrez. The Commission has concluded that
members of an FMLN urban commando unit, acting under FMLN
policy to consider U.S. military personnel legitimate targets of at-
tack, planned and executed the killings in violation of international
On January 3, 1981, Rodolfo Viera, head of the government's
land reform program, along with Mark Hammer and David
Pearlman, employees of the American Institute for Free Labor De-
velopment, were killed at the Sheraton Hotel by soldiers from a
National Guard death squad. The two gunmen who were convicted
and later released under an amnesty law, were following orders
from National Guard Lt. Lopez Sibrian. They were assisted by
Army Captain Eduardo Avila and businessman Hans Christ. The
latter three escaped prosecution.
Lt. Col. David H. Pickett and Cpl. Ernest G. Dawson, after their
helicopter was shot down by members of a Popular Revolutionary
Army unit on January 2, 1991, were executed by ERP member
Fernan Fernandez Arevalo on orders from Severiano Fuentes
Fuentes. The pilot of the helicopter, Daniel F. Scott, died from
wounds received when the helicopter crashed.
On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was shot
while he was saying mass by an unknown assassin. Roberto
D'Aubuisson gave the order to kill the Archbishop. Army Capt.
Eduardo Avila, former Capt. Alvaro Saravia and Fernando Sagrera
played an active role in carrying out the order.
In December 1981, the massacre at El Mozote and surrounding
hamlets claimed the lives of over 700 people including many
women and children. The Commission conducted a thorough inves-
tigation of the massacre at El Mozote, including the exhumation of
part of the site with the assistance of noted U.S. Experts Dr. Clyde
Snow and Dr. Robert Kirshner, among others. It found that former
Atlacatl battalion commanders Col. Domingo Monterrosa Barrios
and Col. Natividad de Jesus Caceres Cabrera were responsible for
the slaughter. In addition, Supreme Court President Mauricio
Gutierrez Castro improperly interfered in the judicial proceedings
concerning the investigation of the massacre.
The Commission has recommended a series of wide-ranging ac-
tions aimed at removing human rights violators from public office,
as already discussed, reforming the judicial system and the armed
forces, and promoting human rights, democracy, the rule of law
and national reconciliation. The Commission would like to take this
opportunity to highlight the following recommendations:
Steps to ensure civilian control of military promotions, the mili-
tary budget and all intelligence services;
Steps to cut all ties between the military and private armed
groups or other paramilitary groups;
The immediate implementation of constitutional reforms requir-
ing the turnover of the present members of the Supreme Court;
A public listing of all detention centers and all those who are de-
tained in them; and,
Full support for the new civilian national police force.
Mr. Chairman, Representative Smith, and members of the sub-
committee, the Commission would like to thank you for this oppor-
tunity to discuss the main points of the Commission's report.
[The prepared statement of Mssrs. Betancur, Figueredo and
Buergenthal appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Buergenthal, did you have a statement you
wanted to make?
Mr. BUERGENTHAL. No, sir, other than to thank you for the sup-
port the Truth Commission received from you in the months we
were working on the report.
Mr. Torricelli. Gentlemen, you made an enormous contribution
to a long and difficult resolution of this tragedy. The people of El
Salvador will have a chance to rebuild their future and they are
certainly indebted to you.
For all of us who were in Washington over those years, we are
indebted to you as well. Through your work we can see where we
made errors in judgment in good faith and trust of your own gov-
ernment. We can certainly see mistakes that were made by others
within their government.
I would like to take the chance we now have to look at some of
these issues further and to ask a few questions.
STATISTICAL BASIS OF THE TRUTH COMMISSION REPORT
The first is on methodology. Tell us, if you would, the numbers
of interviews that were conducted so we will have an understand-
ing of the statistical base.
Mr. BUERGENTHAL. Mr. Chairman, we received and interviewed
at least 2,000 individuals who came to us and actually presented
evidence relating to something like several thousand individuals.
Mr. Torricelli. Relating to 7,000?
Mr. Buergenthal. Individuals who presented claims relating to
more than 7,000 cases.
Mr. Torricelli. What is the standard of proof that you had re-
quired .for yourselves before you reached a judgment on some of
these extraordinarily controversial and important issues, assigned
responsibility for a murder?
VERIFICATION OF WITNESS ACCOUNTS
Mr. Buergenthal. Mr. Chairman, as my colleague already
pointed out, we devised a system for weighing the evidence — over-
whelming proof, substantial proof and sufficientproof — and based
our findings of fact on one of these standards. Then, with regard
to charges involving individuals, we decided that if we were to
name any individual, we could not rely on only one source of infor-
Moreover, we were aware of the fact that we were not working
in a way that courts work. Therefore, we did everything in our
power to verify and cross check the evidence and make sure that
the testimony we received was also borne out by whatever cir-
cumstantial evidence or other evidence we could find.
Our final decision was made on the basis of our moral conviction
based on the information we received. There is a chapter in our re-
port that describes in considerable detail the methodology we em-
ployed and the considerations we took into account in making our
decisions we had to make. I should add that with regard to the
findings we made in naming specific individuals, all three of us in
all of the cases we presented have a moral certainty that the find-
ings reflect the truth.
Mr. Torricelli. In each of the conclusions that you reached you
did so unanimously?
Mr. Buergenthal. That is right.
Mr. Torricelli. So, for purposes of our understanding, when you
reach a conclusion about the direction of the massacre or the mur-
der of the Archbishop or the Jesuits, you are requiring both that
there be some circumstantial evidence and multiple corroborations
from independent sources?
Mr. Buergenthal. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Because these statements would be made with-
out the benefit of a cross examination, did you place yourselves in
the circumstances of testing the veracity, depth of knowledge of the
individuals who would provide this information?
Mr. Buergenthal. Very much so, yes. In various different ways.
For example, our first question in assessing testimony would be
what is the particular interest of the witness, the personal or politi-
cal interest, what elements does he represent, was there personal
animosity between the accused and the witness. Next, we would
find other evidence to support or detract from the conclusion.
We often interviewed the same witnesses over and over again, in
some cases five or six times, and brought in other people to verify
the testimony. We felt that we had this obligation, considering we
could not confront the witnesses and the accused person. We also
gave those who were being accused an opportunity to appear before
AMERICAN EMBASSY ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Mr. Torricelli. You undoubtedly already have a sense in the
brief time since your report was issued that those of us who partici-
pated in the debate about Central America a few years ago feel a
rage about your findings. If you had come to some of your conclu-
sions because after that exhaustive analysis, you had found a few
missing witnesses hiding somewhere in a remote corner of the
world who gave testimony, it would be easier to understand. But
it is my impression that you found multiple sources among the
thousands of people that you talked to that led you to some of these
That leads me to ask you, not as a past member of the Commis-
sion but as an American, given the number of people who they
have had, the strength of the evidence, your own judgment, inde-
pendent of your role in the commission, of the possibility of the
American Embassy operating in San Salvador at the time of the
death of the Jesuits, at the time of the massacre, at the time of the
killing of the nuns, the assassination of the Archbishop, the
chances given our access to information and presence in the coun-
try of the things that you have now discovered were not to a sig-
nificant extent known then.
Mr. Buergenthal. This is a difficult question to answer, Mr.
Chairman. I would say with regard to both acts that much of it was
known to some of them and if they were not known, they should
have been known to U.S. personnel in El Salvador.
Mr. Torricelli. Professor, we have time here. This is important.
I want to go through a couple of them. Begin with your impressions
from the massacre and go through each of those cases, if you
would, giving your impressions based on the number of witnesses
who came forward and the levels of evidence.
U.S. EMBASSY KNOWLEDGE OF EL MOZOTE MASSACRE
Mr. Ballenger. Would the gentleman yield, and tell me which
massacre he is speaking of?
Mr. TORRICELLI. The 700 civilians.
Mr. Buergenthal. In the El Mozote massacre it is clear that, at
the very least, it would have been possible for the U.S. Embassy,
had it wanted to, to have easily ascertained that there was a mas-
sacre and who committed it.
Mr. Torricelli. First I want to assure my colleagues that I
know we are taking some time. We will stay here as long as is nec-
essary as you are available to get these things answered.
U.S. ADMINISTRATION JUSTIFIES THE MURDER OF AMERICAN NUNS
Addressing the question of the nuns, quoting Alexander Haig,
then Secretary of State, "I would like to suggest to you that some
of the investigations would lead one to believe that perhaps the ve-
hicle that the nuns were riding in may have tried to run a road-
block or may have accidentally perceived to have been doing so."
Did you receive any testimony from anyone suggesting how Mr.
Haig would have come to that conclusion?
Mr. Buergenthal. No.
Mr. Torricelli. Among the hundreds of people you talked to, no
one suggested that this was a possibility?
Mr. Buergenthal. No. The statement was outrageous.
Mr. Torricelli. Quoting our former Ambassador to the United
Nations, Mrs. Kirkpatrick: "I don't think the Government of El Sal-
vador was responsible. The nuns were not just nuns. The nuns
were political activists. We ought to be a little more clearcut about
this than we usually are. They were political activists on behalf of
somebody who was using violence to oppose and kill them."
Do you have any evidence to suggest how someone might have
come to that conclusion?
Mr. Buergenthal. In that case one might have come to the con-
clusion that they might have been sympathetic to the FMLN, but
not that they were involved in the conflict.
Mr. Torricelli. Didn't you report that the order to kill them or
the discussion of it began before they arrived in the country?
Mr. Buergenthal. Well, they had been in the country before.
Let me just clarify one thing, Mr. Chairman. There is no doubt
that there is no basis for Mrs. Kirkpatrick's statement as a jus-
tification for the killing of those church women.
It may have been true in this case that the sympathy of the nuns
was with the FMLN, but to my mind and the mind of the commis-
sion, that is totally irrelevant. They were not members of the
FMLN and they were not armed. There was, therefore, no justifica-
tion to kill them.
U.S. EMBASSY PURSUES OSTRICH POLICY?
Mr. TORRICELLI. There was a report last night concerning the
massacre on CBS interviewing the Ambassador and one of his
former assistants. Contrary to the Ambassador's assertions at the
time, he indeed had been assigned to go out and speak with people
and had brought back to the embassy evidence from those con-
versations, that, in fact, this had been done by security forces.
During your conversations, did you either find evidence or de-
velop your own view, professor, about the availability of informa-
tion concerning who was responsible for that massacre and wheth-
er or not it was known or should have been known to officials in
Mr. Buergenthal. My own impression, Mr. Chairman, is that
certain individuals in the embassy were not interested in receiving
that information and that it could have been easily received as far
as the massacre was concerned.
On that point, let me just amplify what I said — and here again
I speak for myself and not for the commission: one got the impres-
sion, not that people in the embassy necessarily knew, because it
was not always easy to know things in El Salvador, but that U.S.
officials at certain times did not want to know.
U.S. GOVERNMENT KNOWLEDGE OF THE NUN MASSACRE
Mr. Torricelli. Did anyone suggest to you that they were aware
or had ever been interviewed by the U.S. Government personnel
about the massacre?
Mr. Buergenthal. I really can't recall that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Dr. Figueredo, this is an important question.
Mr. President, I will restate the question.
This Congress was assured the U.S. Government at no time had
any information with regard to the massacre. Indeed, testimony
was provided to this Congress of alternate theories disputing
whether it happened at all.
During the course of interviewing people who led you to your
conclusions about the massacre, did anyone ever suggest to you
that they ever submitted testimony to the U.S. Embassy personnel
or provided information that might have come to the U.S. Govern-
Mr. Buergenthal. I did not understand your question before.
We received information that a certain U.S. official had in fact re-
ported that a massacre took place.
Mr. Torricelli. So your witnesses had been questioned and had
provided the information on the account that they had at the time
following the massacre?
Mr. Buergenthal. That they had information.
AMERICAN JOURNALIST MURDERED
Mr. Torricelli. Finally, in 1983, I went to San Salvador to re-
trieve the body of a constituent, a young journalist, John Sullivan.
I brought his body home to his family. There have been many theo-
ries about why John was murdered.
During the course of your discussions with people, did his name
Mr. Buergenthal. The name came up but-
Mr. Torricelli. He was taken from the Sheraton Hotel late one
night and his body was found some 20 miles outside of El Salvador.
Mr. Buergenthal. I am aware of his name, but we were unable
to find anything else regarding this case.
Mr. Torricelli. No one came forward.
Mr. BUERGENTHAL. No.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Smith.
COMMISSION CONSENSUS REGARDING CASES
Mr. Smith. I would like to ask our three panelists, whoever
would like to answer the questions, were there cases where the ma-
jority ruled? You indicated that they were unanimous in terms of
the final, but were there cases where it was two to one and you
thought those cases would be just shunted aside or was there una-
Mr. Figueredo. There was no case where we had divided vote.
It was unanimity.
Mr. Smith. Consensus was formed and you went forward with
that consensus about what had happened in a particular incident?
Mr. Figueredo. The methodology adopted and the procedures
that were followed were such that if the case lacked sufficient evi-
dence, we put it aside until we got more facts. Where we got the
necessary facts, the cases are indicated with the unanimous views
of the commission.
Mr. Smith. Were there cases where perhaps everyone did not
agree but where there might have been sufficient evidence where
another set of eyes looking at it might have wanted to pick up the
gauntlet and said other evidence should be looked at and perhaps
other names might be forthcoming?
Mr. Figueredo. We were not given a list of cases that we had
to analyze. We adopted the methodology and procedure that is in-
cluded in the report. Our staff remained in El Salvador at the time
of our field work there.
We did get some information concerning various cases which be-
cause of the limited period of time of 6 months, could not be fully
explored. I do not recall that we stopped any of the cases because
we did not reach any common view. Rather, it was more that in
some cases we had no evidence to go on and we had limited time.
goal: produce recommendations, not cases
Our goal was not to produce more and more cases, but to empha-
size the recommendations. That is why we were looking at either
individual cases where people were forthcoming or at illustrative
cases. We were unable in some instances to have people come for-
ward, but in a majority of the cases, they did come forward.
Mr. Smith. Would it be your suggestion that there be a followup
Truth Commission again to sift through the remaining cases, and
there must be thousands of them, because of time constraints and
For the record, will you enlighten us with how large a staff you
did have, because you were entrusted with a Herculean task?
Mr. Buergenthal. Our staff consisted of between 15 and 20 in-
dividuals. As for your first question we have not discussed this sub-
ject, so I am speaking for myself only. I am not sure that would
necessarily recommend another Truth Commission.
FROM DEATH SQUADS TO A NEW, JUST SOCIETY
But there is one area that we left somewhat unexplored that
troubles us, and we say so in the report. This is the area that con-
cerns the Death Squads. We deal with the Death Squads, we de-
scribed the phenomenon, but we did not have at our disposal the
type of investigative tools that we would need to be able to pierce
the veil of secrecy that covers this whole phenomenon.
There we feel strongly that it is very, very important for the fu-
ture of El Salvador to find the people, particularly the financial
backers, who made the Death Squads possible. That can only be
done by agencies that have the necessary investigative instruments
to do it. There were of course thousands of individual cases listed
in our annex with which we do not deal, but as far as the Death
Squads are concerned, we leave with trepidation.
Mr. FlGUEREDO. I want to stress the point that has just been
made by the Mr. Buergenthal. We do make a recommendation first
to the Government of El Salvador and invite those who can, inter-
national government institutions and others, and we invite particu-
larly you and others to look into this matter.
Mr. Betancur [through translator]. The whole basis of our rec-
ommendation is really a search to stop impunity. Impunity is what
gave rise to this war. The people in El Salvador felt there was no
longer any justice in their system, and so they opted for taking the
law into their own hands. That is what we really seek to put an
end to, the impunity.
We believe that the cornerstone of the new society in El Salvador
must be a just society, a society permeated by clarity, justice and
fairness. In order to achieve this just society, it is imperative that
the justice system be restructured, beginning with the removal of
the vast majority of the judges and starting at the very top, the
president of the Supreme Court of El Salvador, and then on down
the lists of judges.
OPPORTUNITY OF THE ACCUSED TO RESPOND
Mr. Smith. Could I ask you, I think I heard you correctly to testi-
mony that people who were accused were permitted the oppor-
tunity to respond. Is there a record of either people from the FMLN
or the government security forces or military having responded to
the accusations against them?
Mr. Buergenthal. I am not sure what you mean by "record."
Mr. Smith. When a body of evidence, whether it be overwhelm-
ing, sufficient or substantial, was gathered pointing a finger at an
individual, whether they are government people or FMLN people,
were they given an opportunity to respond to the charges? And if
so, who responded, and is there a record of that response?
Mr. Buergenthal. First of all, I think I should make very clear
that almost 90 percent of all of our information is confidential. We
were in fact authorized to do that. Without confidentiality, we
would not have received any information.
I should add, too, that as far as responses are concerned, most
of the people we asked to appear appeared. There were some who
did not and a few whom we could not find, but the vast majority
of the individuals we invited to appear appeared.
Now, in terms of confrontation, because of the manner in which
we operated, to confront somebody in that society with the person
he accused is often to guarantee his immediate execution.
Mr. Smith. I did not mean the person. I meant the information
to implicate. For instance, did General Ponce or the FMLN leaders
who are named in the report provide a rebuttal to the accusations
levied against them?
Mr. Buergenthal. We interviewed General Ponce and the oth-
Mr. Smith. Was that made public?
Mr. Buergenthal. No, none of our information was made public.
WITNESSES FEAR RETRIBUTION
Mr. Smith. I can understand witnesses who would fear retribu-
tion. Have there been any instances where people who came for-
ward have been either harassed or hurt in any way? But for those
who were accused, is that information going to be made available?
Mr. Buergenthal. I am not sure I understand which informa-
tion you are talking about.
Mr. Smith. If someone is accused of a crime, and these are hor-
rific war crimes that their names are attached to, they apparently
have responded in conversations with your commission. Will that
information be made available so that we know what the response
is, whether it is FMLN or the government people?
Mr. Buergenthal. In a number of cases we indicate what the
response was, that people denied the charges. In other cases, there
is also evidence of who appeared. It was only when we were asked
to guarantee confidentiality that it was not.
Mr. Figueredo. Perhaps it might be useful for this subcommit-
tee to know that at the end of our activity, we were very seriously
concerned that despite the recommendations of the ad hoc commis-
sion, which came up with a list of military officers to be dismissed
by President Cristiani as provided for in the Peace Accords, there
were a number of them which the President decided not to dismiss.
But the list was kept confidential.
We expressed concern to the Secretary General of the United Na-
tions that, since we were looking at cases and we were unaware
of the names of the 100 or so that were on the ad hoc commission
list, it could happen that there might be a coincidence of names
that would come forth in our cases that would have been kept by
President Cristiani. The consequence of this could be that some of
the enemies that brought the findings of the cases could perfectly
reveal in the general context of those cases that came forward to
us. That would put at risk the lives of those who came forward and
had confidential testimony.
TRUTH AND JUSTICE WILL FORM A NEW SOCIETY
Mr. Smith. From the perspective of fostering reconciliation and
suggesting that those individual's names be kept out of politics for
10 years or for life, for certain other types of activities, do you have
a sense with a reformed judicial system in El Salvador that certain
actions should be taken in the future, or would you think that that
would be beyond your mandate?
Secondly, since names are named with regard to American citi-
zens who were butchered and killed, is there a sense of what this
government ought to be thinking of along the lines of extradition
so that justice can be finally meted down to those who committed
Mr. Betancur [through translator]. We have considered all
along that discovering the truth is essential to create a new society
in El Salvador. We had received some pressure trying to prevent
us from naming names.
When we first arrived in El Salvador, we were urged by the high
officials, from the President to the high command of the armed
forces, they all urged us to name names precisely with the argu-
ment that institutions are not the ones that commit crimes. It is
individuals who commit crimes.
By December of 1992, when we were winding up our work, we
again were approached by the authorities but this time the mes-
sage was exactly to the contrary. They asked us not to name
names. They considered that to be a dangerous development. These
were the self-same people who had first urged us to come out with
Our reaction to them in December was to say "if that is the case,
if we do not give out names, then indeed the institutions are guilty
of the crimes."
Take, for example, the case of the Jesuits. It is a fact that they
were killed by a group of officers from the battalion who were given
prison sentences of 30 years. If no names could be given out, then
it should be the institution that would have to be dissolved. No
According to the Salvadoran constitution, the commander in chief
the armed forces is the President of the Republic. This would mean
that he would be the ultimate person responsible.
So our response to this was, these crimes were committed by in-
dividuals. The names have to be given out of those human beings
who willingly and knowingly accept and commit this type of crime.
We are convinced that the truth will act as a sort of blessed holy
water that will cleanse Salvadoran society.
U.S. GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO CRIMES AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS
Mr. Smith. Left open is what the followup ought to be. I take it
perhaps that was done by design. It seems to me that especially by
highlighting and naming names in crimes that had been committed
against U.S. citizens, it leaves open a burden, moral and legal, on
our own government for a review of these cases with regards to
what action this government might take. Perhaps the information
you have could be shared with the Justice Department attorneys.
I did not get any sense in reading through those cases you high-
lighted of Americans whether or not they were overwhelming or
sufficient circumstances. Perhaps you can provide for the record
what kind of information you had for those. Perhaps that could be
provided to our Government.
Mr. BUERGENTHAL. That is in the report. Each individual case
and finding, you will note that we indicate the weight of evidence
on which the finding was based.
APPROPRIATENESS OF THE TRUTH COMMISSION CONCEPT TO OTHER
Mr. Smith. I would ask one final question. Maybe it applies to
the region or perhaps anywhere else in the world, as to whether
or not in your view the Truth Commission idea or concept might
not be applied to other nations as well.
Earlier today we had a meeting with Mr. Lacayo from Nicaragua.
I broached the question since there had been serious allegations
very serious, leveled against his government and Mrs. Chamorro,
whether they be true or not, they deserve an investigation and an
impartial look. I got a sense that he would not be averse to that
at all. I came away with a view I might be for it.
I hope something like this might be triggered to sift through so
that the democratic experiment in Nicaragua does not go awry and
the hopes and expectations for that country, which are very high,
are not undermined.
Perhaps you would like to speak as to whether or not you think
this model might be applied elsewhere.
As you said, Mr. President, there is a cleansing sense when the
truth is out. As the chairman said, "The truth will set you free,"
when he quoted Christ.
Mr. Buergenthal. As you know, this is the first time such com-
mission format was used, the first time that a commission was
used, which was composed of three individuals who are not nation-
als of the particular country being investigated. In some cases, that
is probably the only way tnat a credible report on what happened
can be prepared.
For that reason, our sense is that the establishment of the Truth
Commission set a precedent. It will probably be used and probably
should be used in many other countries. In some countries, it may
not be the right tool, but on the whole, it probably provides a very
useful instrument for investigating past violence and then for com-
ing up with a credible finding that hopefully puts at rest the dis-
pute as to what happened, what is and what is not true.
Mr. Figueredo. I understand that this subcommittee will listen
to some other views of people from El Salvador when we leave the
subcommittee. We were addressed by the important members of
the Salvadoran Government with respect to both committees, the
ad hoc and the Truth Commission.
Their reasoning was it might not have been necessary for the
peace process. This is not for us to answer. But without this instru-
ment peace might not have been achieved in the time it was
Probably one of the parties could argue very forcefully their
views in this regard. But we have no doubt in our mind that this
is instrument breaking new ground in human rights, as the profes-
sor has said, and there is no doubt in our minds that instruments
similar to this should be encouraged, encouraged in this hemi-
sphere and encouraged in other parts of the world.
Mr. Smith. I thank you very much for your pioneering work on
world peace and peace in El Salvador.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Menendez.
Mr. Menendez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As I listened to the testimony, the shocking events in the past
of what happened in El Salvador come vividly back to mind with
the shocking evidence of your report. I believe you entitled your re-
port Delaguda La Esperanza, "From Madness to Hope."
Let's hope that both the Government of El Salvador and others
involved will embrace the findings of your report and more impor-
tantly the recommendations of your report.
ALLEGATIONS OF DEATH SQUAD ACTIVITIES BY SALVADORANS IN
In that regard, I noticed on page 4 of your joint statement that
the commission found that Salvadoran exiles living in Miami
helped administer death squad activities between 1980 and 1983,
and I quote your statement, "With apparently little serious atten-
tion from the U.S. Government."
You continue that paragraph, talking about death squads re-
maining a threat to the peaceful El Salvador and you recommend
a special investigation to name their organizers and financiers.
How did you come to that statement, "With apparently little at-
tention from the U.S. Government?" It seems you made a point of
making that statement. Would you expound for the committee?
Mr. Buergenthal. I will answer that question, but I have to an-
swer it in a somewhat circumspect way. I think that you may wish
to know that I was given access to certain confidential information.
I was given clearance for certain information. The information that
I received in various cases enabled us to reach certain conclusions,
not necessarily about this particular case.
Mr. Menendez. Your answer only raises other questions in my
mind. I will try to approach them. Obviously you will answer as
best as you can.
When you say you were given clearance for information, was it
here or abroad, your source of clearance for information?
Mr. Buergenthal. I was provided access to U.S. information, to
certain U.S. information.
Mr. Menendez. And that U.S. information which obviously this
committee would be able to obtain gave rise for you to make the
statement that — which part of your sentence on page 4, that the
Salvadoran exiles living in Miami helped administer the death
squad activities or that the United States showed little serious at-
Mr. Buergenthal. As you correctly noted, I did not answer this
Mr. Menendez. Let me ask you this: You made a public state-
ment on page 4 which really raises serious questions for the com-
mittee. The chairman pointed out, and rightfully so, that at a time
when I was not a Member of this committee, obviously I was not
here, that people came to the United States and made representa-
In your statement here, you have gone out of your wav before the
■committee to cite that people living in your country helped admin-
ister debt squad activity during a certain period of time. You could
have ended there, but you go on to say the U.S. Government paid
Is this a fair statement, that they knew of these activities by Sal-
vadoran exiles in Miami?
Mr. Buergenthal. I would like to make it clear to the committee
that the three members of the commission reached an agreement
and Dr. Figueredo and myself deferred to Professor Buergenthal
and he in effect represented the commission for the purpose of ob-
taining this information.
You are looking at me now to answer the question. The answer
is that it seems to me, as the chairman suggested, that if you are
going to investigate U.S. policy that that would be one point to in-
vestigate. We have made a report based on the confidential infor-
mation we have received and we will stick by our conclusion on
DID U.S. PERMIT VIOLATIONS OF LAW?
Mr. Menendez. So I will take it that is a fair statement. In any
event, for my view of it, if you are willing to make the statement,
and I understand the constraints you have, but if you had are will-
ing to make the statement for public consumption that certain acts
within U.S. jurisdiction, the confines of the United States' jurisdic-
tion, here in the United States, subject to U.S. law, that in fact Sal-
vadoran exiles helped administer death squad activities, then I
think it is incumbent upon this committee — and I hope, Mr. Chair-
man, that you will pursue vigorously those actions that are alleged
here because I think that it is important to know how we would
permit those types of violations of law to go unchecked and
unpursued by our own law.
AMNESTY — AN APPROPRIATE ACTION?
President Cristiani has called for an amnesty for both sides of
the situation, I think partly as a result of your report. I wonder,
as I listened to your recommendations in your report, is there a
valid reason to consider this as an appropriate course of action?
Will it not undermine — because amnesty is, depending on how we
define amnesty, it can be very finite or it can be very broad.
Your recommendations about removing certain people from ap-
propriate governmental and military positions, your recommenda-
tions about barring others for a period of a decade in terms of par-
ticipating, your other recommendations here could fall within the
ambit of amnesty.
I would like to hear from the commission their views?
Mr. Figueredo. Mr. Menendez, we purposely did not react in our
report to this particular issue. We did not do so, and I could elabo-
rate a little bit in the sense that at the end of our work in El Sal-
vador, we requested all parties concerned what would you expect
to see in our recommendations. We invited them to provide us with
their views. After all, this is a process that belongs and will be seen
by the Salvadoran people, not by this or that peoples, which they
agreed upon under question of the Truth Commission that came
One of the submissions we obtained, was that we should rec-
ommend a Punto Final of amnesty. We deliberated very exten-
sively. You cannot expect from a sponsored U.N. commission with
a professor who has been 30 years in human rights dealings, with
a former President and former foreign minister, that we could ig-
nore both the treaties and all international law on the subject. We
therefore took the position of not addressing this particular issue,
though we discussed with those who urged us to take it into consid-
eration — as he said, it is for you, the Salvadoran people, to decide
what you have to do.
PRESIDENT CRISTIANI PLAYS LEAD ROLE
In that regard, I would only react to what Mr. Torricelli, the
chairman of the committee, said at the beginning. We understand,
we praise the role that President Cristiani is playing in El Sal-
vador. He is the president of peace. He is the captain of his ship.
He requires understanding and cooperation of all of El Salvador. It
is not for us to say what he is proposing and what others continue
Mr. Betancur [through translator]. In our report, we recognized
the fact that both during the war and during the peace process
some outstanding and remarkable personalities emerged. These
same persons who were devoted to the war were the ones that
brought about the peace, and in the end of our report we state very
clearly that it is up to the Salvadoran society to decide how it will
deal with its own future.
TRUTH COMMISSION EXPECTS ADOPTION OF ITS RECOMMENDATIONS
Mr. Menendez. Let me ask you this: You certainly issued a se-
ries of recommendations. Would it be fair to say that you would be
less than satisfied, tremendously disappointed if your recommenda-
tions are not fulfilled after all of the work you did?
You had two goals, and I understand as I tried to prepare and
read your mandate, it was, one, to find the truth and, two, to rec-
ommend within a certain ambit those items that you felt could, in
fact, create opportunities for a longer lasting peace and democracy
in El Salvador.
Is it at least minimally fair to say that it is your expectation that
those recommendations that you issued are going to be adopted by
Mr. Buergenthal. Mr. Menendez, it is really more than our ex-
pectation. Here we need to recall that both parties to the Salva-
doran conflict in the peace accords specifically undertook to comply
with our recommendations, and it is not our hope but really our ex-
pectation that they will live up to the commitment they assumed,
and it is also our hope that the United States will support these
recommendations in order that these commitments are complied
Mr. Menendez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A BLOODY OFFENSIVE
If I may, and I hope that possibly you found out in your examina-
tion and questioning of people in El Salvador, recognizing — and it
is very strange — it obviously was the creation of the news media,
and I am not suggesting that the killing of the priests and so forth
was justified, but how many other people were killed in that par-
ticular 2-day battle or whatever, 3-day battle that they had? Does
anybody have a legal number or a semilegal number, a
Mr. Figueredo. When the Jesuits were assassinated, there was
a major offensive of the FMLN, probably the position-sustained the
goals of that offensive and whatever happened during that offen-
It is stated in the report that on the 15th a meeting that took
place of the high command, the view by the high command and the
commanding officers fighting in the capital was that the situation
was so serious, so tremendously serious, that approval to use air-
planes and artillery in the capital, which needed the consent of the
President, was requested so that the capital would not fall either
in the hands of the FMLN or in a state similar to what happened
That position was adopted from a purely military standpoint, ap-
proval was subsequently given, and it happened. We do not have
a recount of exactly the numbers or
Mr. Buergenthal. Yes, we do.
Mr. Figueredo. In the testimony that we received, which doesn't
necessarily mean that that was trie exact number, but the direct
testimony we received, on page 37 of our report, we said 292 vic-
tims. It says Emilio Ponce, chief of the high command informed
that there had been 446 soldiers killed, 1,228 wounded, and 1,902
guerrillas killed and 1,109 wounded in that particular offensive.
Mr. Ballenger. That is close to 5,000 or 6,000 people killed in
that particular area, and the news media, as far as I know, the
news media up here never reported anything except the Jesuits. I
am not trying to justify the Jesuits, but obviously somebody was
responsible for 4,000 or 5,000 people getting killed in that particu-
The 10-year suspension that you are recommending, I can under-
stand because you have the names of the chiefs of staff and the
generals and so forth, but that 10-year suspension, does that in-
clude maybe some of the witnesses who are going to be in the next
Mr. Buergenthal. I am sorry, Mr. Ballenger, the next wit-
SOME FORMER RIGHTS VIOLATORS AND THE PEACE PROCESS
Mr. Ballenger. You know, you recommended for people that
were involved in these killings and the deaths and so forth, it was
recommended that they have 10-year suspensions or lifetime sus-
pensions from being involved in the government in any political op-
eration. Obviously, it could apply to some FMLN people, but you
would be less likely to know who they were. Could it possibly apply
to some of the people in the next panel?
Mr. Buergenthal. It may well be, yes. We have a listing, Mr.
Ballenger, listing all of the people.
Mr. Ballenger. Oh, really. Let me ask you one strange thing,
and you have to accept the fact that I know these people, but the
fact that — how do you personally reconcile that some of the people
you named, namely General Ponce and Vides Casanova have been
the strong supporters of the peace movement, have been there to
reduce the army, have done all these various and sundry things,
and at the same time seem to have committed themselves to very
definitely dangerous things.
Mr. Figueredo. I think President Betancur in his earlier re-
marks said what I am going to repeat to you. We recognize in those
12 years there were acts of which certain individuals from one side
or another, at least in what we looked at, had responsibilities and
violations according to our analysis and the methodology of human
rights violations, but we recognize as well that these individuals
did play a positive role in reaching agreements, in bringing about
the peace accords.
TRUTH COMMISSION MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS; SALVADORAN PEOPLE
MAKE FINAL DECISION
We did say that specifically, but it was not for us to weigh these
considerations because we do not act as a tribunal, and we have
made the recommendations that we make in our report, but the ul-
timate decision is for Salvadoran people. This is why I stress, Mr.
Ballenger, that we recognize President Cristiani, the responsibility
he has to carry forward, and he will have to discuss his suggestions
with the Salvadoran people. So if they decide one way or another,
it is the Salvadorans who will have the future in their hands. We
did not pass judgment as to whether they should do it this way or
they should do it that way.
Mr. Buergenthal. If I might just make another addition to this.
I agree with Dr. Figueredo, but I would also like to add that in the
time that we have come to know El Salvador, it is not impossible
to assume that some of these people never really believed that they
themselves would be removed. They may have participated in the
peace process believing that they would be protected, that they
would continue with their immunity while others would have to go.
MILITARY ORDERS THE DEATH OF THE JESUITS
Mr. Ballenger. Could I ask, at the meeting of the colonels and
the generals on the night of the 15th when the decision was made
evidently to go ahead and use as much force as necessary to save
the city, was it at that particular time that these people justified
or ordered the death of the Jesuits?
Mr. Figueredo. We described in the report in that case the con-
victions that we obtained out of all our thorough investigation, the
general meeting that took place where more than 30 or 40 people
was convened specifically to handle, from a military standpoint, the
offensive that was a very serious offensive. We describe in the re-
port what happened.
Mr. Ballenger. Well, let me — the three areas of guilt where you
have drawn the three areas, and at that particular meeting where
the generals, the colonels decided that they would kill the Jesuits,
somebody must have actually reported to you specifically that these
three or four gentlemen made the decision that they would kill the
Jesuits at that meeting. If they don't have that, I mean is there a
definite word of mouth proof that somebody said that or is this an
assumption on one level or two levels or a third level?
COLONEL ORDERS THE KILLING OF THE JESUITS
Mr. Figueredo. If you allow me, I will read from the report,
page 47. The 15th of November — I am translating, free translation.
On the 15th of November at around 6:30 p.m. there was a meet-
ing of the high command with all military commanders to adopt
new measures confronting the offensive. The Chief of Staff, Ponce,
authorized the elimination of union leaders and renowned members
and supporters of the FMLN. It was also decided in that meeting
to increase the air force attacks and to use artillery and armored
vehicles to dislodge the FMLN from the areas they controlled.
The Minister of Defense, General Rafael Humberto Larios Lopez,
requested that all who were in agreement should raise their
hand — no, if anyone disagreed with, he should raise his hand. No
one raised his hand. It was also agreed to consult these military
After the meeting, some officers remained in the meeting room
of the high command, talking to each other. One of these groups
was discussing policy — General Juan Rafael Bustillo, Colonel Fran-
cisco Elena Fuentes, Colonel Juan Orlando Zepeda, Colonel
Inocente Orlando Montano.
Colonel Ponce called Colonel Guillermo Alfredo Benavides and in
front of these four officials ordered him to eliminate Father
Ellacuria without leaving any witness.
He ordered as well to use the Batallon Atlacatl unit that 2 days
earlier had undertaken a search of the grounds of the Jesuits uni-
Mr. Ballenger. Pretty clear-cut.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Gallegly.
Mr. Gallegly. I have nothing, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Royce.
Mr. Royce. Yes, let me ask one question.
USING THE REPORT FOR THE RIGHT PURPOSE
I think that the Commission's report is really intended to pro-
mote national reconciliation. How can we work to make sure that
it is not used for the purpose of revenge and it is not just used for
the purpose of politics? How do we move on from here? Could I ask
you for your opinion on that?
Mr. Betancur [through translator]. Yes, Mr. Royce, the whole
aim of our report is reflected in its title, "From Madness to Hope."
It was our intention to help this transition of the Salvadoran peo-
ple from the situation of madness to something that affords hope
in the future and to create a society the basis of which has to be
the respect of human dignity, individual human dignity.
There is an historic constant that has shown that constant viola-
tions of human rights create a reaction that upgrades the level of
abuse of human rights. This is the chain we want to cut. An invisi-
ble thread runs through our report. However painful the cases that
are reflected in the report, it is our hope that this will lead to a
The way that one can help the Salvadoran people as they come
out of the ashes to rebuild a new society is to bolster their efforts
to create that new society and free them.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith. Just very briefly let me thank you for the second
round of questioning, Mr. Chairman.
I just wanted to ask our panel, again getting to the unfinished
business, because it is extremely important as you have done to
chronicle the most notorious cases and to receive information as
you did from people who came under condition of anonymity to give
SCOPE OF THE REPORT
Did you find that there were a large number of cases? For in-
stance, if you could put a percentage on it, if that is possible, of
those cases that you think you have provided us a clue as to what
happened and perhaps those cases that remain untouched, because,
again, a three-member panel looking at over a decade of atrocity
can't even hope to touch on all of these cases, and secondly, since
we all know that from the report that the military was implicated
as perpetrating the majority of these — or security forces of these
various crimes, how would you judge the accessibility of informa-
tion regarding FMLN: Was it more difficult? Was there less of a
paper trail, if you will? Were people more or less reluctant? Did you
have access to a sufficient number of people? Again, just so we get
at the truth of what really happened.
I was to El Salvador on four separate occasions, twice in regard
to assassinations, because that was one of the issues that I have
and continue to push very strongly throughout the world.
I remember on one particular trip hearing a number of alleged
atrocities being laid at the door of the FMLN dealing with the so
called "foot taker offer mines" that were being used.
My question really goes to how much of that information needs
to be gotten out, again, looking at a second round of this, if you
will, if that is necessary?
Mr. Figueredo. Mr. Smith, your reasoning is persistent and I
think very important, because it is important for this subcommit-
tee, and for all of us, to have contributed to the Salvadoran process
and assist the Salvadorans with this process.
MANY CASES REMAIN
Let me clarify certain points. First of all, the report is a rel-
atively small report. I would say that it was based on what the peo-
ple of El Salvador told us and according to a specific methodology
which is hereby sustained.
But there is a very large annex. That is a listing of all the vic-
tims who were identified to us, and we searched very thoroughly
all the lists of disappearances and our victims which the U.N. sys-
tems and other organizations submitted.
So this is one answer to your question, in the annex, you can see.
As to the FMLN responsibility, let me put it this way: We did re-
quest the armed forces specifically on several occasions in writing
submit to us the cases they were charging the FMLN with, and we
requested also the human rights governmental office to do the
same thing, submit to us all the cases, not only the cases at which
you were reported, but cases attributed to the FMLN. We did ob-
tain very, very large numbers. As a matter of fact, one day we re-
ceived, I don't know whether it was in October or November 8 or
10 folders, with thousands and thousands of cases.
We looked at this material thoroughly and, as a result of that,
we exchanged views with them. In most of the cases, it was only
a paper clipping with an indication this was done by such and
such. So we invited them in writing and in meetings with our staff
to give us more information because we have a methodology and
we are not changing methodology, we simply would like you to sub-
mit more evidence.
They did not come forward, but we did look into those cases
where we had secondary evidence that indeed it was — had been re-
ported, and we looked also to primary evidence as well, and we saw
that those who came with the 2,000, some of them specifically were
invited and we looked at these cases. So I hope that I am clarifying
your point of view. We did apply a very thorough systematic way
of looking at the cases, and we were looking for them.
Now, as to the cooperation by the FMLN, they did indeed come
and not only reported on issues but names either in a personal ca-
pacity, some of the commanders came and they had families or oth-
ers or whatever and they reported and gave us evidence, but they
also provided information which was helpful in finding the truth.
In certain cases, their arguments to us were not convincing, par-
ticularly their justification for their action and why there were not
violations of human rights. Their argument was they did not vio-
late human rights. Our position is that they did, and we said so
in our report.
Perhaps Professor Buergenthal can elaborate a little more on
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Doctor.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
AMERICANS, TOO, MUST SEARCH FOR TRUTH
Your work now concludes a search for the truth about El Sal-
vador. For those of us who are Americans, we now must begin our
own search for truth. The war in El Salvador touched not only the
people of that country but in a very real way the people of this
country as well.
I would like to begin perhaps our own search for an American
truth in this tragedy by just briefly reading what remains central
to this debate: "Presidential determination Number 82—4, January
28, 1982. I hereby determine that the Government of El Salvador
is making a concerted and significant effort to comply with inter-
nationally recognized human rights. I hereby determine that the
Government of El Salvador is achieving substantial control over all
elements of its own armed forces. I hereby determine that the Gov-
ernment of El Salvador has made a good faith effort to investigate
the murders of the six U.S. citizens in El Salvador in December
1980 and January 1981."
Based on your report, we now know that 48 days before this re-
port was issued, allowing the continuance of American military aid
to El Salvador, 700 men, women and children were massacred, ba-
bies were thrown in the air and caught on the ends of bayonets,
children were machine-gunned as they slept, whole families de-
stroyed. Twelve months Defore, four labor activists were machine-
gunned in a hotel; 19 months before the assassination of Arch-
It goes to the core, the very fiber of the ability of a free people
to make informed judgments about the most central issues Defore
our country, when in good faith Congress comes together with an
American President asking only that we act based on the truth to
be so deceived.
Some may choose to believe that it was simply a mistake of judg-
ment that there was misinformation. I wish I could. You have done
a great service not only to the people of El Salvador but indeed to
the international community. Thank you for being with us today.
Our next panel, please. Will the witnesses please take their
seats. If the audience would please be seated or leave the hearing
For our next panel, we are joined by Jorge Handal, Coordinator
of the FMLN, accompanied by Salvador Samayoa and Ana Maria
Mr. Handal, would you like to begin by making a statement?
Welcome before the committee. We are pleased to have each of you
with us. Any statement you would like to make at the outset, we
would be glad to receive.
STATEMENT OF SCHAFIK JORGE HANDAL, COORDINATOR, PO-
LITICAL COMMISSION OF THE FARABUNDO MARTI LIBERA-
TION FRONT (FMLN), ACCOMPAMED BY SALVADOR
SAMAYOA AND ANA MARIA GUADELUPE MARTINEZ
Mr. Handal [through translator]. First of all, thank you for the
Mr. Chairman, the peace process in El Salvador has brought in-
valuable achievements for the Salvadoran people. It could leave an
important legacy for democracy in Latin America and for the future
of United States' relations with other nations in our American con-
IN IMPLEMENTATION OF PEACE AGREEMENTS, MUCH WORK REMAINS
Nevertheless, in the implementation of the peace accords, critical
aspects needed to consolidate a stable and lasting peace still have
not been complied with. In the first place, the purging of the army
has not been completed and everything appears to indicate that the
subordination of the military to civilian control is encountering re-
sistance which threatens the future of democracy and the viability
of the implementation of agreements regarding the armed forces.
For example, the military leadership is obstinately preserving the
political intelligence apparatus and files, despite clear provisions to
the contrary in the accords and in the amendments to the Constitu-
The armed forces and the defense ministry published a pamphlet
on March 1 entitled "The Threat to Sovereignty and the Destruc-
tion of the State" in which in addition to reviving positions adopted
during the cold war, they insinuate that they will forcefully oppose
the Truth Commission report.
SERIOUS PROBLEMS PLAGUE NEW NATIONAL CIVILIAN POLICE
Along the same lines, it should be noted that numerous persons
from the military intelligence apparatus and the dismantled public
security forces have been transferred to important positions in the
academy charged with preparing the policemen and officers in the
new National Civilian Police Force, from which the accords and the
Constitution exclude members of the military.
In addition to this deficiency, there are other suspicious and seri-
ous deficiencies in the admissions system, budgetary obstacles and
other irregularities. All this has delayed and can qualitatively af-
fect the organization of the National Civilian Police, which is so es-
sential for democratization.
FMLN SUPPORTS TRUTH COMMISSION
The Truth Commission's report is a difficult test for the process.
It is, in fact, an unprecedented step in the right direction, as it
brings to an end decades of coverups and strengthens the possibili-
ties of putting an end to the impunity enjoyed by civilians and mili-
tary personnel with the power to trample on the entire society of
The FMLN fully supports the recommendations of the Commis-
sion and will contribute to generating a positive and mature reac-
tion by the entire nation to this difficult but absolutely necessary
test for the nascent Salvadoran democracy.
FMLN CONCERNED ABOUT SOME PROGRAMS IN PEACE ACCORDS
Regarding other matters, we are concerned about the land trans-
fers and the programs for reintegration of former FMLN combat-
ants into civilian life. Although these programs are established in
the peace accords, the Government of El Salvador, alleging inflexi-
bility in the terms of U.S. aid that support those programs, is im-
posing an excessively slow pace and creating multiple stumbling
blocks to their compliance. This problem could be a source of new
outbreaks of social conflict.
We also wish to express our concern in regard to the electoral
process with particular reference to the register of citizens qualified
to vote, as it is plagued with defects. Conditions are developing
which could produce a massive exclusion of voters. This would cer-
tainly favor the governing party, Arena, and its allies.
IN NEW EL SALVADOR, ALL MUST COMPLY WITH ACCORDS
Mr. Chairman, we are convinced that all these problems can be
overcome. It is important that all the accords be complied with
faithfully, now that the FMLN has definitively abandoned armed
struggle. In this way, we are guaranteeing that in El Salvador
today no one will conclude that arms are more effective than politi-
INTERNATIONAL AID IS CRUCIAL
In this context, the continuity of the political attention and eco-
nomic aid which the international community has given to our
country is vital. The U.S. military aid, if it is given, should con-
tinue to be contingent upon compliance with the peace accords and
the full subordination of the military to civilian authority. Eco-
nomic aid should be guaranteed, maintaining it to reinforce that
We are also concerned by the proximity of the expiration of DED
status, deferred enforce departure status, for tens of thousands of
Salvadorans who live in the United States. Their abrupt and mas-
sive return to El Salvador would produce an enormous negative im-
pact in the social and political arenas, and would without a doubt
be counterproductive for the process of peace and democracy. We
hope for an extension of DED which will benefit all Salvadorans
and give the peace process a greater chance for success.
Finally, we would like to reaffirm our full commitment to peace
and democratization in El Salvador. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Handal appears in the appen-
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you very much, Mr. Handal. Thank you
for your testimony.
Would you characterize your reaction to the Truth Commission's
report as a total acceptance without any contradiction that you
would offer? I pose these questions to everyone.
FMLN ACCEPTS TRUTH COMMISSION REPORT
Mr. Handal [through translator]. We fully support the conclu-
sions of the Truth Commission, as we have said publicly. And we
support and accept all their recommendations.
Mr. Torricelli. This means that you do not contradict any of
the findings that they have reached with regard to the FMLN?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Yes, that is true.
FMLN DOES NOT DENY MURDERING AMERICAN SOLDIERS
Mr. TORRICELLI. Do you understand that this is very difficult for
us because it means we are sitting across from people whose orga-
nization participated in the murder of American servicemen? Was
it indeed the policy of the FMLN that unarmed American service-
men in San Salvador were a legitimate target?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. During a long period of the
war in El Salvador, the U.S. administration was totally and abso-
lutely involved in the search for complete destruction and wiping
out of us, of the FMLN. The restrictions that the U.S. Congress put
on this assistance in El Salvador on the ground were not respected.
In this context, the FMLN, even though it always observed special
care in not affecting the personnel or the interests of the United
States in El Salvador, it was very difficult to always observe this
Mr. Torricelli. What I am trying to reach is whether murdering
American servicemen sitting in a restaurant was within the policy
of the FMLN or whether this is a rogue operation outside of operat-
ing instructions. The report concludes that these were the proce-
dures of the FMLN and this was considered a legitimate target,
and you have endorsed the report.
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Believe I was explaining this
point. There was a period when the activity of the United States
in relation to the Salvadoran military began to change, and at one
point there appeared the route of negotiations, and the FMLN was
very careful at that point with U.S. interests and personnel. And
we should remember that during — in this respect during the offen-
sive in 1989, remember the behavior of the FMLN in the Sheraton
Hotel and also with the many family members of U.S. personnel
who were living in the neighborhood of Escalone where we oper-
Mr. Torricelli. The report concludes that it was the policy of
the FMLN to also engage in the assassination of local political
leaders and notes the killing of particular mayors. This was indeed
the policy, the strategy of the FMLN?
FMLN: FOCUS ON IMPLEMENTARY REPORT NOT DISCUSSING IT
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Do not really want to discuss
the report of the Truth Commission. We have accepted it in full.
Even though we may have different reasoning or justifications for
some of the activities that are blamed on the FMLN, we don't want
to get into polemics or discussions about the report because we
don t want to weaken it or weaken its impact because of what it
represents and how important it is for El Salvador. We must focus
on carrying out the recommendations of the report.
Mr. Torricelli. We all want to see the recommendations of the
report carried out, but part of the process of national reconciliation,
both among the Salvadoran people and between the United States
and the people of El Salvador is knowing the truth. I can only con-
clude from tne report, the question I have asked, and your response
to it, that indeed those were both policies of the FMLN during the
course of the war.
THE UNITED STATES ABHORS THE SLAYING OF UNARMED CIVILIANS
It appears so obvious that I assume I don't have to tell you how
most of us would feel about that and how we regard people who
would murder unarmed civilian officials and American personnel.
There are words for it in our vocabulary. You are our guests here
today, and since you know what undoubtedly is on my mind, I will
spare saying them to you.
I would, however, like to go to, as you have suggested, rec-
ommendations for the future.
Mr. Samayoa [through translator]. Mr. Chairman, I would like to
say, with all due respect, if you want to go in this direction or enter
into this area, you must understand how we feel sitting here before
representatives of a government who financed, armed, fully sup-
ported, trained the Salvadoran military which was responsible for
murdering thousands of Salvadorans.
Mr. Torricelli. I am not here to defend American support for
the war in El Salvador. I didn't vote for it, I didn't believe in it,
and I never wanted any part of it. I am suggesting to you that in
our culture, as in yours, firing upon even servicemen seated at a
luncheon counter who were engaged in no combat, not known to be
doing any harm to anyone at anytime, or the civilian mayors of
communities without regard to any actions they may have under-
taken, is not, in my judgment, different in principle from the inde-
fensible actions that we have just reviewed with members of the
Truth Commission with regard to the Salvadoran military.
The Commission has made its judgment, you accept it and I ac-
cept it, but as a Representative of the American people, I could not
in all honesty face you today, true to our commitments to the fami-
lies of those young men who died, without looking you in the eye
and at least letting you know what 250 million other Americans
would say if they were seated here.
I would at this point either be glad to continue this conversation
or I will move on to the report, if that would be to your preference.
FMLN PROPOSED THE CREATION OF THE TRUTH COMMISSION
Ms. Martinez [through translator]. Before passing on to other
f>oints, I would just like to comment on the process of peace that
ed to the formation of the Truth Commission. It was the FMLN
that proposed the formation of the Truth Commission. The process
of negotiation was very long that led up to the Government of El
Salvador finally accepting the Truth Commission. And when we
proposed the formation of the Truth Commission, we knew that the
FMLN needed to be investigated by this Commission as well.
And we accept totally the consequences of the work of the Truth
Commission and you, yourselves, just heard from one of the com-
missioners that the FMLN cooperated in all regards, including
around the cases that involve the FMLN.
Mr. Torricelli. I don't want my own personal anger about the
fate that befell some individual Americans to take away from my
respect for the fact that as leaders you both sought out an imagina-
tive solution indeed with regard to the Truth Commission, one that
will set an international model for settling disputes in the future,
and my own personal admiration that I recognize the risks in-
volved for you individually in leading an army back into political
integration in your country.
I can intellectually separate my feelings about these individual
cases from an admiration for people on each side of this dispute
who, at great risk, have ended a war. I don't think that is at ques-
FMLN AGREES 10-YEAR BAN MUST APPLY TO EVERYONE
Let me further ask, if I could, you to confirm that it is your own
judgment that with members of the FMLN who were involved in
any of these crimes cited by the Truth Commission, just as with
the Salvadoran military, or others, that this ban should apply to
all for 10 years in political involvement in Salvador, at a minimum.
Mr. Handal [through translator]. That is our position. We have
said that this recommendation must apply to everyone, as the
Mr. Torricelli. As I have listened to your reaction in the popu-
lar press, I have heard you allude that the banning from public life
may not be sufficient. Is it your judgment that both with the
FMLN cases and the Salvadoran military cases that you want to
go beyond the report of the Commission?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. After analyzing the report, we
have reached this position, the FMLN, that is: The report must be
distributed and become known, especially in El Salvador. All the
recommendations must be implemented.
The commission made an evaluation of the judicial system and
judged it to be unreliable. They made judgments about the Presi-
dent of the supreme court and judges, based on this reasoning, the
commission said that justice could only be carried out in EI Sal-
vador based on a new system of administering justice. We are in
agreement with that conclusion.
In reality, the commission has gone further than we were going
THREE OPTIONS FOR ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Mr. Torricelli. Since in reality we have the Salvadoran justice
system as it is, and reform of it will take place over time, hopefully
with the building of democratic institutions, with a new leadership
in future years that does not appear to deal with what we now
know about the horrors of El Salvador in previous years, therefore,
in going forward with this report, you have three choices: to use
the justice system as it is, imperfect, to deal with the realities of
these crimes; to accept the commission report and attempt national
reconciliation by removing these people from the political process;
or taking no further action, or hoping that one day a better justice
system deals with these cases.
But that is a delay of justice.
I assume we would all like to see a greater accountability for
these crimes, but the higher priority is probably national reconcili-
ation. Your people have already suffered so much. What conclusion
do you arrive at with regard to these choices?
CHANGES IN JUDICIAL SYSTEM MUST OCCUR
Mr. Handal [through translator]. We don't see the problem in
quite the same way. These changes in the judicial system must
take place. The argument about time, it will take time, is really an
argument against making the changes. We believe that the changes
can be made quickly.
Mr. Torricelli. They are not intended as an argument against
the changes. My only point is that, as a foreigner, I am assuming
that we must come to some closure on these cases or the nation
will never heal. Either that is done through a legal process of pros-
ecution over time or it is done now based on this report.
I am asking you, if you would, to definitively state, are you pre-
pared to build the future of El Salvador based on this report, or
do you want to go into a new process as you build a new judiciary
witn a higher level of punishment? I assume, for the purpose of
judgment, we would like to have a higher punishment. But obvi-
ously you have to factor into this the factor of national reconcili-
ation, what serves the nation's interest?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. There are various aspects to be
taken into account. One is justice and the punishment of individ-
uals. The other is the reform of the country and democratization.
The Truth Commission report points in two directions. One is to
assure that these kinds of acts are not repeated. We believe that
that is the highest priority.
Some years ago the U.S. Government decided to support an effort
in El Salvador to reform the judicial system. It did not achieve any-
thing. This change in the judicial system can only be done with
measures like those that the Truth Commission proposes. It is not
a technical problem. It is a moral problem, a problem of principles
and a problem of will.
These changes are either to be made or not made. There is no
AMNESTY WOULD WEAKEN TRUTH COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
With respect to the amnesty or pardon, we don't believe that this
is the theme for today. This is not the theme of the moment. There
are two reasons for this. One is that an immediate amnesty would
tend to weaken the application of all the recommendations of the
Truth Commission, particularly the reform of the judicial system;
and second, because it would weaken the report of the Truth Com-
mission as a basis for reconciliation, once people know the names
of those who are in the Truth Commission's report and know that
many of these people continue in positions of power, what they will
feel is not reconciliation but fear.
So the first and most urgent thing is to apply the recommenda-
tions of the commission, remove them from power.
I would like to underline the difference in our case with the cases
in other countries where amnesties were applied quickly. In the
case of El Salvador, we are dealing with a very long standing cul-
ture of violence and repression against the civilian population. This
isn't a brief period in El Salvador of repression. We have behind
us a whole century of dictatorships. First, we had a dictatorship of
landholders and later a dictatorship of the military. That covers
the whole 20th century. The independence of the system of admin-
istering justice was completely asphyxiated in this period.
In Chile, for example, the government of General Pinochet was
just a moment within a longer history of democracy, respect for
rights and justice. So, in El Salvador, we need very deep, profound
changes that send roots down.
So we believe amnesty right now is really a distraction from the
main task. The moment will arrive to consider amnesty, but it is
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you.
Mr. Smith. It has been a very enlightening and I think a very
productive hearing. I do have a number of questions.
FMLN ACCEPTS COMMISSIONS FINDINGS OF VIOLENCE
Mr. Handal, a moment ago you spoke of the theme of the mo-
ment. I would respectfully suggest that such talk raises questions
that the FMLN has pretty much a pragmatic view of the world;
and yet the FMLN has accepted the Truth Commission, and that
commission's report rests on a basis of fundamental morality that
kidnappings and murders and assassination are morally wrong and
are not to be done.
FMLN policy, as my friend and colleague, Mr. Torricelli, pointed
out, was to consider U.S. military personnel legitimate targets of
attack. The submission itself points out that tnese killings were
violations of international humanitarian law. The commission
points out, again, that assassinations and disappearances and
kidnappings during the war violated human rights and humani-
tarian rights, and charges that the FMLN committed these grave
acts of violence in numbers of 400 known killings and 300 dis-
appearances during those years.
My first question: Does the FMLN absolutely renounce those tac-
tics? Do you consider them in retrospect to have been wrong, and
speaking now and into the future, do you renounce such tactics?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. I would like to repeat what I
said a little while ago that we really don't want to enter into a dis-
cussion on the report. We support without any excuses or qualifica-
tions the report of the Truth Commission and the recommenda-
tions, including regarding the FMLN. We also don't want to enter
into this discussion with you here on a theme of morality.
There are many threads to be cut, so to speak, on both sides.
Both yourselves and ourselves could enter into that.
Yes, we do want to be pragmatic. There was a war that had its
causes and it developed and it ended with a just and difficult nego-
tiation. The United States was involved during the war and in trie
negotiations. As such, we would like to see you as one of the par-
ties that accepted the negotiations and its stipulations; if you want
to reenter into the principles of conduct on both sides, that is the
sort of distraction we don't want to get into.
FMLN CONVERSION TO A POLITICAL PARTY
Mr. Smith. Since you choose not to discuss the morality of assas-
sinations and things of that kind, since the future of El Salvador
is a series of blank pages waiting to be written, does the FMLN
renounce heretofore — forever, as is said in the commission, "cause
the FMLN to renounce forever all kinds of violence"; does the
FMLN accept that?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. I believe these are known
facts, known deeds.
Mr. Smith. There is nothing wrong with reiteration on some of
Mr. Handal [through translator]. I think it is known that in ac-
cordance with the Chikobavik process, the FMLN has completed its
demobilization and converted itself into a political party. In my
original exposition, I went into various aspects that concern us
now, from now forward, that relate to the democratization and
rights in our country.
Our concerns are centered, of course, on the development of our
country — the economic, cultural, political and social development of
El Salvador. We really want to leave behind the stage of history
that meant so much pain and suffering for the Salvadoran people
for really a whole century. The Truth Commission was charged
with investigating the past 12 years, when really the history of vio-
lence against civilian society in El Salvador has a much longer his-
tory, of decades.
We, yes, have renounced the continuation of any banned activity
and we are going with or betting on the process of elections and
democratization. The ideas, the concrete proposals that were put on
the negotiating table, were all proposals that came from the
DEMOBILIZATION AND SURRENDER OF WEAPONS
Mr. Smith. I have two final questions. There have been reports
from some individuals that the FMLN did not turn over all its
weaponry in the demobilization. What assurances can you give to
this subcommittee and, more importantly, to the U.N. that indeed
the FMLN has truly demobilized and surrendered all its weapons?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. The only arms that have not
yet been destroyed are a group of surface-to-air missiles that are
in the hands of the U.N. Commission in El Salvador. But this is
perfectly legal because the destruction of the surface-to-air missiles
was linked to the completion of the process of purging of the army.
And that agreement was made. We believe that these missiles will
be destroyed soon now that Ponce has resigned and others among
the 15 named officers, who are pending, are starting to move their
As to the rest of the inventory of arms, the U.N. at this point
is satisfied with the inventory and the destruction of those arms.
EXECUTION OF CIVILIAN MAYORS
Mr. Smith. In the Truth Commission report it is noted that the
general command of the FMLN approved the killing of civilian
mayors and that the Peoples Revolutionary Army was responsible
for killing a unknown number of commandants, of having respon-
sibility for executions. One of those cited is sitting right nere, if I
am not mistaken, Anna Martinez.
Do you accept this report as being valid and the truth that you
were indeed part of the execution of mayors in El Salvador?
Ms. Martinez [through translator]. Yes, I accept this completely,
including that our leadership, when we found out the Truth Com-
mission was investigating this case, we wrote a letter ourselves and
took responsibility for these actions.
Mr. Smith. Is the number 11 in terms of the number of mayors
that have been executed accurate, because the wording is "at least
11." I have heard numbers that exceed that; are there others?
Ms. Martinez [through translator]. In our letter from EERP, the
Peoples Revolutionary Army, we established a number of 11 that
we gave to the Truth Commission, 11 we had killed. If there are
other names that the Truth Commission heard evidence about, I
don't know, but there are 11 that we have taken responsibility for.
Mr. Smith. Just so I have an understanding — perhaps nobody
else cares, but I would like to know — if you would, in killing may-
ors, what was the rationalization for that? Was it to demoralize a
city or municipality or hamlet, or were they charged with some
kind of crime?
Now, if I could add, the FMLN has agreed that democratization
is a good thing and has agreed to want to participate in the proc-
ess, and yet mayors previously who participated in democratization
were targeted for assassination.
Ms. Martinez [through translator]. As regarding the mayors,
yes, we ask it for demoralization purposes. We laid out before the
Truth Commission what our reasoning was at the time, which was
that the mayors were playing a role of political control and playing
a role in the counterinsurgency process.
The Truth Commission, as they told you, did not accept this jus-
tification and considered these unarmed civilian targets.
Mr. Handal [through translator]. I may add something, that in
the manuals, counterinsurgency manuals that the United States
was using in their work with the Salvadoran military, that the ad-
visors were using to advise the Salvadoran military in
counterinsurgency tactics, the mayors were described as playing a
key role. These mayors provided a lot of intelligence to the El Sal-
vador military and formed networks of people to inform on the
FMLN and caused us to lose many of our people.
Also these mayors were charged with organizing civilian defense
units, which were armed groups that operated against the FMLN
and also operated against civilians and caused many deaths and
I also want to point out that not all the mayors accepted this
role. The FMLN asked the mayors not to play this role and asked
them to leave the FMLN areas of control. The great majority did
so. Some of them persisted and organized aggressive actions.
But I repeat that we really don't want to get into questioning the
conclusions of the report of the Truth Commission.
Mr. Smith. But, again, as Ms. Martinez pointed out, the Truth
Commission rejected that line of reasoning in relation to the may-
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Royce.
U.N. CRITICISM OF FMLN ON DESTROYING OF WEAPONS
Mr. Royce. If you can illuminate one point for me: Last month
the U.N. Secretary General criticized both the government in terms
of compliance and the FMLN, specifically criticized you on the
issue of disarming and destroying weapons.
Now, if I understand you correctly, the only weapons you have
not destroyed are the surface-to-air missiles. Is that what the U.N.
Secretary General meant in his criticism? Is that the only source
of arms that he is referring to when he says you have not complied
with the agreement?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. The Secretary General, first of
all, made his request to the FMLN at the beginning of February.
And we have completed destruction of the arms that he was refer-
ring to. He was referring to arms that were already under the con-
trol of the U.N. in containers. This process of destruction was con-
cluded about 10 or 12 days after his remarks; and the U.N. made
a declaration at that time that, yes, the arms that the Secretary
Genera] had wanted destroyed were completely destroyed at that
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
OBSTACLES TO THE POLITICAL PROCESS
Mr. Torricelli. Just a few other thoughts, if I could. Are there
any current obstacles to the formation of the political party and the
reintroduction of the political process, of a significant nature, that
you believe pose serious problems?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. In reference to the political
party, it was delayed; but now, yes, the FMLN has been recog-
nized, legalized as a political party.
Mr. Torricelli. In all the things necessary to establish your-
selves, you have not encountered any obstacles so far?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. I could refer to a whole series
of obstacles, yes, that were placed in our way in the process of le-
galizing, but they were all finally overcome. Once in a while there
are incidents, but it is not a generalized pattern, so we don't
present any demands on this point.
But in reference to the programs for the reintegration of our ex-
combatants into civilian life, yes, there are serious obstacles.
ISSUE OF GOVERNMENT COOPERATION FOR SAFETY AND
Mr. Torricelli. That is my next question, the seriousness of
safety issues about both your leadership and those that are coming
back from their military service into civilian society. The nature of
my question is the cooperation that you are getting from the gov-
ernment in helping to ensure their safety and the kind and fre-
quency of incidents.
Mr. Handal [through translator]. In the peace accords, it was es-
tablished that the Government of El Salvador had a commitment
to provide security for the leadership of the FMLN. But in practice
it was one of the accords most difficult to implement.
And in this process there have been advances, there have been
regressions and more advances. It would take a lot of time to give
you all the details of what are the various kinds of obstacles or that
have been placed by the government in complying with this or es-
caping this responsibility.
Mr. TORRICELLI. I am trying to identify problems. Obviously, this
is a continuing one.
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Even today there is not a law
that has been passed in this regard, to cover not just FMLN leader-
ship but the problem of security for all people who are at high secu-
rity risk. It was agreed to have such a law and that has not hap-
For us, what is more similar is what is happening to the process
of reintegration of our ex-combatants. We are talking about pro-
grams for training, for transfers of land, for scholarships and for
Mr. Torricelli. In your judgment, has this been a question of
a failure of goodwill or just the practical problems of implementa-
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Both.
DEMOBILIZATION AND REDUCTION OF ARMY
Mr. Torricelli. The pace of the army's demobilization, give me
your sense of how satisfied you are or now much they may be off
the pace that is required?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. On the reduction of the armed
forces, this is how things have gone: Despite the fact that in the
peace accords it was stipulated that the plan for reducing our
armed forces should be made known to the FMLN, there have been
all kinds of impediments to our knowledge of this plan.
We did know the general parameters of the reduction plan. We
knew that the armed forces said it had 63,000 members at the end
of the war and that the plan was to reduce this to 31,000.
Mr. Torricelli. Is it your impression that this is an acceptable
pace of reduction?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Yes, I was going to refer to
what you are asking about. There was planned a 50 percent reduc-
tion, but it was not — one of the problems was that it was not pos-
sible for anyone, including the U.N., to verify if there were really
63,000 armed forces members at the end of the war. So the calcula-
tion of the 50 percent reduction isn't solid or clear.
Another aspect of this is that before the possibility that the U.S.
Congress would withhold funds for noncompliance with the purging
of the armed forces accelerated the process of reduction, so that
they would have some funds available, also there was an accord
that was established that there was to be a collection of all arms
that belonged to the armed forces, but were in the hands of private
Mr. Torricelli. How was that done?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. There are thousands of these
arms. That has not been complied with.
U.S. MILITARY AID TO EL SALVADOR
Mr. Torricelli. At all? The argument has been made that there
is a justification for some American military systems for the Salva-
doran Army because of the cost of demobilization and of monitoring
the cease-fire. Do you accept this as a valid rationale?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. The monitoring of the cease-
fire is the job of the United Nations, not of the armed forces, so
we don't accept the argument for military aid. We believe U.S. mili-
tary aid should be conditioned on full compliance with the peace ac-
Mr. Torricelli. We all agree to that, but do you accept that
there is a rationale for any American military assistance to El Sal-
vador? Do you oppose it, even if there is full compliance?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. We do not completely oppose
INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATION OF ELECTIONS
Mr. Torricelli. I assume you have a position in favor of there
being international observers in the next elections in El Salvador?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Yes.
Mr. Torricelli. Do you have a favorite organization or structure
of how you think this should be done?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Yes. Of course, we favor inter-
national observation of the elections. We have favored the U.N. as
the monitoring organization and the Government of El Salvador
now has accepted that as well.
FAIR ACCESS TO MEDIA
Mr. Torricelli. Are you gaining a fair access to the media, espe-
cially the government media, now with your reentry into the politi-
Mr. Handal [through translator]. We are, yes, participating in
the press with some frequency, but of course there is a great imbal-
ance. We did demand, for that reason, our own means of commu-
nication, and we did have two radios approved and a third author-
Mr. Torricelli. Are they operating?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. Yes, the two are operating.
Mr. Torricelli. The government television, are you getting fair
treatment as far as access to television?
Mr. Handal [through translator]. In some more than others, but
yes, we have some space.
We were also thinking of creating a corporation that would incor-
porate all means of communication the government controls, and
wanted to assure them that the corporation will give access to all
the political parties, but that was not achieved. This is pending, a
bill about this.
Mr. Torricelli. I have been in electoral politics most of my life.
That is as close as I have ever heard of a political figure thinking
he was getting fair press.
ADMniATION FOR ENDING CONFLICT IN EL SALVADOR
Your presence here today has been very helpful. Despite the
years and the terrible conflict that has separated us, I want to
make it clear, for my own part, how much I admire that despite
all the suffering and all that we have seen in your country, that
you were able to play a critical role in bringing this conflict to an
It is a special leadership that can lead their soldiers to lay down
their arms and take up the cause of electoral politics again. My ad-
miration for President Christiani, I think, is well-known; but I ad-
mire as well the role you have all been able to play in the history
of your country.
I thank you for being with us today. I hope it is not the last op-
Thank you for being with us today.
[Whereupon, at 5:34 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
THE PEACE PROCESS IN EL SALVADOR,
TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 1993
House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 3 p.m. in room 2172,
Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Albert Russell Wynn, presid-
Mr. Wynn. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. At this time
we will begin the hearing. My name is Albert Wynn. I have the
honor of standing in for our subcommittee chairman, Congressman
Torricelli. The Congressman has prepared an opening statement
which will be submitted for the record. It will be made part of the
[The prepared statement of Chairman Torricelli appears in the
Before we begin, I would like to recognize the presence in the au-
dience of the Ambassador of El Salvador. We are certainly de-
lighted to have you with us.
Since Mr. Torricelli will not be making an opening statement at
this time, I would like to recognize Congressman Smith.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate
this opportunity to hear from the General Accounting Office re-
garding their analysis of reconstruction projects in El Salvador.
I also want to welcome Cheryl Morden of Church World Service
and Lutheran World Relief who recently returned from El Sal-
SIGNING OF PEACE ACCORDS TO LEAD TO REBUILDING OF EL
The signing of the peace accords on January 16, 1992 was his-
toric, Mr. Chairman. While the accords were the prerequisite for
rebuilding Salvadoran society, they provided the framework where-
by the country can be rebuilt. This reconstruction requires daily
commitment from all levels — the elected officials in the Govern-
ment, the ex-combatants, the FMLN, churches, community groups,
nongovernment organizations and families.
Rebuilding society is always a tedious and arduous process most
successful when generated from its core. The Salvadoran people
themselves are best suited for restructuring and rebuilding their
land. Yet, foreign groups and assistance from foreign governments
can help provide the seed money, technical assistance, and more
suitable financial commitment to long-term projects and moral sup-
port needed to succeed.
Certainly, the United States has made a substantial financial
commitment to reconstruction in postwar El Salvador. Reconstruc-
tion of the infrastructure, the reintegration of ex-combatants from
both sides of the conflict, shoring up the fragile democratic tradi-
tion and developing viable indigenous organizations are all part of
the mix to which the United States is committed. We must now
find ways to encourage other governments to fulfill their commit-
ment made to the Salvadoran people. I am hopeful, for the sake of
the Salvadorans, that the upcoming donors' conference will result
in real assistance, not just promises.
I commend the GAO for its investigation and the effectiveness of
current projects. Mr. Chairman, I trust the final report of the GAO,
as well as hearings such as this, will positively contribute to the
reconstruction of El Salvador, and I look forward to hearing our
Mr. Wynn. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Those of you that
were here last week remember the hearing we had regarding the
U.N. Truth Commission report on El Salvador. This past weekend
my wife and I visited El Salvador and Nicaragua. During our brief
visit, we met with President Alfredo Cristiani and General Ponce
to discuss the Commission's findings. Our first meeting was with
General Ponce, a friend of mine for many years. He swore to me
on a Bible he did not order the killing of the six Jesuit priests in
November of 1989.
He proceeded to explain, and was later confirmed by President
Cristiani, that he was a pronounced enemy of General Bustillo. He,
as you may know, is a member of the group of five military officers
who have been accused of being the leaders of the assassination.
Since Bustillo and Ponce hardly speak to one another, they cer-
tainly would not have collaborated with each other regarding the
As you may recall, last week I asked the Truth Commission to
name the accusers in the murder of the priests. The commissioners,
however, refused to identify the persons for reasons of security. For
all I know, the accuser could have been General Bustillo.
The peaceful transition and implementation of the unilateral
peace accords and the reduction of the military was largely the re-
sponsibility of General Ponce and his office. Without his commit-
ment and diligence for peace, it may have failed.
Ponce is a highly respected member of the El Salvadoran Army
and is widely regarded as a friend of the people. Due to the recent
accusations relating to the Truth Commission report, however,
Ponce offered his resignation as a general in the army a week ago
before the report was released. He resigned not as an admittance
of guilt, but out of respect for Cristiani and the citizens of El Sal-
PRESIDENT CRISTIANI'S CONCERNS WITH TRUTH COMMISSION REPORT
Our second meeting in El Salvador was with President Cristiani.
He was very concerned about several points made by the Truth
Commission. The constitution, with its currently realigned judicial
system, states the President cannot remove judicial appointees
which have not been convicted of a crime, even though the Com-
mission requests new appointments. And besides, new judges will
be elected in 1994.
The U.N. has proposed restricting individuals who have been re-
moved from office from running for public office for 10 years. This
destroys a guaranteed constitutional right of every citizen of El
Salvador. Obviously, the U.N. doesn't have the authority to remove
The Truth Commission stated amnesty should not be allowed,
but the Geneva Convention, which El Salvador signed in 1949,
mandates amnesty must comply with the accords.
President Cristiani has publicly commended the Truth Commis-
sion for its hard work, but has questioned the final conclusion of
the report. He feels that it is unbalanced and heavily weighted
against the military. Even the FMLN, said the report was unbal-
JUDICIAL SYSTEM DENYING ACCUSED RIGHT OF DEFENSE
In any judicial system, in any country, the accused has a right
to face his accuser. In El Salvador, General Ponce has been denied
that right. It is not right to degrade and denounce any person with-
out themselves having the opportunity to respond and defend
I find it perplexing and completely unfair to accuse a person of
murder and have it accepted as truth by the Commission, the na-
tional television, and the international press. It has always been
my understanding, in accordance with the Geneva Convention, that
someone is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Wynn. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger.
If there are no further opening statements, we will move right
on to the testimony.
Mr. Wynn. We are delighted, as we begin to focus on the recon-
struction of El Salvador, to have with us this afternoon Mr. Harold
Johnson of the U.S. Government Accounting Office. He is accom-
panied by Ms. Nancy Toolan and Mr. Daniel Ranta.
Mr. Johnson, please feel free to proceed.
STATEMENT OF HAROLD JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, INTER-
NATIONAL AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTER-
NATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION, U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT-
ING OFFICE, ACCOMPANIED BY NANCY T. TOOLAN AND DAN-
IEL E. RANTA
Mr. Johnson. We are pleased to be here today to discus's the
work that we have undertaken in El Salvador at the chairman's re-
quest. Our work is still ongoing. We have made a couple of trips
to El Salvador, late last fall and again earlier this year. We expect
to report more formally on the results of that work later on this
I have submitted a fairly lengthy statement for the record, so
with your permission, I will briefly summarize our observations.
PROGRESS TOWARD PEACE MADE IN JUST OVER ONE YEAR
I think it is extremely important that we keep in mind that it
has been only a little over one year since the United Nations-spon-
sored peace agreement in El Salvador was signed after 12 years of
bitter civil war. The reconstruction program is in its early stages,
and while there have been problems and disagreements along the
way, progress toward peace and economic reconstruction has oeen
made. The FMLN and the Government of El Salvador are success-
fully negotiating the content and implementation of the national
reconstruction plan. NGO's are playing an increasing role in imple-
menting social development. The Municipalities in Action Program,
known oy its Spanish acronym, MEA, has funded over 1,000 criti-
cally needed projects at the community level; and mayors, local
FMLN and other officials, and community residents we spoke with
were generally positive about the program. Yet, serious problems
continue to face the Government and the FMLN.
MONEY NECESSARY FOR RECONSTRUCTION IS SHORT
The overriding problem in El Salvador is money. Although the
international donor community has pledged $800 million for recon-
struction, insufficient money has been forthcoming, particularly for
areas such as public safety — the police program — and land redis-
tribution that many believe are critical to the long-term success of
the political settlement. The FMLN and the Government were as-
sured by the United Nations that the international donor commu-
nity would help pay for the cost of reconstruction, but both parties
seemed to have unreasonable expectations of what could be done
and when. In short, expectations for economic rehabilitation gen-
erated by the Peace Agreement seem to have outpaced fiscal reali-
ties. The Peace Agreement was intentionally ambiguous with re-
gard to the reconstruction plan, but allowing for the details of the
plan to be worked out at a later date has led to some of the prob-
lems being seen even today.
The solutions to differences between the Government and the
FMLN on the plan's content are being dealt with through negotia-
tions and concessions. The result of these negotiations, however,
has been to expand some programs to the point that the costs ex-
ceed the resources available or anticipated. Negotiated solutions
were reached without consideration being given to where the
money might come from. For example, a United Nations-brokered
settlement concerning land redistribution more than tripled the es-
timated number of beneficiaries to 47,500, creating a shortfall we
estimate of at least $61.7 million for land procurement.
AID has a higher estimate of the shortfall. They estimate around
a $90 million shortfall. Also, land is being provided without suffi-
cient agricultural credit, which may cost another $71 to $255 mil-
lion. The costs and sources of funding for other critical programs,
like public safety, simply were not thought through when a com-
mitment was made. For example, the new national civilian police
force is underfunded by at least $23 million for operating costs in
1993 alone, and an estimated $40 million is needed for equipment
and facilities in 1993 and 1994, but no funding source is in sight.
As you know, the United States has committed $250 million to
pay for immediate and longer-term reconstruction needs over a 5-
year period. This was essentially to be front-loaded to allow other
donors time to provide funds they pledged. The problem now is that
projects' funding requirements exceed what the United States has
to spend. The United States is planning to redirect funds from
some other planned reconstruction activities to take care of some
of these unfunded needs but this has not been enough. While the
results of the upcoming Consultative Group and European Commu-
nity meetings later in April may provide some additional resources,
at this point the outcome of those meetings is rather uncertain.
In the interests of time, I would like to comment on our main
GOVERNMENT AND FMLN NEGOTIATING ON RECONSTRUCTION PLAN
Developing and maintaining the national reconstruction plan has
proven to be difficult. The Government of El Salvador and the
FMLN have differed from the start on the content of the plan and
how funds to implement it would be allocated, but both have been
flexible and willing to settle their differences through negotiation
on a case-by-case basis. While negotiations have taken time and
some target dates have been missed and programs delayed, we do
not believe that this has been a significant barrier to the overall
reconstruction efforts. In fact, it is apparent that both sides have
made significant concessions to make the plan work.
As I mentioned, some critical programs are underfunded, most
notably public safety and land distribution. These are among the
most contentious issues confronting the Government and the
FMLN, "peace-stoppers" according to some officials with whom we
spoke. Costs for these and other critical programs have increased
substantially, mainly because of new agreements made to avoid
breakdowns in the peace process.
INTERNATIONAL DONOR COMMUNITY SLOW TO RESPOND TO APPEALS
The El Salvadoran Government hopes international donor assist-
ance will make up the shortfall for the public safety and land dis-
tribution programs, but officials from the United States, the United
Nations, and other organizations have expressed doubt that such
funding will be provided. Two appeals for funds have gone out to
the international donor community to help fund the public safety
programs, but no response was received. Little followup took place.
Except for the European Community, donors have not provided or
pledged funds for land redistribution.
World Bank and U.S. officials told us that some donors were
hesitant to fund projects until the El Salvadoran Government and
the FMLN have demonstrated their commitment to peace by reduc-
ing or demobilizing their military forces, and World Bank officials
said that the Bank was also hesitant to encourage donors to fulfill
pledges for this same reason. Additionally, according to U.S. offi-
cials, some donors expect the United States to fund highly visible,
politically risky project, such as public safety and land redistribu-
ASSESSMENT OF IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECTS
The National Reconstruction Plan stipulates that the Govern-
ment will use three means to implement reconstruction projects:
(1) the Municipalities in Action (MEA) program;
(2)nongovernmental organizations; and,
(3) Government ministries and organizations.
Some NGO's that were once affiliated with the FMLN have been
concerned that government funding decisions disproportionately
favor the MEA and organizations that the Government used during
Our assessment shows that as of January 1993, about 28 percent
of funds approved went for NGO projects, 26 percent for MEA
projects, and 47 percent for central government organizations'
projects. Our work to date indicates that the Government has allo-
cated funds based on the types of activity to be provided and the
merits of individual projects, and has not necessarily favored one
type of implementing entity over another in its funding directions.
INCREASED NGO PARTICIPATION
We found that over the last 6 months NGO participation has in-
creased, and as factors that hindered earlier NGO participation are
being resolved, the working relationship between the Government
and NGO community has improved. For example, in June 1992,
when we first went to El Salvador, 29 NGO's were approved to im-
plement reconstruction projects funded either directly or indirectly
by the Government. By February 1993, 45 organizations had been
approved to receive $11.5 million.
Nonetheless, few NGO's formerly affiliated with the FMLN are
receiving funds directly from the Government. As of February only
two NGO's formerly affiliated with the FMLN had received funds —
a rather small amount of approximately $176,000. However, 17 for-
merly FMLN-affiliated NGO's have received about $2 million in
funding through subgrants from other NGO's and organizations
that are funded directly by the Government.
Many of the NGO's receiving direct funding could be considered
pro-Government, but it should be recognized they also had prior ex-
perience delivering development assistance funded by the United
States or El Salvadoran Government. While one can never be to-
tally certain, we did not find evidence that the Government's selec-
tions were made for political reasons.
TOWN MEETINGS PROVIDING FORUM FOR MEA TO MEET OBJECTIVES
The MEA program is the main program used to provide assist-
ance and promote democratic processes at the local level. However,
because of its counterinsurgency role during the war, its use to de-
livery postwar assistance has been viewed by some with suspicion
and distrust. Critics have said that it fails to encourage democratic
processes and is inefficient as a delivery system. However, officials
and residents in communities served by MEA told us the program
is meeting its objectives. Open town meetings are being held to pro-
vide a forum for residents to discuss community needs, and from
February through December 1992, 1,066 projects, valued at $11.3
million were implemented in the 115 targeted municipalities.
In December 1992, we attended three town meetings and held
extensive discussions in another 15 municipalities. Everyone we
spoke with generally had a favorable view of MEA as a means of
delivering assistance and promoting democratic processes. No one
said or implied that MEA continued to carry a negative image from
Let me turn briefly now to the problems associated with land re-
distribution. As I mentioned, the land redistribution program is se-
verely underfunded. In addition, the Government has been slow in
transferring land to recipients and the recapitalization of the land
bank from loan repayments is doubtful, and insufficient agricul-
tural credit is being made available to farmers receiving land.
Although 15,000 ex-combatants were to have received land by
January 1993, only about 3,800 had actually received land as of
mid-February 1993. About 179,000 acres are available to be trans-
ferred, which would provide land for about another 20,000 bene-
Several factors have contributed to the delay. The Government
and the FMLN did not agree on the basic details of land transfer
until the United Nations brokered an acceptable land agreement in
1992, and negotiations continue even to this day over the quality
of land to be provided to FMLN beneficiaries. Also, the FMLN is
required to identify potential properties and provide the Govern-
ment with lists of beneficiaries, but this has not been completed.
AGRICULTURAL CREDIT COMMITMENTS ARE INSUFFICLENT
Agricultural credit might help farmers become self-sustaining
and give them the ability to repay their loans, but the $34 million
committed form all sources satisfies only a small part of agricul-
tural credit needs of farmers in the targeted areas. Based on AID
data on the amount of credit needed per acre, we estimate that be-
tween $71 and $255 million may be needed to provide agricultural
credit to the 47,500 land beneficiaries, not including credit needed
by other farmers in the former conflictive areas who did not receive
land through the land redistribution program.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my remarks. We will be happy to
respond to questions from the subcommittee.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Johnson appears in the appen-
Mr. Wynn. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnson.
You seem to indicate that the underfunding problem results from
two basic factors: one, high expectations resulting from negotiation
and the agreements that arose from those negotiations; and two,
some reluctance on the part of international donors.
LOWERING UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
The first question I have is, what is being done to lower those
expectations so we can get — so the parties can have a more realis-
tic assessment of what can be done?
Mr. Johnson. I think some of the agreements that have been ne-
gotiated, that have increased the costs, were probably done out of
necessity in order to accomplish the demobilization; for example,
the assistance being provided to the FMLN war wounded, some of
the household goods kits that have been provided added to the cost.
Our judgment is that those agreements were probably necessary in
order to accomplish the demobilization.
It was a very difficult process that occurred. As you know, the
demobilization didn't occur on schedule for some of those reasons.
So I think it is probably inevitable there will be some shifts in
PLEDGED FUNDS HAVE NOT BEEN FORTHCOMING
With respect to the problem that the Government has had in re-
ceiving monies that have been pledged from other donors, we have
been told on a number of occasions that both our Government, as
well as the U.N. and the World Bank, have been rather ineffective
in pursuing this particular issue. We recognize that some of the
pledges that were made were intended to come later on, and that
was the reason for the frontloading of the U.S. program; but the
best we can tell at this moment, very little of the additional monies
that had been pledged have been forthcoming.
Mr. Wynn. What is the status of our commitment at this point?
Mr. Johnson. Nancy, can you speak to that?
Ms. TOOLAN. Are you talking about in terms of obligations?
Mr. Wynn. Yes. If we are doing the frontloading, where are we
in that process?
Ms. Toolan. The latest data I got from AID showed that almost
$115 million of the $250 million we plan to provide had been obli-
gated to the Government of El Salvador as of March 9, 1993.
INTERNATIONAL DONORS RELUCTANT TO PROVIDE AID WITHOUT
COMMITMENT TO RECONSTRUCTION
Mr. Wynn. You indicated, Mr. Johnson, that the donors were im-
posing conditions or suggesting conditions such as a reduction in
arsenals as a condition for meeting their obligations.
Are there any suggestions — do you have any suggestions, rather,
with respect to getting them to move forward, since we have begun
to meet our obligations?
Mr. Johnson. Well, I didn't mean to suggest necessarily those
were formal conditions that were placed. I don't believe that the
agreements have been signed that would place formal, specific con-
What I indicated was that they generally have been reluctant to
provide the money until they see a firm commitment. I think that
firm commitment has been demonstrated. That is a view based on
the work that we have done; but clearly, it seems to us that more
could be done both by our State Department as well as the Treas-
ury Department officials to encourage other donors to move more
rapidly on their donations.
For instance, the World Bank that chaired the March meeting,
donors' conference, still has provided no new money; and it is our
understanding that the structural adjustment loan that was ini-
tially intended to be disbursed during 1992 will now not be dis-
bursed, at the earliest, until September of 1993, and possibly later
depending upon the outcome of the election in 1994.
So it is a little premature for us to make firm, specific rec-
ommendations on what ought to be done; but it just seems to us
that more could be done by our Government officials to encourage
others to come forward with funding.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND LAND REDISTRIBUTION PROGRAMS CRUCIAL
Mr. Wynn. Thank you.
One final question: Given what you have just said, are we in
danger of a deterioration of the peace process as a result of these
shortfalls in funding?
Mr. Johnson. As I indicated in my summary remarks, people
have told us that the two programs that are critical to the peace
process — the public safety, the civilian national police and the po-
lice academy, as well as land redistribution are, in their terms,
peace-stoppers. Now, people that have been watching El Salvador
for a very long time have told us — and I respect their judgment —
that it is very clear that the FMLN had a strong concern about
public safety during the negotiation process for the peace accords.
If the national civilian police force fails to take root and be imple-
mented, I think there may be serious repercussions. Similarly, with
the issue of land redistribution. That was one of the root causes of
the conflict in the first place. Good faith has been demonstrated on
both sides. That good faith, it seems to us, needs support from the
Mr. Wynn. Do you have a timeframe in terms of when this prob-
lem might really come to the forefront?
Mr. Johnson. I don't have an exact timeframe, but with the pub-
lic safety program, timing is rather critical. As I indicated, they are
short of operating funds for 1993. They are short of equipment.
We did a quick study last fall of whether or not some of the
equipment — handguns, vehicles, et cetera — that have been provided
through our military assistance program might be made available
to the civilian national police. What we found is, there is very little
of that type of equipment available; most is in rather poor condi-
To send a police force out to do a job in a country with the kind
of history El Salvador has had — a force that is poorly paid, has no
equipment, few vehicles, no radios, no basic kind of law enforce-
ment equipment, I think is probably a high risk and ought to be
looked at fairly quickly.
Mr. Wynn. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
POLICE ACADEMY GRADUATES 600 NEW RECRUITS TOWARD GOAL OF
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Johnson, in followup to that question, you pointed out 600
police recruits have been graduated?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Mr. Smith. What has happened to them? How quickly does one
go through that academy and achieve graduation?
Mr. Johnson. We understand that the graduation took place
subsequent to our visit in El Salvador, but we did followup with
the officials here in Washington on that matter. We understand
that the 600 have been deployed. We also understand that there
was a strong reaction at graduation time when some U.S. officials
were at the police academy, and the concern was that they are so
poorly paid and lack equipment.
I don't know that we have specific information about where they
are deployed, but our understanding is that they are operational.
Mr. Smith. How many more are up and coming?
Mr. Johnson. You asked about the length of the session. I think
the sessions are about 3 months long, but I would have to check
There are continuing follow-on classes of 330 people, 300 or 330
people; and they will be continuing over a period of time. The goal
is to have, within 2 years, 5,700 policemen trained; and within 5
years, to have a full 10,000 force.
Mr. Smith. Is 10,000 the goal?
Mr. Johnson. Ten thousand is the goal, yes, sir.
LISTING OF DONOR PLEDGES TO RECONSTRUCTION OF EL SALVADOR
Mr. Smith. You point out that only three donors have provided
money for police and academy activities: The United States has
provided $20 million; Spain, $1 million, and Norway, $350,000. Do
you have a list of other prospective donors?
Mr. Johnson. There are no other prospective donors.
I misspoke earlier. The training course is 6 months.
Mr. Smith. The $800 million that has been offered up in
pledges — is that correct?
Mr. Johnson. Yes, sir.
Mr. Smith. Do we have a listing of those nations, how much they
Mr. Johnson. Yes, we do. We can supply that for the record.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
PLEDGES NOT FORTHCOMING
It is a little difficult to get firm figures on how much has been
forthcoming from that, but as best we can tell, the documentation
we have seen indicates that very little has been forthcoming. As I
indicated earlier, it was intended, when they made the pledges,
that there would be some delay. From what we have been told,
some other donors have more lengthy bureaucratic processes for
getting funds out, even than the United States, that we are fairly
fast in responding with money.
Mr. Smith. Does the U.N. have the expectation this money will
be forthcoming, or is it a sense that with all the other crises and
trouble spots around the world, there is a — you know — a reluctance
on the part of the donors to fulfill their pledges?
Mr. Johnson. I think the expectation still is that the funds will
be forthcoming and additional funds will be pledged at the Paris
Conference, I believe, the first of April. But there is a concern
about the draw on the world donor community; there are a lot of
other crises going on around the world at the moment.
Mr. Smith. Did you get the sense there needs to be a bridge do-
nation made from this country, just so we do not see a collapse of —
as my friend pointed out a moment ago — this peace process could
Mr. Johnson. I don't think we have gotten to that point in our
evaluation. It appears, in looking at the numbers — and I indicated
that AID has shifted money from programs that were initially tar-
geted to make up for the stopgap. I think there is probably still
some flexibility in that. We have not completed our evaluation of
fairness by salvadoran government found by gao
Mr. Smith. In reading your testimony last night, I came away
with the sense that in terms of political will and intent, notwith-
standing the serious shortfalls in funding by the international do-
nors, this is one of the cleanest bills of health I have seen in a GAO
report with regards to the Government and those participating in
terms of intent.
As you pointed out, the FMLN — while the case has been made
at times, or the criticism lodged, that their NGO's are not getting
sufficient funding, you point out you could not find evidence the
Government's selections were made for political reasons.
I think that kind of reassurance from the independent-minded
GAO helps the process, since you have looked at it independently.
Mr. Johnson. We tried to be very careful with that wording.
Proving a negative is always very difficult. We did not find that
evidence. But as a caution, we also noted that you will never know
for sure. I think that is something that has to be carefully watched.
TRUTH COMMISSION CHART ON MURDERS AND DISAPPEARANCES
Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, I would ask as a followup to part one
of this hearing that unanimous consent be granted for the record
that a graph put together by the Truth Commission, showing the
number of murders and disappearances per year in El Salvador,
points out the disappearances continued throughout the 12 years,
as we all know, as well as murders.
The number did decrease dramatically, beginning in 1983 and
1984, following U.S. involvement in training of the military. I
would like to make that part of the record.
Mr. Wynn. Without objection.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
MESSAGE BY PRESIDENT CRISTIANI
Mr. Smith. Also a message by President Cristiani on March 18,
1993, which I think will help fill the record with additional in-
Mr. WYNN. Any objections to the entry into the record of this ma-
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for yielding. I yield back
the balance of my time.
Mr. Wynn. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Menendez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BREAKDOWN OF $250 MILLION IN U.S. AID
My first question is, of the $250 million the United States has
obligated, wnat is the breakdown? For what purposes is it to be
Mr. Johnson. We can give you that in just a second.
Ms. Toolan. What I will tell you here is the breakdown origi-
nally planned of the $250 million. Then if you want to talk a little
bit about how it has been shifted, I can do that also.
Of the $250 million planned — and again the $250 million is com-
ing from several sources — $35 million comes from ongoing AID
projects already on the books in AID's portfolio. They are
redirecting activities into the 115 targeted municipalities. Another
$35 million is from host country-owned local currency; the rest is
AID's dollars. Of the $250 million, $4 million was planned for what
they called immediate conflictive zone relief; $8 million for ex-com-
batant assistance; $157 million for social and economic reactivation
in those areas; $15 million for land transfers, $10 million for pro-
gram audit, and $56 million for infrastructure restoration.
The way we have calculated, since that original plan, about $48
million has been redirected under the $250 million project from one
activity to another.
Again, at the time we were working with AID in December, these
were all planned and anticipated and not final agreements in terms
of redirections. So at this point, the immediate conflictive zone
amount is about the same. It is down to $3.5 million.
Mr. Menendez. The first list was the original plan for the $250
Ms. Toolan. Right.
REPROGRAMMING OF AID
Mr. Menendez. These numbers are what, the changes from that
Ms. Toolan. The changes, right. The way the original plan was,
that you saw, there was the amount that was for ex-combatants.
They had specifically two activities planned for ex-combatants; that
was social reintegration counseling and scholarships. The rest of
the activities and services available to ex-combatants would come
under another project component, under the social reactivation
What they have done in terms of the reprogramming for ex-com-
batants is move a lot of those activities as they became needed for
ex-combatants, as special beneficiaries, up to the ex-combatant
component. What I did in our calculations was to look at the net
effect. In other words, just because money for vocational training
now is under the ex-combatant component — it was originally in-
cluded in the social and economic reactivation component. I am
talking here about net increases for the different components.
As I said, immediate conflictive zone, $3.5 million; ex-combatant
assistance, $15.3 million.
Mr. Menendez. That is an area of increase?
Ms. Toolan. Yes, an area of increase.
Although, if you look at their project plans, you will see about
$82 million for ex-combatants, but some of that originally was in-
cluded in the other components. I am talking here, net increase.
Social reactivation is $85.4 million, approximately. That is a de-
crease. Infrastructure is decreasing down to $27 million; program
audit and management, $14 million. For the six activities that
were going to be for civilians and ex-combatants, when you looked
at what was originally planned under the social reactivation and
land transfer components, and how it split out now, the funding in-
creased from $68.6 to $104.8.
I can provide a table on this for the record, if you would like.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Menendez. What about land transfers?
Ms. Toolan. Land transfers, originally AID was going to put $15
million in for land transfers.
What has happened, they have moved most of that up under
their ex-combatant assistance. The total AID contribution now is
about $50.2 million. That is coming from — go ahead.
BREAKDOWN OF EXPENDITURES OF U.S. AID
Mr. Menendez. Of the $115 million you say has actually been
obligated, how does that break down? How have you expended the
Ms. Toolan. OK About $3.7 million has been obligated for im-
mediate assistance; $16.6 million for ex-combatants; $67.7 million
for social and economic reactivation; $12.3 million for land transfer;
$10.6 million for infrastructure; and $4 million for program audit.
Mr. Menendez. What is your $67 million figure for?
Ms. Toolan. Social and economic reactivation. Those are pro-
grams out in the local community, basic civilian programs.
Mr. Menendez. Now what does the police civilian efforts, get cat-
Ms. TooiAN. That is not included in any of this. It is not part
of the $250 million pledge.
Mr. Menendez. Where is that money coming from?
Ms. Toolan. The $20 million for police was coming from the de-
mobilization and transition fund monies, before the remainder was
transferred over to AID.
REASONABLE SPENDING OF U.S. AID
Mr. Menendez. My reason for asking for specific numbers is —
both the civilian police and the land transfer — two major issues
tied to demobilization and to continuing peace efforts — are we
spending, first of all, our monies in the right way?
Mr. Johnson. I think that AID needs to take a look, and they
have been continuing to look as these needs arise to make adjust-
ments to their original plan. It seemed to us that the allocations
that had been made in the original lineup were probably reason-
able, given what they knew at the time; but obviously, it was un-
known at the outset how much would be needed for land redis-
tribution. That came as a result of the U.N. -brokered agreement.
In fact, even today there is some uncertainty about the reliability
of the budget numbers that have been presented for the police
force, as well as the police academy. So it is hard for us to be too
critical of AID for the way they have made those allocations, and
they are demonstrating flexibility to move money to where it seems
to be needed.
So that is a long response to your question whether or not they
made the right choices in the first place. But I think they did.
Mr. Menendez. Well, my concern is not so much did they make
the right choices in the right place. There are uncertainties in-
volved in making a priority listing, but they have been changed.
You have told me they changed the figures.
PRIORITIZING LAND TRANSFERS
Now, the figures have been changed in such a way that land
transfers are down by a couple of million dollars. And the point is:
if this is one of the major issues, are we having the time to see
what are some of the major stumbling blocks toward ultimately
achieving our goals? Are we spending our money in the correct
way? Should not the land transfer be heightened in terms of the
priority of the dollars we are spending?
Mr. Johnson. Yes. I think it should.
Mr. Menendez. OK So if that is the case, then is there some-
thing in your report that indicates that?
Mr. Johnson. Well, what our report indicates is that for land
transfers — initially, AID had only allocated I believe $15 million.
They have added to that almost $30 million. It is up now to a little
over $50 million. So they are moving the money.
Mr. Menendez. Maybe I didn't get the numbers right. You gave
me an original $15 million by Ms. Toolan under land transfers for
the original $250 million distribution and then gave me, under the
adjusted figures, a $12.3.
Ms. Toolan. That was the obligation to date.
Mr. Menendez. And then
Ms. Toolan. From the $250 million.
Mr. Menendez. What is the change, then, from the $15 million
original under the $250 million plan to?
Ms. Toolan. The total right now that AID is dedicating to land
is $50 million.
Mr. RANTA. It is $50.2 million.
Mr. Menendez. Gone from $15
Ms. Toolan. But that is coming from other sources as well.
Mr. Menendez. When you say other sources, what does that
Mr. Ranta. One thing to help answer your question Mr.
Menendez, just to clarify the fact that the $15 million that was
originally to be directed toward land transfers was to be spent over
5 years. So this would surely indicate that by front-loading, in
other words, by spending $50 million now, AID has increased land
transfer funding, showing the flexibility to increase its funding for
land transfers and recognizing that that is a significant problem
Mr. Menendez. You are suggesting that we are going to spend
$15 million over 5 years — $3 million a year?
Mr. Ranta. Yes, that was AID's original projection.
Mr. Menendez. Well, certainly that wasn't a good estimate.
Ms. Toolan. Well, at the time
Mr. Menendez. To believe that under the FMLN one of their
major issues was the land issue and to believe that $3 million a
year was going to make any significant impact on our behalf and
fundamental of seeking peace here, that couldn't have been a good
estimate. I could have given a better estimate.
Mr. Ranta. I would agree with you. There are two factors that
need to be taken into consideration. First, at the time of AID's pro-
jection, there was no indication of the size of the October 1992 U.N.
orokered agreement that we mentioned earlier, which more than
tripled the number of recipients that were going to receive land.
Second, AID had calculated early on that the land prices would be
significantly lower than they are right now.
NO FUNDS OBLIGATED YET BY OTHER COUNTRIES
Mr. Menendez. Let me just ask two questions, not that I am
particularly satisfied with what I hear, but I will pursue it at an-
other time. With reference to the $800 — is it $800 million that
other foreign countries have obligated?
Mr. Johnson. Well, the $250 million that the United States
pledged is included in the $800 million.
Mr. Menendez. So the $550 million that is foreign obligated,
how much has been actually obligated by foreign countries?
Mr. Johnson. The best we can tell, none.
Mr. Menendez. None. When we talked about front-loading, did
we have any time periods here?
Mr. Johnson. Well, the general time period was over the first 2
years. It was understood that AID money would spend out more
rapidly in the first 2 years and it would probably take the other
donors about that length of time to get geared up. "
Mr. Menendez. Two years from the commencement of what dif-
Mr. Johnson. Two years from the time the funds were pledged,
which was March of 1992.
Mr. Menendez. So this is the time that we should be seeing
greater dollars come from foreign countries?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
PLANS FOR FUNDS FROM OTHER SOURCES
Mr. Menendez. Now, do we have any hopes on whether those
funds are going to be forthcoming since we are talking about the
end of the front-loading period?
Mr. Johnson. Yes. The Inter-American Development Bank and
Japan are planning to cofinance a project that has been approved,
a water project and an electric generating project. I believe the
total value of that is about $250 million with Japan providing $80
million and IDB providing $170 million.
Mr. Menendez. The $250 million, is that part of this $550 mil-
lion that you are referring to? Can I ask you something?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Mr. Menendez. If again civilian police and land are two major
issues for demobilization and peace efforts, are you telling the com-
mittee that, as it relates to the other countries, that those are two
areas that they do not intend to participate in?
FUNDS FOR POLICE AND LAND REDISTRIBUTION
Mr. Johnson. The pledging that occurred in March last year did
not include budgets for police. And that goes for the U.S. funding
as well, as Nancy had indicated. The $20 million that the United
States has provided so far for the police and the police academy
have come out of the demobilization and transition funding which
is over and above the $250 million.
Our understanding from numerous people that we have talked
to, other donors are reluctant to provide money for public safety ac-
tivities, either because it would not conform to their own legislation
or just because they don't like to fund these types of projects.
The same is somewhat true with regard to land redistribution.
That is a volatile issue and we have been told that the inter-
national donor community does not like to provide funding for
those types of activities. Most donors like to provide funds for
projects that you can feel, see, and touch, like the electric generat-
ing facility or water project or something of that nature.
So when we talk about the need for funds for some of these other
kinds of projects, particularly the police and land redistribution, it
is doubtful whether we can count on any of that other donor money
being used for the police.
Mr. Menendez. Which means that we have a tremendous short-
fall in the two major areas?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Mr. Menendez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Wynn. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
setting values on land
Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I was just curious. Dicf AID or anybody else have any guess-
timate as to how much the value of land jumped when they heard
that there was going to be a redistribution with cash payment for
I know I was just reading your statement that the government
is giving $18 million worth of land.
Mr. Johnson. Right.
Mr. Ballenger. But you mentioned the fact that they
misguessed as to what the value of the land was.
Mr. Johnson. I would like Dan Ranta to answer that question.
He dealt extensively with the people on the land program and I
think he has a pretty good feel for it.
Mr. Ranta. Well, at the time of the U.N. brokered agreement,
which came out on October 14 of 1992, they put into their equation
that land would be valued at $600 per manzana. One manzana is
equal to 1.75 acres.
According to AID figures we received recently, land is being
transferred at $715 per manzana. Two things actually are impact-
ing on this going up. One is that the FMLN is demanding that they
receive higher productive type land and the other is that there is
a certain amount of inflation right now.
Mr. Ballenger. That would make sense. It is too bad that I
know that the ex-combatants in El Salvador were donating land
that you couldn't use at all. I know somebody wouldn't want a
creek bed if you could avoid it.
POLICE CLASSES REQUESTED BY FMLN
I would want to press on what I learned over the weekend. Those
classes of police were requested by the FMLN and that is where
they have been located for protection to that. And I think it is
Just an interesting statement that was made to us over the
weekend. One of our friends who works for AID stated, "I would
never in my lifetime have thought that I would be buying supplies
for the FMLN," but he is.
I basically think that it is a rather positive thing and I think
your statement itself, except for a few financial miscalculations by
AID, has turned out fairly well, I think, if there is a successful
story that U.S. foreign aid and U.S. assistance has created any-
where in the world.
When you start naming off the ones that have failed, it is great
to find one that really turns out to look like a success like El Sal-
vador because I know the economy is growing substantially. I don't
know if it is because our money supply stopped flowing or what ef-
fect we would have on their economy.
Their economy is going great guns. And I just would like to
thank you for your report.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Wynn. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger.
Thank you, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Toolan and Mr. Ranta.
We have as our next witness Ms. Cheryl Morden of Church
World Service and the Lutheran World Relieve.
Ms. Morden, as soon as our panelists are moved out of the way,
you can come right up. Thank you for joining us, and why don't you
just proceed with your statement.
STATEMENT OF CHERYL MORDEN, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR
DEVELOPMENT POLICY, CHURCH WORLD SERVICE AND LU-
THERAN WORLD RELIEF
Ms. Morden. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and members of
the committee. My name is Cheryl Morden and I am the Associate
Director for Development Policy for Church World Service and Lu-
theran World Relief.
I want to thank you for holding these hearings on the peace proc-
ess in El Salvador. The success of the process still rests very heav-
ily on the continued interest and vigilance of the international com-
munity, including the U.S. Congress and this committee.
PROGRESS IS BEING MADE
I was in El Salvador recently during the week of March 7. While
there, I had an opportunity to speak with a variety of government
officials and nongovernmental representatives about the economic
recovery and rehabilitation currently under way. I have visited El
Salvador three times in the last 13 months and have witnessed re-
markable changes during that period.
El Salvador today is teeming with activity as people there throw
themselves into the task of restoring the damage caused by the
war, of addressing the war's social deficit, and working to build a
The new construction that you see at every turn offers visible
evidence of progress. There has been progress as well in other less
visible areas, but this has gone much more slowly and serious prob-
lems and challenges remain. These problems are likely to intensify
in the period leading to next year's elections.
In my summary, I would like to assess briefly the progress in
peace-building process related to social and economic recovery and
development, talk about specific activities of nongovernmental de-
velopment organizations, and then mention concerns and rec-
ommendations regarding U.S. policy in this area.
I ask that my full statement be entered in the record.
ECONOMIC PROGRESS MADE THROUGH CONSENSUS BUILDING
During the past year, the U.N. observer mission in El Salvador,
ONUSAL, and the U.N. Development Promise, UNDP, have been
involved in mediating and implementing key elements of the peace
process related to economic recovery and rehabilitation. Their ap-
proach has emphasized dialogue, consensus building, and participa-
These efforts have provided a successful model of consensus
building and collaboration that has helped to establish a climate
more conducive to further dialogue.
Several major new programs have also been launched that are
based on broad-based participation and consensus building. I would
mention in particular a $37.5 million, 6-year agricultural develop-
ment pilot program in the Department of Chalatenango which has
been organized^ an financed by the International Fund for Agricul-
This program and others will make it possible within a short pe-
riod to begin to evaluate a variety of institutional arrangements
and program approaches which should help to determine the most
effective approach to sustainable development and genuine democ-
racy in El Salvador.
This is particularly important because institutional reform is one
of the major tasks in the peace-building, post-conflict period and
one that has been a subject of controversy in El Salvador.
DEBATE OVER THE ROLE OF NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
The early months of the postwar period included a heated debate
over the role of nongovernmental organizations in economic recov-
ery and rehabilitation activities. Many of the NGO's with experi-
ence working in the former conflict zones sought an institutional-
ized role in the formulation of an overall strategy for recovery and
rehabilitation that they believed would lay the groundwork for
more equitable long-term development.
No accommodation was reached with the government on this
Eoint as the government viewed the NGO's primarily as non-
ureaucratic, inexpensive social service providers with limited pro-
gram capacity and serious managerial and fiscal accountability
These organizations have in fact won a broader role in decision-
making in a limited number of ways during the past year. But the
participatory mechanisms that have been initiated were agreed to
by the government at the initiative and sometimes the pressure of
the international community.
These mechanisms do offer the possibility of real empowerment
and deepening democracy with all the political unpredictability
that comes with genuine democracy. Whether these mechanisms
will be allowed to be consolidated represents a test of the commit-
ment of the government and its international supporters to the
flowering of full-fledged democracy in El Salvador.
On an operational level, a variety of factors have compelled a
broader range of NGO's to seek accommodation with the govern-
ment and to begin to negotiate terms for the use of official funds.
In most cases, these have been small grants, sometimes received
directly from the government and sometimes through umbrella
grants. NGO's have launched other economic recovery an rehabili-
tation programs using funds from European, Nordic and Canadian
At the same time, the NGO's are undergoing extensive organiza-
tional changes including, among other things, a very heavy empha-
sis on training and capacity building with the support of their
international partners; greater operational collaboration among
and between various organizations; the development of new meth-
odologies that emphasize self-help rather than handouts; and ef-
forts to articulate new organizational models and new development
strategies both at the macro and micro levels.
IMPROVING COOPERATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND NGO'S
In taking stock, I would say that while some greater degree of
cooperation has been achieved between the Salvadoran Govern-
ment and the NGO's, much more is needed. Despite the progress
made, one cannot conclude that the two have established a working
relationship based on mutual recognition of the appropriate divi-
sion of labor between governmental and nongovernmental organi-
zations. This should be given a significantly higher priority within
the Secretariat for National Reconstruction.
The reason for the slow progress in this area has to do in part,
I believe, with the lack of understanding in the world and the phe-
nomenon of NGO's on the part of the government, as well as the
overriding emphasis on their inability to meet fiscal accountability
Other donors have developed methods for working in partnership
with NGO's in social and economic peace-building activities, even
as they seek to help them develop further their operational and
The challenge of normalizing relations is much more difficult in
the climate leading to the 1994 elections. It is important that do-
nors be aware of the potential political impact of their aid and
make whatever adjustments are necessary to assure that their as-
sistance is nonpartisan.
The need to establish the basis for equitable, sustainable basis
in El Salvador dictates that not only the government and the
NGO's establish a constructive working relationship, but the broad-
er question of popular participation be revisited.
INTERNATIONAL DONORS AND SUSTAINABLE PROGRAMS
International donors make an important contribution in this re-
gard. USAID's approach to popular participation in El Salvador has
Focused on the Municipalities in Action or MEA Program. It is im-
portant, as part of the AID's participation in post-conflict peace
building, both to evaluate MEA and to move beyond MEA to a
more thorough review of AID methodology. Important lessons con-
cerning AID and participation could be learned from the experience
of the Development Fund for Africa.
Finally, the peace-building process in El Salvador deserves care-
ful monitoring and evaluation both to assure that the resources
coming into the country are being used effectively for programs
that are sustainable, as well as to preserve the lessons of this expe-
rience that may be useful to other post-conflict situations.
In conclusion, I would like to make a few specific recommenda-
First, U.S. economic aid to El Salvador should be conditioned on
full compliance with the provisions of the peace accords.
Second, USAID should undertake an evaluation this year of the
Municipalities in Action Program involving evaluators well-versed
in issues of popular participation, as well as representatives of Sal-
vadoran NGO's and U.S. PVO's.
Third, the United States should configure its assistance in the
coming year in a way that minimizes its partisan political impact.
Fourth, AID should contract with an agency with demonstrated
experience in the area of popular participation to establish in El
Salvador a Learning Group on Popular Participation.
And fifth, the U.S. delegation to the April 1 World Bank Consult-
ative Group meeting on El Salvador should support the suggestion
made at last year's meeting that the Bank establish a monitoring
mechanism to assess the impact of the National Reconstruction
Mr. Chairman, the final success of the peace process will be
measured by the degree to which the peace accords and subsequent
peace-building efforts create the possibility of greater equity and
well-being for the majority of poor Salvadorans. I urge this commit-
tee to make this concern a priority.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Morden appears in the appen-
CONDITIONING AID ON IMPLEMENTATION OF TRUTH COMMISSION
Mr. Torricelli [presiding]. Thank you very much and thank you
for your testimony. Is it your testimony that you believe American
foreign assistance of all kinds should be conditioned on the full im-
plementation of the Truth Commission Report.
Ms. Morden. I believe certainly a portion of economic aid. I be-
lieve a judgment would need to be made about what portion would
be effective, but I think that the point is that the economic aid
which is intended for long-term reconstruction and development
can only be effectively used in the context of successful implemen-
tation of a peace agreement.
Mr. Torricelli. I think we all recognize that withholding mili-
tary assistance until the Truth Commission Report is implemented
makes perfect sense. The United States does not want to partici-
pate in support of the military establishment that is continuing to
harbor people who have committed these crimes.
But it would seem to me that withholding any other economic as-
sistance would mostly punish vulnerable people in El Salvador who
have already been victimized by the war and by those who commit-
ted these acts of atrocities. Withholding that assistance is unlikely
to add any punishment to those in the military establishments who
committed these offenses.
Ms. Morden. I would think of it less as a question of punish-
ment and more as the effective use of U.S. assistance and that it
Mr. Torricelli. I understand that, but when you threaten to use
leverage, you have to be prepared to live with the consequences of
exercising it and you haven't made the suggestion. I want to make
sure that you really believe that, if we have to exercise leverage
and economic development assistance is withheld, you are going to
like the consequences, given the state of the economy and those
who are in need would suffer from its being withheld.
Ms. Morden. Well, I think that clearly would not be the only
measure that we would take, and it would be important to be work-
ing in the process to try to resolve and see that the accords are
Mr. Torricelli. Are you including in this the recommendations
with regard to the replacement of the Supreme Court or just the
naming of those who should be retired from military service?
Ms. Morden. Well, I have not specified that degree of detail. I
think that these are issues that have to be worked out within the
peace process themselves with the presence of ONUSAL and
through the mechanisms that have been established such as
So I would not offer a judgment on that level of detail. But, in
general, the idea would be that economic, U.S. economic assistance
should be considered as a tool by the U.S. Government to convince
the El Salvadoran Government and all parties to the peace agree-
ments that they should be fully implemented.
EUROPEAN HESITATION TOWARD CONTRIBUTING
Mr. Torricelli. Concerning the failure of the Europeans to
make any real contribution to the rebuilding of El Salvador
through financial assistance, are they offering reasons for not pro-
ceeding or simply excuses, and if these excuses did not exist, they
would conveniently find others?
Ms. Morden. My sense of it, and what I know about it is that
there is — there has been a certain amount of skepticism and hesi-
tancy in the past concerning the use of funds, so that there may
be more of a wait and see attitude. And I agree with the GAO pan-
elist, that the consultative group meeting April 1 will be an ex-
tremely important test of where the other donors are, now looking
back over a year.
And my view would be that there are now sufficient examples of
cases where there has been consensus and there have been success-
ful programs like, for example, and I think this is one that is of
interest to the European donors, the assistance for the demobilized
immediately following the signing of the accords.
It turns out there was an area that hasn't been anticipated and
accounted for in the agreement and the ball fell in ONUSAL's court
to attend to these demobilized. ONUSAL and UNDP took a very
pragmatic and flexible and consensual approach and threw in the
FMLN and the NGO's and all the relevant players to design a pro-
gram to the assist the demobilized which everyone agrees was a
So I think, as the donors look and see these kinds of examples,
they are more encouraged that the conditions exist for an effective
use of their resources.
SOCIOECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN EL SALVADOR
Mr. TORRICELLI. Give me your general sense of socioeconomic
conditions in El Salvador today, compared with the last several
years as the war was coming to a conclusion, even without the kind
of international assistance that we all would have hoped to have
Are you seeing natural economic forces begin to reach villages
and any meaningful improvement quality of life without the war
Ms. Morden. I think that that is happening very slowly. I think
that this is precisely — particularly in the conflict areas — one of the
problems, that not enough aid is getting out to those areas. Their
infrastructures are beginning, as was mentioned earlier through
the Municipalities in Action programs, infrastructure programs are
But beyond that, you know, these infrastructure projects are im-
portant but the evaluation of the MEA program itself said that this
shouldn't be mistaken for long-term development. And so
Mr. TORRICELLI. I don't think people believe that they are, but
they are a precursor to long-term development, are they not?
Ms. Morden. Right, yes. But that goes to the reason as well
Mr. TORRICELLI. I recognize the problems of distribution and the
amounts of development assistance. As one who has been an ob-
server of the country through these years of transition, I would like
to know whether you don't see some natural economic forces begin
to produce an increase in living standards in the absence of war?
Ms. Morden. Well, I think one of the major stumbling blocks to
that is the lack of credit, for example, that the resource level is so
low to begin with, that there needs to be an infusion of capital that
hasn't been forthcoming. There was very little credit distributed
So I think that, marginally, there may be some increases, but —
and when you go out, you begin to see even rebuilding of individual
homes, for example, so there is some of that sort.
Mr. Torricelli. Having observed the country now, what is your
general impression of soldiers who have been demobilized or former
FMLN fighters. Are they returning to their villages? Do they seem
to be finding opportunities to participate in the economy wnile re-
maining in El Salvador and unemployed?
Ms. Morden. Many of them have located near the areas where
the settlements occurred during the concentration period. Others
have returned home. And one of the problems I think with the de-
mobilized from the government's side is that many of them were
released from service before programs were put in place to assist
them with their reintegration.
And it appears to be a real challenge and a task to be able to
locate all of those people and make them aware of their benefits
and bring them into the program. So there is a certain problem on
that side with tracking some of these folks.
Beginning in about December on each side — well, on the govern-
ment s side, beginning as early as September, on the FMLN side,
beginning in about December, programs were initiated which are
seen as the transition for moving the ex-combatants back into pro-
ductive participation in national life and that is by way of a 6-
month training courses either in agriculture or in industrial or vo-
Mr. Torricelli. Does it seem to you that the necessary prepara-
tions are genuinely being made to accommodate the numbers.
Ms. Morden. Those programs are under way and are being — on
the FMLN side, it is being, let's say, carried out under the auspices
of UNDP. On the government side, it is a partnership with several
NGO's and the National Secretariat, and those programs are in
I think one important point on that issue and one that at least
is being somewhat anticipated, is a concern to be sure that we have
a way of monitoring this process once the training is completed,
that people aren't just strained and then released into a great void
without any way of knowing whether they were actually success-
fully able to reestablish themselves in society.
Mr. Torricelli. Does that not exist now?
Ms. Morden. There are plans under way. I spoke with some at
Mr. Torricelli. Are those parts of the process as they envision
Ms. Morden. They are right now brainstorming how to do that
and need to do it fairly quickly because the first group will com-
plete their training by March, so they need to have a system in
plays to track these people. But there is some effort to anticipate
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Ballenger.
EXPLANATION OF NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Mr. Ballenger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Morden, I was wondering, sadly, if the NGO is a nongovern-
mental organization. Could you give me some idea of what an NGO
Ms. Morden. I am so glad you asked me that question. It is a
very nonprecise term and it has been used very imprecisely in dis-
cussing this issue in El Salvador. It is a negative definition. It only
defines an organization by what it isn't. And, in fact, it covers the
waterfront. I would say that, even in development discussion, there
is a need to be much more precise about the term.
If we were to look specifically at the case of El Salvador, for ex-
ample, and look at the list of nongovernmental organizations as the
government describes those entities that are receiving funds for re-
construction activities, you would find even there a broad range of
organizations that would include local community organizations
like a local neighborhood association, the chamber of commerce, co-
operatives, private training institutions, and so on.
Mr. Ballenger. Would Fusades be considered an NGO?
Ms. Morden. I believe Fusades would be considered an NGO,
one that has come primarily out of the private sector with those
kinds of interests and that there has been, particularly in relation
to the structural adjustment program, there has been a growth in
nongovernmental organizations as some of the kind of services that
previously may have been carried out by the government have been
spun off into the private sector. So that is one distinct kind of non-
I think one of the important issues in the case of El Salvador and
in reconstruction in particular is looking at those organizations
that have established relationships in the target areas and that
that is the important distinguishing factor that needs to be given
greater attention and that it is much less useful to discuss FMLN
affiliated NGO's. If we should do that, we should conversely discuss
the identified arena NGO's because Fusades might be put in that
The important issue is: Where are these organizations working?
Who has established relations with the starting population who,
therefore, probably have a better opportunity to work effectively in
those areas and provide something of a gateway to the commu-
nities that are the intended beneficiaries of the reconstruction?
OVERSEEING THE EXPENDITURES OF FUNDS
Mr. Ballenger. If I may, I understand what you are saying. And
one question that comes to my mind is the fact that the group that
was on before you was reporting to us on the expenditure of our
money in El Salvador. And my understanding is that AID, because
they have to report to them, mandates that somebody in that NGO
know how to keep books and that there might be a large amount
of difficulty with some NGO's in the fact that they can't tell or they
don't keep records as to how their money is spent.
I just wondered, at least it appears to me that probably the
MEA's which have been, as we say, successful in dealing with the
government have learn learned the system where a large number
of NGO's have not learned the system and have to get money, as
you say, it seems to me there $175,000 was all that was given to
an NGO that was located with the FMLN. But they got $2 million
by coming around through another group.
Is there any way, I mean, if you — as long as we are going to over-
see through the people sitting behind you there the expenditure of
these funds, is there any way that any group can teach these peo-
ple how to keep books?
Ms. Morden. There is no question about that. I think that there
is complete agreement on the fact that the whole spectrum of the
NGO community, as well as the government itself for that matter,
needs to increase their administrative and managerial capacity.
There is no quarrel about that.
I think that the difference comes in some donors saying that they
recognize the weakness but then look for a variety of ways, proce-
dures, and mechanisms by which they can work with these organi-
zations so that they can incorporate them with all of their special
contribution, mainly their relationships with the target population,
and include them in the process.
To give you one example: European Community funds are being
distributed to, I believe, six nongovernmental organizations with
long-standing experience and relations in the target zones which
include the ex-combatant zones. They have — the European commu-
nity has granted the money through two European nongovern-
mental organizations who also have long-standing relationships
with a number of these nongovernmental organizations, established
trust and confidence.
Those organizations in turn have worked with an NGO in the re-
gion to actually work on a day-to-day basis with the local NGO on
precisely these issues of accountability, bookkeeping, management
and so on. So this is a rather layered approach, but it does rep-
resent perhaps a kind of creative approach by which funds can be
gotten to and distributed involving these groups that have the es-
tablished relationships in the target areas.
CONSIDERING THE RELATIVE SALARY OF THE POLICE
Mr. Ballenger. Let me ask you another question. Especially in
speaking of the unemployed — and I forgot to ask the group before
you — if the effort to train the police is — there are two things they
say are the most important: Land transfer and development of the
The amount of money going to various and sundry things seems
to be strangely divided by AID. I never got to ask. You said the
police were underpaid. Ot course, I don't know what underpaid is,
but if — I am speaking to the gentleman behind you, I'm sorry.
If they are underpaid, how do their wages average compared to —
I mean, you can say they are underpaid, but in Somalia and you
get a dollar a day, that is a lot of money if you are in El Salvador
and you are a policeman.
Mr. Johnson. I can give a couple of comparisons. The average
recruit receives about $113 a month, which is about what a laun-
dry worker would make or a secretary, a low-paid secretary. It is
not something that would be considered necessarily a living wage.
It is very low relative to what other people in the private sector
Mr. Ballenger. Well, I just wondered about that. What is the
unemployment rate there?
Mr. Johnson. I am not sure exactly what. I know it has been
coming down some. The unemployment rate is fairly high.
Mr. Ballenger. Thirty or 40 percent.
Ms. Morden. I would say unemployment is probably in the
range of 50 percent.
INCREASING FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THE POLICE
Mr. Ballenger. I was just wondering if recognizing your group
as doing good works and all that kind of stuff, but if the money
were necessary to go to the police and go to the land transfer and
AID decided, I don't know, you probably would get government sup-
port, I would think.
Ms. Morden. Our organization, Church World Service — well, ac-
tually both Church World Service and Lutheran World Relief at
different times have used USAID funds.
Mr. Ballenger. And my suggestion, be cutoff and we give the
money to the police wouldn't hurt.
Ms. Morden. Interestingly on this question, it is my understand-
ing that at least the issue of support for the police is being inte-
grated into the government's appeal to donors this year and in-
cluded as part of reconstruction and conceptualized as part of an
essential element of strengthening democratic institutions.
At the same time, I am aware that the European Community has
in fact taken a greater interest in democracy initiatives, so maybe
there is a little bit more reason for hope on that score than we
might have thought.
SAN MIGUEL ECONOMY IS BOOSTING
Mr. Ballenger. Just for the edification of our chairman here,
and I am not sure he is going to hear me, but while I was in El
Salvador, just to show that the economy is boosting a little bit in
San Miguel, where Donna put her first hospital, they dedicated a
shopping center in San Miguel Saturday. It had 128 stores in it.
Mr. Torricelli. That is because they knew Donna was coming.
Mr. Ballenger. Anyhow, the basic idea, the place does look like
it is growing, but I would agree with you about the heavy popu-
lation and the high birth rate. I have always felt that you can
never solve a problem with the poor in El Salvador. It is the most
heavily populated area in the whole Western Hemisphere — and it
has one of the highest birth rates in the Western Hemisphere — and
that you are going to have to have an unbelievably expanded econ-
omy to be able to
Mr. Torricelli. If you would yield?
Mr. Ballenger. Yes.
BREAKING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY IN EL SALVADOR
Mr. Torricelli. Given the realities of the culture, is the problem
of the system, solvable? Can indeed this cycle of endemic poverty
from birth be at least mollified?
Ms. Morden. Well, I think that the approach that is being recog-
nized more and more within development circles is the need to in-
tegrate, at a local level, population development and environmental
Mr. Torricelli. I am speaking specifically of El Salvador. I
know where it has and hasn't worked.
Ms. Morden. My concern on that, I think this goes to the overall
question, how does El Salvador reenter the debate and take advan-
tage of the thinking that has gone on in the past 12 years while
they were fighting a war about development?
And I think that is precisely I think that question has to be
asked of AID, El Salvador as well, and I think it is a critical ques-
tion. So for me, that would be part of the answer, that I wouldn't
rule out that possibility, but it is going to be required
Mr. Torricelli. Given their culture and their politics, I could
quickly assess that any reasonable amount of resources and politi-
cal energy would not yield the results that are necessary to stop
the spiraling birth rate and the poverty it creates. And there are
other places where I suspect, with equal resources, you could make
a real difference.
IMPACTING THE BIRTH RATE TO IMPACT THE POVERTY RATE
In your experience with the culture of El Salvador, is this a place
where you could make a real difference on the birth rate and con-
sequently on the poverty rate or is this simply a place where we
are going to have to find greater and greater resources to meet the
unfortunate reality of a larger and larger population?
Ms. Morden. Well, I am really not an expert on this particular
topic. The one thing I would mention is that there is a rapidly
growing women's movement in El Salvador and that may, perhaps,
be one of the factors that would have an important effect on popu-
lation rate and, particularly, to the extent that they focus on edu-
cation for women and really make women in development a prior-
ity, then I think the opportunity is there.
Mr. Torricelli. Did you have anything further, Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. Ballenger. I'm sorry. I opened that can of worms and I am
glad you all came up with a good, clean answer. Thank you very
Mr. Torricelli. I thank you for your testimony. I'm sorry to
have been delayed by inevitable airplane problems, and I apologize
for not having been here earlier. But I thank you all for your testi-
mony and your cooperation with the committee.
The committee stands adjourned.
Ms. Morden. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 4:35 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
HON. ROBERT G. TORRICELLI. CHAIRMAN
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
"THE PEACE PROCESS IN EL SALVADOR"
March 16. 1993
The Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs will please come to order.
We meet today to bear witness to another milestone in the progress toward peace
in El Salvador: the release of the report of the Commission of the Truth. The mandate
of the Commission was to seek, find, and make public the truth about acts of violence
committed by both sides in El Salvador.
The Commission sought to fulfill the biblical teaching that, "The truth shall make
you free." I know that it is the hope of all of us here today that the publication of the
truth about a civil conflict that took over 75,000 lives will free El Salvador from ever
having to repeat such a tragedy.
These terrible crimes committed against tens of thousands of Salvadorans are cause
for shame. But the process in which all Salvadorans are now participating is a source of
pride. The peace which is being slowly constructed in El Salvador is a tribute to the
courage and determination of the Salvadoran people.
What is taking place in El Salvador is no less than a "negotiated revolution." The
father of that revolution is President Alfredo CristianL He resisted the counsel of some
to seek military victory because he knew that, although history may honor the commander
of war, heaven reserves the highest place for the peacemaker.
The members of the political commission of the FMLN here to testify today are
partners in the struggle for peace. But they must also accept the uncomfortable truth
facing the Salvadoran government and military: that crimes against the Salvadoran
people were committed.
Finally, as a Member of Congress I must be concerned about U.S. involvement in
these tragic events. During the period when some of the gravest violations of human
rights were occurring the Reagan administration was certifying progress on human rights
in El Salvador and funding massively the very forces identified by the Truth Commission
as being primarily responsible for "the vast majority of abuses."
We now know what many of us suspected at the time. These certifications had no
credibility. Instead of using the certification process as intended, as leverage on the
government of El Salvador, the Reagan administration used it to take pressure off. by
denying that abuses were continuing. Congress gave the administration the tools to
prevent and oppose these abuses. But the Reagan administration tragically chose to view
the cause of anticommunism as justifying these abuses.
The war is now over and the highest priority of the Salvadoran people must be
forgiveness and reconciliation. But history's judgment of the Reagan administration will
be that their conduct of U.S. policy cannot be forgotten or forgiven. In its abuse of the
certification process, the administration misled the Congress. I, for one, will not be
content until we know the whole truth about our own attempt to cover-up these abuses
from the Congress and the American people.
EHBARGO£D ONTIL DELIVERED
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT 32LTSARI0 BETANCUP.,
DR. REJNALDO FIGUE3EDO AND PROFESSOR THOMAS BUERGENTHAL
MEMBERS, UNITED NATIONS TRUTH COMMISSION FOR EL SALVADOR
Subcommittee on Western ilanicphere Affairs
CoiA»ittee on Foreign Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives
March 16, 1993
Good afternoon, Mr. Chains an. It is a privilege for the
Members of the Truth Commission for El Saivedor to appear before
this Subcommittee to present the Commission's report tc you and
the ranking Republican Merber, Fepressntative Smith, for its
inclusion in the official record of tnese hearings. We are
particularly honored that ycu requested our appearance just one
day after the Secretary General of the United nations made the
Commission's report public, for it underscores the importance the
Peace Accords place on the need for the widest possible
dissemination of >;.he results of its investigation.
The Parties to the Salvadoran Peace Accords -- the
Government of El Salvador and the Frente Farabur.di Marti para la
Liberacion N'acior.al (FKLN) -- under the auspices of the Secretary
Ge::aral of the United Nations, asked us to investigate "serious
acts of violence that have occurred since 1980 and whose impact
on socie-y urgently demands that the purlic should know the
truth." The Commission received direct testimony frcm 2, coo
sources relating to 7.000 victims and information fror. secondary
source? relating to more than 18,000 victims. Sut as the Peics
Accords gav~ it only six months tc examine the long history of
violence endured by El Salvador during its brutal civil war, the
Commission concentrated its limited resources on the most
notorious cases of violence, committed by both sides to the
conflict, as well as those cases that formed part of a broader,
systematic pattern of abuse.
All witnesses who requested it were guarantee-:
confidentiality to protect their lives and encourage frankness.
Based or. the nuuber of cooroboratir.g accounts and other evidence
in a particular case, the Commission used three levels of
certainty in reacninq its conclusions: overwhelming evidence,
substantial evidence and sufficient evidence. The testimony of a
single witness or ether single source, no matter how compelling,
was deemed insufficient to make a judgment if not backed, up by
In examining the staggering breadth of the violence that
occurred in El Salvador, the Commission was moved by the
senselessness of the killings, the brutality with which they were
committed, the terror they created in the people. In other
words, the madness, or "locura," of the war. At the sane tine,
the Concussion was especially cognizant of the spirit of hope, or
"la esperanza " which brought it and the entire peace process
into existence. It is the hope in a peaceful future that has led
the Farties to put down their weapons and to construct a new
society based or. principles of democracy, respect for basic human
rights, and reconciliation.
It is with that perspective in mir.d — with one eye to the
"locura" of the past and the ether to "la esperan2a" of the
future — that the Commission reached its con-lusions about the
cases it investigated and its recommendations to the Parties. As
its guiding light, it adopted the nctior. that, without a credible
accounting of the truth, national reconciliation is impossible.
This report is based also on the principle that individuals,
even those caught up in the fury of civil war and the orders of
superiors, 3re accountable for their actions. 3y committing
th&mseives to remember the tragic violence of their recent past
and by calling for accountability in their new national quest for
peace, the Salvadoran people and their leaders have set a
standard that offers hope in a world ravaged daily by still
bloodier civil wars snd gross abuse? of human rights.
The truth often is bitter. The Commission was put in a
particularly delicate situation .■iie-.r. it began receiving evidence
that current high-ranking members of the Government and the FKLU
authored sore of the most serious acts of violence studied by tbe
.Commission. This led to intense pressure that the Commission not
name any individual naoes in connection with specific cases. To
do so, in the Ccmrissioners' unanimous opinion, amounted to
nothing short of a cover-up of the truth and a total failure to
carry out the Commission's mandate to "put an end to any
indication of impunity." Therefore, the only choice vc saw open
was tc name names where the evidence was decisively in favor of
such a result. Wo saw no other way to carry out the
responsibilities we undertook in an honest and straightforward
It is relevant to note here that several of the military
officers named in the Commission's report are rumored to be among
the group of military officers named by the Ad Hoc Commission in
its report to the Secretary General *nd which President Cristiani
is required by tha Peace Accords tc "purge" from the ranks of the
aiiitarv. Tt is our understanding that President Cristiani has
not folly complied with this obligation. The Commissioners
cannot stress strongly enough the need for the United States and
the entire international community to demand the full
implementation of the Ad Hoc Commission's report, whose rumored
conclusions about certain military officers are supported even
further by the specific factual findings of this Commission.
In that regard, the Commission draws the Subcommittee's
attention to one of the most important recommendations it makes
in its final report — that all those individuals named in the
report as having participated in violent acts commited by both
aides to the conflict be prohibited from holding any public
position for a period of ten years. Having proven themselves to
be unfit tc exercise the rights and duties as citizens,
particularly at this fragile moment in the country's history,
these individuals must be barred from carrying out any public
function. In addition, the Commission recommends that those
individuals cited in the report immediately be removed and
prohibited frora ever holding any military or security
High on the list of officers named by the Truth Commission
are the current Minister of Defense, General Ponce, and the
current Vice-minister of Defense, Genera] Sepeda. for their rcles
in ordering the- murder of the six Jesuit piiests, their cook and
her daughter at the University of Central America in November,
1£S9. Also cited are FMLN corcnandantes Joaquin Vii: alobos, Ana
Guadalupe Martinez and Jorge Melendez, amonq others, for their
role in the killing cf at least eleven civilian mayors. The
Commission did net reach these conclusions lightly. As in all
the cases in which narss are cited, it was only after a thorough
revisw of information corroborated from a wide range of sources
that it concluded that these individuals were responsible for
At this point we would like to draw attention to the
excellent work of the Speaker's Special Task Force on El
Salvador, otherwise >:nown as the Kcakley Commission, w,iich
reached much the same conclusions as did the Truth Co:-mission.
Its investigation or the Jesuits' case served the best interests
of the Saivadoran people in seeking the truth about what happened
that tc-mble night during the guerrilla offensive. Congressman
Meakley, his staff and the ethers who served or. his commission
deserve great credit .for their determination and commitment to
tell the truth. Our ta^X would have been ouch more difficult had
it not been for the work of the Mcakiey Commission.
before qo^ng on to su.xtarize some additional cases, the
Commission would like to highlight certain findings with regard
to the phenomenon of death squads. The Commission received
testimony on more than 8C0 victims of death squads. Often, these
people fell victim 10 paramilitary forces operated by the
military and supported by powerful businessmen, land-owners and
sons leading politicians. In fact, the Commission found that
Salvador an exiles living in Miami helped administer death squad
activities between .1980 and 1983, with apparently little serious
attention frora the U.S. government. Death squads, ir. whatever
form, remain a major threat to a peaceful El Salvador and for
that reason the Commission calls fcr a special investigation to
uncover their members, organizers and financiers. The United
States could play a vital role in contributing its investigative
expertise tc such an investigation.
The Commission wojIc new like tc summarize its findings or
some specific cises, including trcse involving American victims
of the conflict.
— On December 2, 1980, Its Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy
Kazel and Jean Doncvan, four American churchwomen from the
Marykr.cli order, were killed by soldiers from the Salvadcran
National Guard. As & result of one cf the rare prosecutions
that resulted in convictions, the actual gunren remain in
jail today. The Truth Commission received sufficient
evidence that the churcr.womu.n ' s detention was planned in
edvance; that Sufcsargeant Colindres Aleman was not acting on
his own but received orders to execute the churchwor.en from
superior officers; and that Colonel Vides Casanova, then
Director of the National Guard, and other officers knew that
members of th? National Guard had executed the church women
and facilitated the cover-up, thereby impeding the judicial
— On June IS, 1985, Thomas Handwork, Patrick Ewiatkcski,
Bobbie Dickson and Gregory Weber, four unarmed U.S. Marine
Security Guards serving ir. El Salvador, ware killed at an
outdoor oafs in San Salvador by members of a guerrilla
commando unit. Curing the attack, nine civilians were
<i3.I*c\ including U.S., citizens Gecrge Viney ind Roberto
Alvidrez. The Corcoissj.or. has concluded that neabers of ar.
FMLN urban commando unit, acting andar FKLN policy tc
cor.siaer U.S. military personnel legitimate targets of
attack, planned and executed the killings in violation of
international humanitarian law.
— On January 7 , 1981, P.odolfs Vir.ra, haad of the
government's land reform program, along with Mark Hammer and
Jai'id ?e<ir.lman. employees of the American Institute for Free
Labor Development, v»>re killed at the Sheraton Hotel by
solaier? frora a Kational Guara death squad. The two gunmen,
who werK convicted and later released under an amnesty law.
ver?; following orders from national Guard Lt. Lopez Sibrian.
Thc-y ware assisted by Army Capt. Eduardo Avila and
businessman Hans Christ. The latter three escaped
-- Lt. Ccl. David H. Pic/.ett and Cpl . Ernest G. Davson,
after their helicopter was shot do*n by members of a Popular
Revolutionary Army (ERP) unit on January 2, 1991, were
executed by ERP member Farnar. Fernandez Arevalo on orders
from Severiano Fuentes Fuentes. The pilot of the
helicopter, Daniel F. Scott, died from wounds received when
the helicopter crashed.
— On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Arnulto Romero was
shot while he was saying mass by an unknown assassin.
Roberto D'Aubuissor. gave the order to kill the Archbishop.
Army C3pt. Eduardo Avila, former Capt. Alvaro Saravia and
Fernando Sagrera played an active role in carrying out the
— In December, 19S1, the massacre at El Mozote and
surrounding hamlets claimed the lives of over 700 people,
including many worner. and children. The Commission conducted
a thorough investigation of the massacre at El Mosote,
including the exhumation of part of the site with the
assistance of noted U.S. experts Dr. Clyde Snow and Dr.
Robert Kirshner, among others. It found that former
Atlacatl battalion commanders Col. Domingo Monterrosa
Barrios and Col. Natividad de Jesus Caceres Cabrera were
responsible for the slaughter. In addition, Supreme Court
President Mauricio Gutierrez Castro improperly interfered in
the judicial proceedings concerning the investigation of the
The Commission has recommended a series of wide-ranging
actions aim?d at removing human rights violators from publi.r
office, as already discussed, reforming the judicial system and
the Amed Forces, and promoting human rights, democracy, the rule
of law end n-itional reconciliation. The Corjnission woulc Like to
take this opportunity to highlight the following recommendations:
— Steps to ensure civilian control of military promotions,
the military budget: and all intelligence services;
-•- Steps to cut all ties between the military and private
arpjed groups or other paraEilitary groups;
-- Ihe immediate implementation of constitutional reforms
requiring the turnover of the present members of the Supreme
— ?. putiic listing of all detention centers and all those
who are detained in them; and
-- Fuil support for the new civilian natvor-al police force.
In addition, ir. the hopes of promoting national reconciliation,
the Commission recoamer.ds that the victims of husan rights
violations by all sides in the war be publicly recognized and be
given material compensation. For that purpose, the Commission
calls or. the United .States and other members of the international
community to earmark a percentage of their respective foreign aid
to a special fund to be established for this purpose.
Mr. Chairman, Representative Smith, and other Members of the
Subcommittee, the Commission would like to thank ycu for this
opportunity to discuss the main points of the Cox&ission's
report. In closing, it is important to stress that the
Commission's report is merely the first step in what will be a
long and arduous process of solidifying democracy and tolerance
and doing away with the institution of impunity that has
protected wrongdoers fcr so long in El Salvador.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SCHAFIK JORGE HANDAL
GENERAL COORDINATOR OF
THE FARABUNDO MARTI NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT
OF EL SALVADOR
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MARCH 16, 1993
"Embargo until delivered'
The peace process in E! Salvador has made invaluable achievements for the Salvadoran
people. It could leave an important legacy for democracy in Latin America and for the
future of United States relations with other nations in our American continent.
Nevertheless, in the implementation of the Peace Accords critical aspects needed to
consolidate a stable and lasting peace remain without compliance. In the first place, the
purging of the army has not been completed and everything appears to indicate that the
subordination of the military to civilian control is encountering resistance which tlireatens
the future of democracy and the viability of the implementation of agreements regarding
the Armed Forces. For example, die military leadership is obstinately preserving the
political intelligence apparatus and files, despite clear provisions to the contrary in the
Accords and in the amendments to the Constitution.
The Aimed Forces and the Defense Ministry published a booklet on March 1st entitled
"The Threat to Sovereignty and the Destruction of the State" in which in addition to
reviving positions adopted during the Cold War, insinuate that they will forcefully oppose
the Truth Commission report.
Along the same lines, it should be noted that numerous persons from the military
intelligence apparatus and the suppressed public security forces have been transferred to
important positions in the Academy charged with preparing the policemen and officers in
die new National Civil Police force, from which the Accords and the Constitution exclude
members of the military. In addition to this deficiency, there are other suspicious and
serious deficiencies in the admissions system, budgetary obstacles and other irregularities.
All this has delayed and can qualitatively affect the organization of the National Civil
Police, which is so essential for democratization.
The Truth Commission's report will be a difficult test for the process. It is in fact an
unprecedented step in the correct direction, as it brings to an end decades of cover-ups and
strengthens the possibilities of putting an end to tile impunity enjoyed by civilians and
military personnel with the power to trample on the entire Salvadoran society.
The FMLN will fully support the recommendations of the Commission and will contribute
to generate a positive and mature reaction by the entire nation to this difficult but
absolutely necessary test for the nascent Salvadoran democracy.
In addition, we are concerned about the land transfers and the programs for reinsertion of
former FMLN combatants to civilian life. Although these programs are established in the
Peace Accords, the Government of El Salvador, alleging inflexibility in the terms of U.S.
aid that support those programs, is Imposing an excessively slow pace and creating
multiple stumbling blocks for their compliance. This problem could be a seed for new
outbreaks of social conflict.
We wish to express our concern in regards to the electoral process with particular
reference to the register of citizens qualified to vote, as it is plagued with defects.
Conditions are forming which could produce a massive exclusion of voters. This would
certainly favor the governing part)', ARENA, and its allies.
Mr. Chairman, we are convinced that all these problems can be overcome. J( is important
that all the Accords be complied with faithfully, now that the FMLN hns definitively
abandoned armed struggle. In this way, we are guaranteeing that in El Salvador today,
no one will conclude that arms are more effective than political struggle.
In this context, the continuity of the political attention and economic aid which the
international community has given to our country is vital. The United States military aid,
if it is given, should continue to be contingent upon compliance with the Peace Accords
and the full subordination of the military to civilian authority. Economic aid slwuld be
maintained at the same levels as in recent years and should reinforce those same purposes.
We are concerned by the proximity of the expiration of DED for tens of thousands of
Salvadorans who live in the United Stales. Their abrupt and massive return to El Salvador
would produce an enormous negative impact in die social and political arenas, and would
without a doubt be counterproductive for the process of peace and democracy. We hope
for an extension of DED which will benefit all Salvadorans and give the peace process
a greater chance for success.
Finally, we would like to reaffirm our full commitment to peace and democratization in
Thank you very much.
THE HONORABLE ROBERT G. TORRJCELLI, CHAIRMAN
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
"The Peace Process in El Salvador: Part IF
Tuesday, March 23, 1993
The Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs will please come to order.
Last week this subcommittee, in listening to the dramatic testimony of the Truth Commission,
focused its attention on El Salvador's tragic past — a past marred by death and violence.
Today we turn our attention to the future, to the construction of a lasting peace that will help to
assure that the horrors we heard described in vivid testimony one week ago will never again be
El Salvador's future lies in a reconstructed economy and society based on open markets and an
open political system. The industry and enterprise of El Salvador's citizens — so evident to even an
infrequent visitor — must encounter an economy that will maximize their potential. Indeed, as
President Clinton has said so well for this country. El Salvador cannot afford to waste a single
The United States played a vital role in El Salvador's time of war — contnbuung over six
billion dollars in aid. We must continue to fulfill our commitments to the people of El Salvador in
this time of peace.
The report of the General Accounting Office about which we will hear today provides much
• Initial anxiety about whether U.S. officials could shift rapidly from projects of counter-
insurgency to the very different demands of reconstruction seems to have abated.
• The Salvadnran government and its former enemy, the FMLN. are cooperating
• At the local level, former combatants of both sides are beginning the process of returning
to civilian life. In some cases, former soldiers and guerrillas stand side-by-side in training
programs and swap war stones.
Lut there is disturbing news in this report as well. Key components of El Salvador's peace
agreement — a civilian national police force and a land bank to distribute land and provide
agricultural credit— are seriously underfunded. Of some $800 million pledged by U.S. and
internauonal donors one year ago. very little has actually arrived in El Salvador.
Especially disturbing to this Congress is the fact that our European allies — so quick to instruct
us in the correct approach to peace in Central America in the 1980s — are no where to be seen now
that peace has arrived. With the notable exception of Spain, few European countries are matching
their enthusiasm for peace with real aid commitments. This is a disturbing finding and one which
this subcommittee will pursue later this year .with administration witnesses.
We look forward to hearine from the witnesses.
United States Genera] Accounting Office
Before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere
Affairs, Committee on Foreign Affairs,
House of Representatives
For Release on Delivery
3:00 pm. EST
March 23. 1993
Status of Reconstruction
Activities One Year After the
Statement of Harold J. Johnson, Director, International Affairs
Issues, National Security and International Affairs Division
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
We are pleased to be here today to discuss the economic,
political, and social reconstruction of El Salvador. My
testimony is based on our ongoing evaluation of U.S. assistance
to El Salvador—an assignment undertaken at your request—and
three recent GAO reports. 1 I will focus on five areas: (1) the
National Reconstruction Plan, (2) reconstruction funding, (3)
nongovernment organization (NGO) participation in reconstruction,
(4) the Municipalities in Action program (MEA by its Spanish
acronym), and (5) land redistribution.
It has been only a little over 1 year since the United Nations-
sponsored peace agreement in El Salvador was signed and the
reconstruction program is in its early stages, but progress
toward peace and economic reconstruction has been made. The
Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) and the government of El
Salvador are successfully negotiating the content and
implementation of the National Reconstruction Plan. NGOs are
playing an increasing role in implementing social development
* Aid to El Salvador: Slow Progress in Developing a National
Civilian Police ( GAO/NSIAD-92-338 , Sept. 22, 1992); El Salvador:
Efforts to Satisfy National Civilian Police Equipment Needs
(GAO/NSIAD-93-100BR, Dec. 15, 1992); and El Salvador: Role of
Nongovernment Organizations in Postwar Reconstruction (GAG7NSIAD-
93-20BR, Nov. 16, 1992) .
projects. Through the MEA program, over 1,000 critically needed
projects at the community level have been funded, and mayors,
local FMLN and other officials, and community residents we spoke
with are complimentary of the program. Yet, serious problems
continue to face the government and the FMLN.
The overriding problem in El Salvador is that although the
international donor community has pledged $800 million for
reconstruction, insufficient money has been forthcoming,
particularly for areas such as public safety and land
redistribution that many believe are critical to the long-term
success of the political settlement. The FMLN and the government
were assured by the United Nations that the international donor
community would help pay for the cost of reconstruction, and both
parties seemed to have unreasonable expectations of what could be
done and when. In short, expectations for economic
rehabilitation generated by the Peace Agreement have outpaced
fiscal realities. The Peace Agreement was intentionally
ambiguous with regard to the economic reconstruction plan, and
this may have been necessary at the time, but allowing for the
details of the plan to be worked out by the parties at a later
date has led to some of the problems being seen today.
Solutions to differences between the government and the FMLN on
the plan's content are being dealt with through negotiations and
concessions. The end result of these negotiations, however, has
been to expand programs to the point that the costs exceed the
resources available or anticipated. Negotiated solutions were
reached without regard to where the money would come from--a
natural outgrowth of good-intentioned parties making decisions
about other people's money. For example, a United Nations-
brokered settlement concerning land redistribution more than
tripled the estimated number of beneficiaries to 47,500, creating
a shortfall of at least $61.7 million for land procurement.
Also, land is being provided without sufficient agricultural
credit, which may cost another $71 to $255 million. The costs
and sources of funding for some critical programs, like public
safety, simply were not thought through when a commitment was
made. For example, the new national civilian police force is
underfunded by at least $23 million for operating costs in 1993
alone, and an estimated $40.3 million is needed for equipment and
facilities in 1993 and 1994, but no funding source is in sight.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, the United States committed $250
million to pay for immediate and longer-term reconstruction needs
over a 5-year period. This was to be essentially front loaded to
allow other donors time to provide funds they pledged. The
problem now is that projects' funding requirements greatly exceed
what the United States ha» to spend. The United States is
planning to redirect funds from other planned reconstruction
activities to take care of some of these unfunded needs but this
has not been enough. While the results of upcoming Consultative
Group and European Community meetings may provide some additional
resources, at this point in time, the reconstruction plan as
currently envisioned may be out of reach.
THE NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION PLAN WORKING,
BUT IS STILL BEING NEGOTIATED
Developing and maintaining the National Reconstruction Plan has
proven to be difficult. The government of El Salvador and the
FMLN have differed from the start on the content of the plan and
how funds to implement it would be allocated, but both have been
flexible and willing to settle their differences through
negotiation on a case-by-case basis. While negotiations have
taken time and some target dates have been missed and programs
delayed, we do not believe that this has been a significant
barrier to the overall reconstruction efforts.
FMLN and Government Beginning to Cooperate
The Peace Agreement facilitated by the United Nations assigned
responsibility to the government to develop a reconstruction plan
to implement the social and economic reforms in the areas most
affected by the war. The government was also responsible for
coordinating the execution of the plan, managing reconstruction
resources from donors, and controlling and accounting for funds.
The agreement required, however, that the government consider
recommendations from the FMLN and others so that the plan would
reflect the collective will of the nation. While the government
has considered FMLN input to the plan, the FMLN has continued to
criticize the plan for emphasizing infrastructure reconstruction
over social development and failing to sufficiently incorporate a
role for grass-roots organizations and NGOs . Also, the FMLN has
accused the government of denying it full participation in the
plan's design and execution.
We cannot comment on the merits of each party's position on the
plan because each side's position is rooted in a different
political agenda, but it is apparent that both sides have made
significant concessions to make the plan work. For example:
Although the FMLN was not satisfied with the reconstruction
plan, it joined the government in presenting the plan to the
international donor community at the Consultative Group
meeting in March 1992, thus enhancing its chances for
After the FMLN linked force demobilization to the provision
of certain benefits, the government increased benefits
specifically for FMLN ex-combatants to include household
goods packages and a rehabilitation program for the wounded.
Although not necessarily to its political advantage, the
government has accepted and has been abiding by a United
Nations-brokered land agreement that increased the number of
beneficiaries and gave FMLN ex-combatants first priority to
Distribution of Funds
The National Reconstruction Plan stipulates that the government
use three entities to implement reconstruction projects: (1) the
MEA program, which performs small infrastructure projects
critical to local community development; (2) NGOs , which focus on
social issues such as training, credit, and maternal health and
child care; and (3) government ministries and organizations that
implement national health and education programs and major
infrastructure reconstruction projects. Some NGOs that were once
affiliated with the FMLN, and their supporters, are concerned
that government funding decisions will disproportionately favor
the MEA and organizations that the government used during the
Based on our assessment of how reconstruction funds have so far
been distributed, we did not find these concerns to be well
founded. As of January 1993, about 28 percent of funds approved
went for NGO projects, 26 percent for MEA projects, and 47
percent for central government organizations' projects. Our work
to date indicates that the government has allocated funding based
on the type of activity to be provided and the merit of
individual projects, and has not favored one type of implementing
entity over another in its funding decision.
FUNDING IMMEDIATE RECONSTRUCTION NEEDS IS A PROBLEM
The FMLN and the government were encouraged to sign the Peace
Agreement with assurances from the United Nations that the
international donor community would help fund the cost of
rebuilding the social, political, and economic structure of the
country. Although donors pledged $800 million in March 1992,
contributions have been insufficient for critical activities.
Some programs, most notably public safety and land
redistribution, are among the most contentious issues confronting
the government and the FMLN, and are closely tied to
demobilization and continued peace. Costs for some critical
programs have increased substantially, mainly because of new
agreements that were made to avoid breakdowns in the peace
process. For example, additional benefits were provided to FMLN
ex-combatants under the threat that the FMLN would not otherwise
demobilize. The government agreed to provide $1.3 million for
agricultural credit, $5.3 million for household goods starter
packages, and $1.3 million to begin a rehabilitation program for
FMLN wounded. The FMLN has recently asked for funding to provide
housing to 11,000 of its ex-combatants, estimated to cost between
$16 and $35 million, but money to fund this request is not
The $250 million pledged by the United States was intended to
take care of immediate and longer-term reconstruction needs over
a 5-year period, but due to increasing costs of immediate
reconstruction needs, AID is planning to redirect about $48
million of this pledge from other planned reconstruction
activities in El Salvador. Still, severe funding shortfalls
exist in key programs, such as public safety and land
The Public Safety Program
A new police force and police academy were explicitly called for
by the Peace Agreement, and assurances that a new public safety
system would be implemented helped convince the FMLN to sign the
agreement. We reported in September 1992 that (1) the government
had made limited progress establishing and funding the National
Civilian Police and (2) the police academy, though operating, was
in serious financial trouble. In February 1993, the police
academy graduated 600 police recruits but money was not available
for adequate salaries, equipment, facilities, or supplies. As of
March 1993, only three donors have provided money for police and
academy activities — the United States provided $20 million, Spain
$1 million, and Norway $350,000.
For fiscal year 1993, the national civilian police force will
need an additional $23 million for operating costs. This figure
does not include the estimated $40.3 million needed for
equipment, supplies, and facilities in 1993 and 1994. The police
academy is also short of operating funds and the government is
using money originally designated for construction to pay for
operating expenses such as utilities, food, and health care for
police academy students.
The El Salvadoran government hopes international donor assistance
will make up the shortfall, but officials from the United States,
the United Nations, and other organizations have expressed doubt
that such funding will be provided. Two appeals for funds have
gone out to the international donor community, but no response
was received. U.S. officials told us that other donor countries,
by law or preference, are not interested in funding public safety
Land Redistribution Program
One of the most important aspects of the Peace Agreement and
reconstruction plan is the redistribution of land. AID
originally planned to provide $15 million to this program, which
would cover the cost of land for 10,000 beneficiaries. In
October 1992, a United Nations-brokered agreement increased the
number of beneficiaries to 47,500 2 , significantly increasing
program costs. By redirecting funds from other planned
activities, the United States plans to increase its contribution
to about $50.2 million. The Land Bank, the government's agency
for land redistribution, will also receive $12 million from the
European Community, and the government is providing land it owns
valued at $18.6 million, bringing total resources for land
redistribution to $80.8 million. Based on the average land price
specified in the United Nations-brokered land agreement, this is
still at least $61.7 million short of what is needed. AID has
said that the shortfall could be as much as $89 million, based on
a more realistic land price. This shortfall estimate could grow
even further if higher quality land requested by the FMLN is
provided to its beneficiaries.
AID officials are reluctant 'to consider redirecting further
funding to these projects. Except for the European Community,
other donors have not provided or pledged funds for land
2 These beneficiaries include ex-combatants and the families
who have occupied land (without legal title of ownership) that had
been abandoned by its owner during the war.
Issues Related to Other Donor 3 Funding
World Bank and U.S. officials told us that some donors were
hesitant to fund projects until the El Salvadoran government and
the FMLN had demonstrated their commitment to peace by reducing
or demobilizing their military forces. A World Bank official
said that the World Bank, the sponsor of the Consultative Group,
was also hesitant to encourage donors to fulfill pledges for this
same reason. Additionally, according to U.S. officials, some
donors expect the United States to fund highly visible and
politically risky projects, such as public safety and land
Some funding may be available later this year. The Inter-
American Development Bank plans to provide an unrestricted $90
million loan for disbursement starting later this year, but the
bank will disburse the loan in three installments over 18 months.
A $75 million loan from the World Bank, tentatively scheduled to
be disbursed in 1992, will not be available until September 1993.
The European Community and Germany pledged to finance some
reintegration assistance for ex-combatants, but this money is not
expected until mid- 1994. Finally, the Inter-American Development
Bank and Japan have developed a $250 million water and energy
3 0ther donors include the World Bank, the Inter-American
Development Bank, several international organizations, and 18
individual countries pledging bilateral assistance.
project, but the majority of the project will not be funded until
1994 or 1995.
Another donor conference is scheduled for April 1993, and World
Bank officials have indicated that at that time they plan to
aggressively encourage donors to provide funding. The El
Salvadoran government has been preparing presentations for this
meeting as well as a meeting with the European Community later in
April, specifically asking for quick-disbursing cash for critical
needs. However, since most donors prefer more traditional
development activities, and previous attempts to secure funding
have been largely unsuccessful, it is unclear how successful the
government will be during these meetings.
NGOs AS MAJOR PARTICIPANTS IN RECONSTRUCTION
Forty- five NGOs have been involved in a wide range of
reconstruction projects. Over the past 6 months, politically
motivated attitudes have softened, the working relationship
between the government and NGO community has improved, and more
information is being disseminated on reconstruction procedures,
increasing their participation. Although few of the NGOs
formerly affiliated with the FMLN* have received funding
4 We define the NGOs formerly affiliated with the FMLN as those
organizations that operated primarily in the former conflictive
areas and were historically affiliated with the FMLN. In
discussions with some of these NGOs, we were told that they no
longer wish to be affiliated with any political faction.
directly from the government, many have received indirect
government funding as sub-grantees under umbrella organizations.
Many NGOs have weak financial and management controls and do not
meet the technical and management requirements of the
reconstruction program, and progress in improving these
capabilities has been slow.
NGO Participation Has Increased
In June 1992, 29 NGOs were approved to implement reconstruction
projects funded either directly or indirectly by the government.
By February 1993, 45 organizations had been approved to receive
$11.5 million. It appears that the factors that hindered earlier
NGO participation have been resolved. For example, the FMLN told
us that FMLN-af filiated NGOs decided in June 1992 not to
participate in reconstruction activities until the government and
FMLN agreed on the reconstruction strategy. In addition, at that
time, NGOs were confused about the process for receiving funding
and the general eligibility criteria. But now the government,
alone or in concert with FMLN NGOs, has increased efforts to
explain the program. Over the past 6 months, NGOs have become
more willing to accept funding from the government. One NGO
formerly affiliated with the FMLN told us in June 1992 that it
would not accept funding from the United States under any
circumstances, whereas, in December 1992 it indicated it was
willing to work with the government, accept technical assistance,
and apply for reconstruction funds. Another NGO formerly
affiliated with the FMLN met with AID and the government to
discuss four potential projects and has received funding for one
Few FMLN Affiliated NGOs Receive Direct Funding
Few NGOs formerly affiliated with the FMLN are receiving funds
directly from the government. As of February 1993, the
government had approved about $9 million in direct funding for 5
U.S. -based NGOs and 18 Salvadoran-based NGOs. Only 2 of the 18
were NGOs formerly affiliated with the FMLN and they received
about $176,000, less than 2 percent of the total approved for all
NGOs. However, 25 Salvadoran-based NGOs have received funding
through subgrants from other NGOs and organizations that are
funded directly; 5 17 of these are NGOs formerly FMLN-af filiated
and they received about $2 million, or 17 percent of the total
The FMLN and its NGO, the Fundacion 16 de Enero, claimed that the
government has been discriminatory in deciding which NGOs to
approve. They said they would like to see greater participation
of NGOs, such as those that are members of the Coordinating
Council of Private Humanitarian Institutions in El Salvador
'Three of the 25 NGOs receiving indirect funding also receive
(CIPHES). 6 At the time they told us this, however, 13 of the 37
NGOs in the group were already involved in reconstruction
activities or other U.S. funded projects. We noted that many of
the NGOs receiving direct funding could be considered pro-
government, but they also had prior experience delivering
development assistance funded by the United States or El
Salvadoran government. While one can never be totally certain,
we did not find evidence that the government's selections were
made for political reasons.
Slow Progress in Improving NGO Capabilities
While we found that few formerly FMLN-af filiated NGOs have
received funds for reconstruction activities, this is because of
their limited management and technical capability to design
projects and meet accountability requirements established by the
El Salvadoran government and AID. As we reported in November
1992, we believe that the standards for project proposal
submission and administration, control, and accountability are
reasonable and do not represent a political barrier to
participation. With adequate technical assistance, these
administrative and financial management standards can generally
6 This organization performs a coordinating role for 37
be met. Such technical assistance is available through U.S-
funded projects, multinational assistance, and umbrella NGO
organizations. However, it has been slow to begin.
Many NGOs, particularly those without prior experience working
with the El Salvadoran government or AID, are generally
unfamiliar with U.S. requirements for management control. Also,
because many NGOs that worked in the conflictive zones during the
war provided largely emergency- type assistance, they have little
or no experience preparing proposals with project strategies,
objectives, approach, methodology, and realistic cost estimates.
Some efforts have been made to improve NGO administrative and
technical capabilities; however, they have yet to produce
significant tangible results. The government began developing a
manual for NGOs in August 1992, describing the requirements and
procedures for reconstruction funding, but as of January 1993,
the manual had not been distributed to NGOs. Further, according
to a U.S. -based NGO, the manual is too technical for NGOs seeking
government funds for the first time. Another project implemented
by the U.S. -based NGO Private Agencies Collaborating Together
(PACT) has not made much progress until recently. In June 1992,
PACT planned to assist 40 NGOs and NGO coordinating councils
during their first year. However, because it took from July to
November 1992 for the government to approve the PACT project, few
NGOs have received this training until recently. PACT did
initiate contact with NGOs and assessed their capabilities during
the 4-1/2 month approval period, but did not begin formal
assistance until November. By February 1993, however, PACT had
begun providing varying levels of assistance to about 39 NGOs, 21
of which are formerly affiliated with the FMLN.
Other entities have provided some help to NGOs. The U.S. -based
Catholic Relief Services is implementing a credit project through
subgrants with 19 Salvadoran-based NGOs. Even though Catholic
Relief Services is financially responsible for funds administered
by the 19 NGOs, it provides these NGOs with on-the-job training
in project administration and implementation. A similar umbrella
arrangement through the United Nations Development Program is
helping five NGOs--two formerly affiliated with the FMLN--develop
project planning and management capabilities. The NGO council
CIPHES, in conjunction with a local university and United Nations
Development Program, has instructed NGOs on how to prepare,
evaluate, and manage projects. Between September and December
1992, 37 representatives from NGOs attended the course.
MUNICIPALITIES IN ACTION PROGRAM
The MEA program is the main program used to provide assistance
and promote democratic processes at the local level. However,
because of its counter-insurgency role during the war, its use to
deliver post-war assistance has been viewed by some with
suspicion and distrust. Further, critics have said that it fails
to encourage democratic processes and is ineffective as a
delivery system. However, officials and residents in communities
served by MEA told us it is meeting its objectives.
MEA Is a Primary Means to Deliver Assistance to Communities
MEA was chosen by the government as a primary means to deliver
post-war assistance in the former conflictive areas because it
(1) was already in place, (2) had demonstrated an ability to get
things done, and (3) allowed for a participatory, decentralized
approach to delivering assistance. Open town meetings are held
to provide a forum for residents to discuss community needs. The
mayor and the municipal council then rank those needs and request
appropriate funding. Between February and December 1992, 1,066
projects, valued at $11.3 million, were implemented through MEA
in the 115 municipalities targeted by the National Reconstruction
In December 1992, we attended three town meetings and held
extensive discussions in another 15 municipalities with mayors of
various political parties, municipal council members, and
citizens and representatives of the church, local grass-roots
organizations, NGOs , and the FMLN. We found that they viewed MEA
favorably as a means of delivering assistance and promoting
democratic processes. No one we spoke with said or implied that
MEA carried a negative image from its past counter-insurgency
MEA Considered Democratic and Efficient Program
Some critics have said the MEA program denies residents full
participation in the process and is inefficient. Criticisms
include the following: (1) people do not have full opportunity to
be heard at open town meetings, (2) residents should be allowed
an opportunity to prioritize projects and choose which ones to
seek funding for, (3) project oversight is limited, and (4) the
MEA process is inefficient and results in delays in project
completion or incomplete projects.
As mentioned earlier, we met with mayors, FMLN officials, and
others at 18 municipalities and attended three open town
meetings. We learned that the process of allowing for full
citizen participation is maturing, and most people we talked with
praised the program and told us that it was working. Further, we
believe the program ha6 mechanisms in place to provide for full
citizen participation. We asked officials and residents about
each of the above mentioned criticisms. Very few complained
about lack of opportunities to voice opinions, make decisions, or
oversee the projects. Local FMLN officials, the most severe
critics of the MEA process in the early period, told us that
their organizations have largely accepted the participatory
mechanisms of MEA, and, in some areas, are undertaking activities
to further develop and strengthen the mechanisms.
With regard to complaints that the MEA process has led to
incomplete projects and inordinate delays in project
implementation, community officials and residents we spoke with
were proud of the project completion rate under MEA. In the 18
municipalities we visited in mid-December 1992, 143 projects had
been completed over the past 10 months or were underway at the
time of our visit. Community officials and citizens reported
that only six of the projects had experienced problems or delays,
but attributed these to unavoidable circumstances outside the
control of the community. For example, one road project in
Chalatenango, which was cited by critics as a prime example of an
incomplete project typical of MEA problems, was delayed due to a
strike at a cement factory. The road could not be completed
within its budget when the price of cement doubled after the
strike. Although the road was 15 meters short of its intended
length, the community and municipal government used municipal
funds to finish the project. Community officials explained that
some projects, such as electrification and water projects, take
longer because they require greater coordination and longer
Municipal Development Needs Further Strengthening
According to AID, the MEA program can be strengthened by
educating and training mayors and community officials on
democratic processes. In addition, gains can be obtained through
greater education of residents of the MEA process. However, AID
is most concerned about the program's fiscal sustainability .
According to AID, the tax base varies considerably between
municipalities, but generally revenues generated from local
sources have been low. User fees and tariffs have remained
unchanged for decades, despite significant increases in the cost
of services, and municipalities do not have a property tax, which
could be a principal source of revenue.
Although municipalities are beginning to adjust their fees and
service charges to recover a greater portion of the cost of the
service, the revenues will be inadequate to finance expanded
local government services. As of December 1992, AID was
finalizing the details of a new municipal development project
that will address these issues.
LAND REDISTRIBUTION PROBLEMS
Let me turn now to the problems associated with land
redistribution. As mentioned earlier, the land redistribution
program is severely underfunded. In addition, the government has
been slow in transferring land to recipients, the
recapitalization of the Land Bank from loan repayments is
doubtful, and insufficient agricultural credit is available to
farmers receiving land.
Expectations and Results
Redistributing land to 47,500 ex-combatants and others is a
critical aspect of reconstruction. Yet, land transfers are
behind schedule, and few have received land. About 15,000
beneficiaries were to have received land by January 1993, but as
of mid-February 1993, only about 3,800 beneficiaries had actually
received land. About 179,000 acres are available to be
transferred, which would provide land for at least another 20,000
Several factors have contributed to delays in land
redistribution. The government and the FMLN did not agree on the
basic details of land transfer until the United Nations brokered
an acceptable land agreement in October 1992, 9 months after the
Peace Agreement was signed. Even after the agreement was signed,
negotiations over the quality of land to be provided to FMLN
beneficiaries continued. Also, the FMLN is required to identify
potential properties and provide the government with lists of
beneficiaries but this has not been completed. The FMLN told us
it lacks the technical capability and resources to complete its
identification of land and beneficiaries, and as far as we know,
there are no plans to help the FMLN in this area.
Loan Repayments Doubtful
The Land Bank, established in 1991, is intended not only to help
in the reconstruction, but also to become a permanent government
institution. This means that the Land Bank must be recapitalized
from loan repayments from land beneficiaries. However, most
officials agree that land recipients probably will not be able to
repay their loans. Both the loan terms and technical factors
contribute to this problem.
The terms of the Peace Agreement call for loans to be provided at
6 percent over 30 years, with a 4-year floating grace period.
Agricultural experts we spoke with indicated that most farmers
will probably use the first 4 years of their loan as the grace
period, which means the Land Bank will not be able to
recapitalize. They added that the ability of the farmers to
repay their loans is further hindered because of inadequate
agricultural credit, limited technical assistance, the less than
ideal quality of the land provided, and the farmers'
unwillingness to grow nontraditional crops, such as garlic and
melons, that produce income.
Agricultural Credit Inadequate
Agricultural credit provided by the government might help farmers
sustain themselves and give them the ability to repay the Land
Bank. Experts predict that the current informal system of
agricultural credit, which includes personal loans from friends
and family, will not sustain agriculture in the 1990s.
The United States provided agricultural credit of about $111 per
acre to about 8,000 families through the Catholic Relief
Services. Although considered a successful program by U.S.
officials, it satisfies only a small part of agricultural credit
needs, since that is a minimal level of credit, according to
agricultural experts. AID estimates that between $170 and $615
in credit is needed for each acre, depending on the type of crop
grown. Using AID data, we estimate that between $71 and $255
million is needed to provide agricultural credit to the 47,500
land beneficiaries. 7 This estimate does not include credit
needed by other farmers in the former conflictive areas who did
not receive land through the land redistribution program. To
date, however, only about $34 million from all sources, including
$32 million from the United States, has been committed
7 This estimate is a mathematical calculation based on 47,500
beneficiaries each receiving 8.75 acres of land. The amount and
quality of land provided and the beneficiary's financial condition
would affect the amount of credit needed.
specifically for farmers in the areas targeted by the National
We do not know if additional international donors are prepared to
make commitments to assist the government in funding this
requirement. We were told that private banks are unlikely to
respond to the needs of the farmers, and government banks do not
have the resources. The government hopes the European Community,
the United Nations, and others will contribute funds for
agriculture credit, but U.S. officials are not optimistic that
these sources will provide sufficient funds.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my prepared statement. I will be
happy to answer questions from the subcommittee.
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE/LUTHERAN WORLD REUEF
Ottice on Development Policy -110 MarylanO Ave N E • Building Mailbox «45 • Washington D C 20002-5694 • 202 543-6336
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERED
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHERYL MORDEN
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR DEVELOPMENT POLICY
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE AND LUTHERAN WORLD REUEF
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs
Committee on Foreign Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives
March 23, 1993
PEACE-BUILDING IN EL SALVADOR: AN ASSESSMENT
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee. I also want
to express appreciation for these hearings on the situation in El Salvador. The success of the
peace process continues to rest heavily on the interest and vigilance of the international
community, including the U.S. Congress.
Church World Service' and Lutheran World Relief have long-standing relationships with
Salvadoran church and ecumenical organizations as well as with a number of non-
governmental organizations. During the war we supported their efforts to assist victims of
the violence and to contribute to a negotiated settlement of the conflict.
Church World Service is a division of the National Council of Churches of Christ in
the Umted States. Church World Service's relief, development and refugee work is
carried out in conjunction with local partner agencies in more than 75 countries in
Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
Lutheran World Relief is the relief and development agency of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. LWR
supports more than 170 development projects annually throughout Africa. Asia, the
Middle East, and Latin America.
Having shared the suffering of our colleagues during the long years of war, we shared their
boundless joy at the signing of the peace agreements on January 16, 1992. In the ensuing
months we have shared the exhilaration, frustration, optimism, and pain that has come with
the end of the war. Hope for the future has been the underpinning of events of the past year.
El Salvador today is teeming with activity as the people throw themselves into the task of
restoring the damage of the war, addressing the war's social deficit, and building for a better
future. The new construction offers visible evidence of progress. There has been progress
as well in other, less visible areas, but this has gone much more slowly and serious problems
and challenges remain. These problems are likely to intensify in the period leading to next
The economic recovery and development dimensions of the post-conflict situation rarely
appear in the headlines as do other elements of the peace process. They are, however, both
intimately linked to the broader peace process and critically important to the establishment of
a firm and lasting peace. The question of land ownership and credit, for example, is one of
the most volatile issues in the peace process. The process of land transfer and provision of
credit has gone very slowly, for a variety of reasons. While this issue falls beyond the scope
of this testimony, I urge this Committee to investigate and monitor this complex and difficult
issue, which has the potential to disrupt seriously the peace process.
My testimony will discuss progress in the peace-building process related to social and
economic recovery and development, specific activities of non-governmental development
organizations, and continuing concerns and recommendations regarding U.S. policy in this
PROGRESS IN PEACE-BUILDING RELATED TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The UN Assumes a More Key Role
The National Reconstruction Plan presented to the donor community at last year's World
Bank Consultative Group meeting focused primarily on "helping to create the necessary
conditions to reintegrate socially and economically those most affected by the conflict."
While this is certainly an essential ingredient of post-conflict recovery it is a narrower focus
than the post-conflict peace-building advocated by UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghah.
Peace-building seeks to bolster those processes and activities that consolidate the
achievements of peacemaking and peacekeeping to prevent a recurrence of conflict. The
Secretary General argues that "only sustained, cooperative work to deal with underlying
economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems can place an achieved peace on a
durable foundation." 3
3. Boutros-Ghali, Boutros. "An Agenda for Peace: Preventative Diplomacy,
Peacemaking and Peacekeeping." New York, United Nations. January 31, 1992.
During the past year, as the UN Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) and the UN
Development Programme (UNDP) have become involved in mediating and implementing key
elements of the peace process related to economic and social recovery and rehabilitation,
these activities have been framed within the broader task of peace-building. This includes an
emphasis on "reforming or strengthening governmental institutions and promoting formal and
informal processes of political participation." 4
Three efforts in particular have earned credibility for ONUSAL and UNDP in this area:
1.) the program of emergency assistance for demobilized FMLN combatants;
2.) the program for productive reintegration of FMLN ex-combatants into national
3.) negotiations for the reestablishment of municipal authority in former conflict
The UN responded to the exigencies of each of these situations with a pragmatic, flexible
approach based on dialogue and participation. For example, in the case of the program of
emergency assistance to demobilized FMLN combatants, ONUSAL and UNDP were
prevailed upon to step in when it became clear that the peace accords did not include any
specific provisions for such assistance. The UNDP involved the FMLN, the Government of
El Salvador, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other UN agencies in
designing the assistance program. It then established a Coordinating Committee of these
same entities that met at least weekly. The Committee discussed implementation problems,
and served as a forum to resolve disputes among the parties. UNDP has formed similar
working committees to address especially difficult issues related to the reintegration of
FMLN ex-combatants, such as land tenancy, housing, and credit.
Both UNDP and the FMLN consider the program to assist the demobilized a success,
notwithstanding a variety of problems encountered. In the view of UNDP, broad
participation was critical to success:
"The genuine participation in the implementation of the Programme by the
beneficiaries themselves, by the popular organizations and NGOs already working in
the ex-conflict zones and by national authorities such as the Ministries of Education
and Health was the deciding factor in ensuring that the Programme responded to the
specific and varying needs of the ex-combatants and in paving the way for longer-
term attention to the ex-combatants and their communities." 5
5. United Nations Development Programme. "Final Progress Report: Emergency
Programme for Persons in Process of Demobilization in El Salvador." United
Nations Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, February 1993.
The dialogue and participation that contributed to the success of these efforts has helped to
established a climate more conducive to further dialogue and has encouraged efforts to
normalize relations among previously estranged sectors of Salvadoran society. While this is
perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of the past year, the circumstances under
which the recent amnesty law was approved demonstrate the fragility of this process and are
surely a setback for further reconciliation.
Institutional Reform Can Benefit from a Variety of Programs
A critical task of peace-building is the reform of institutions-both governmental and non-
governmental-whose operations have been defined by the logic of war. This issue surfaced
initially in El Salvador when the government chose to create a Secretariat for National
Reconstruction (SRN) from the existing CONARA (National Commission for the Restoration
of Areas). Objections to the transfer of CONARA to the SRN were based on the agency's
earlier involvement in counterinsurgency programs and the belief that such a history would
limit its ability to contribute to necessary reconciliation. The government nevertheless opted
for this course, arguing that "spreading limited human resources too thinly or experimenting
with new mechanisms is likely to be counterproductive." 6
In fact, during the year several major new programs have been initiated that will provide an
opportunity to experiment with new mechanisms. The International Fund for Agricultural
Development has launched a $37.5 million, six year agricultural development pilot project in
Chalatenango. The project, which will involve all of the relevant governmental and non-
governmental organizations as well as beneficiaries, will focus on training and capacity
building of campesino organizations, economically sustainable production methods, recovery
and management of natural resources, support for rural women-all within the context of
overall departmental development.
The IFAD project establishes mechanisms at each level, from local to national, for broad
participation in program design, management, and evaluation. In addition. NGOs with
experience working in Chalatenango will have specific roles in program implementation.
The Government, the FMLN, and NGOs working in Chalatenango already have signed a
Memo of Understanding concerning the project.
This and other new programs will make it possible to evaluate a variety of institutional
arrangements and program approaches. The lessons from these differing methods and
institutional configurations should make a useful contribution toward determining the most
effective approach to sustainable development and genuine democracy in El Salvador.
The Republic of El Salvador. "National Reconstruction Plan: Report to the
Consultative Group." Ministry of Planning and Coordination of Economic and Social
Development, March 23, 1992, p. 9.
PEACE-BUILDING AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
The Debate Over Participation
Non-governmental and popular organizations as well as other expressions of civil society
(trade unions, cooperatives, etc.) are critically important in the process of peace-building.
These organizations serve as vehicles by which various sectors of Salvadoran society are able
to articulate and address their pressing economic, social, and political needs. They are the
gateway to the indispensable knowledge and productive energy of the intended beneficiaries
The early months of the post-war period included a heated debate over the role of non-
governmental organizations in economic recovery and rehabilitation activities. Many of the
NGOs with experience working in the former conflict zones sought an institutionalized role
in the formulation of an overall strategy for recovery and rehabilitation that would lay the
groundwork for more equitable long-term development. The government viewed the NGOs
primarily as non-bureaucratic, inexpensive social service providers with limited program
capacity and serious managerial and fiscal accountability weaknesses.
Over the past year, non-governmental and popular organizations have won a broader role in
decision-making on a limited basis in a number of ways including:
participation in municipal reconstruction committees formed as part of the
ONUSAL-brokered agreement on the reestablishment of municipal authority;
inclusion of local NGOs and community organizations in the open town
meetings of the Municipalities in Action program;
participation in the emergency assistance programs for demobilized FMLN
participatory mechanisms of the IFAD-sponsored agricultural development
project in Chalatenango.
The Government agreed to these participatory mechanisms in response to the initiative and-
in some cases—considerable pressure from international sources. These mechanisms offer the
the possibility of genuine empowerment and deepening democracy, with all of the political
unpredictability that comes with genuine democracy. Whether these mechanisms will be
consolidated and others created and recognized represents a test of the commitment of the
government and its international supporters to the flowering of full-fledged democracy in El
NGO-Activities in the Post-Conflict Period
The gravity of the needs of the affected populations, the expectations created at the local
level by the peace agreements, and the dynamics created by the upcoming national and local
elections have compelled many of the non-governmental organizations to seek accommoda-
tion with the government and to begin to negotiate terms for the use of official funds. Three
of the five NGOs of the Concertacion 7 are negotiating or have signed agreements with the
SRN. In several cases a third party (such as AID or the World Food Programme) has also
been involved in negotiating the agreement.
Non-governmental organizations have undertaken a variety of economic recovery and
rehabilitation programs using funds from European, Nordic, and Canadian governments,
sometimes through NGOs from those countries and sometimes direcdy from the
governments. The NGOs have also been contracted by the UN Development Programme to
conduct needs assessments in the former conflict zones. Some NGOs are implementing
projects intended to foster reconciliation and consensus building at the local level.
These groups are also engaged in a number of organizational changes intended to equip them
for the post-war peace-building period and for efforts to build a more equitable future for
their country. Among these changes are:
a heavy emphasis on training and capacity building, for which they are
receiving significant support from international NGOs with whom they have
worked in the past;
greater operational collaboration and strategic coordination among NGOs, a
tendency toward specialization, and efforts to agree on an appropriate division
of labor between non-governmental and popular organizations;
development of new methodologies that emphasize self-help and discourage
attitudes of passivity and expectations of hand-outs;
efforts to articulate new organizational models, and new development strategies
both on the macro- and the micro- levels.
A serious unresolved problem concerns the failure of the government to grant legal status to
a number of non-governmental organizations whose petition has been pending for some time.
ONUSAL has intervened on behalf of one organization, but without positive results to date.
Failure to receive legal status will impede efforts by these groups to secure funds from
CONTINUING CONCERNS AND RECOMMENDATION
Relations Between Government and NGOs
Has the post-conflict peace-building in El Salvador produced "sustained cooperative work to
deal with underlying economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems?" While some
degree of cooperation has been achieved, much more is needed. One cannot conclude,
despite some progress, that the SRN and the broad range of NGOs have established a
7 . La Concertacion de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales que Trabajan Con
Refugiados. Retornados y Desplazados en El Salvador. Its members include
FASTRAS. ASDI, CORDES, FUNSALPRODECE, and REDES.
working relationship based on mutual recognition of appropriate division of labor between
governmental and non-governmental organizations. The establishment of such a relationship
needs to be given a significantly high priority within the Secretariat for National
The Salvadoran non-governmental and popular organizations, inc!udin D those who have
worked in the NRP target areas, are willing and able to make important contributions to the
economic recovery and rehabilitation of their country. Their ability to relate to and articulate
the needs of the intended beneficiaries is key to developing and implementing effective,
The lack of familiarity with non-governmental and popular organizations on the part of the
SRN (as well as on the part of AID and the General Accounting Office) combined with the
overriding emphasis that has been placed on NGO ability to meet fiscal accountability
requirements has impeded movement toward the establishment of a productive working
relationship between the broad spectrum of non-governmental organizations and the
government. 8 In addition, the government seems to have placed a priority during the
contingency phase of channelling funds for infrastructure projects through municipal
governments. Such projects represent 70 percent of the funds disbursed for this phase, as of
January 1993 (excluding funds for reintegration of ex-combatants).
Other donors agencies have developed methods for working with the NGOs in social and
economic peace-building activities, even as they seek to help them develop further their
operational and managerial capacity. These agencies recognize and respect the private and
independent nature of non-governmental and popular organizations and their pivotal role in
The challenge of normalizing relations is made more difficult in the climate leading to the
1994 elections. It is important that donors be cognizant of the potential political impact of
their contributions and make whatever adjustments may be necessary to ensure to the
maximum extent possible non-partisanship in their assistance.
The Continuing Debate Over Participation
The need to establish the basis for equitable, sustainable development dictates not only that
the government and NGOs establish a constructive working relation, but that the broader
question of popular participation be revisited. The issue has been set aside in recent months
This lack of understanding is demonstrated by the list of 45 "NGOs" receiving funds
from the SRN, which has been cited by AID and GAO. This list fails to distinguish
among community associations, cooperatives, development and human promotion
NGOs, labor organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, private training institutions,
and national affiliates of US organizations.
as energies have shifted to serving the immediate needs of the population and to experiment-
ing with more participatory mechanisms at the local level.
International donors, both governmental and non-governmental, can help to initiate greater
understanding about this issue within El Salvador. Specifically, they can reinforce their
support for civil society by emphasizing that sustainability of development projects is linked
in large measure to broad participation in planning, implementation, and evaluation. Some
of the most important progress in this regard in Central America has been accomplished
through the CIREFCA process (International Conference on Central American Refugees).
One of the most important elements of the CIREFCA process has been the expectation that
national governments and national NGOs would reach consensus on proposed assistance
USAID's approach to popular participation in El Salvador has focused largely on the
Municipalities in Action (MEA) Program. It is important, as part of AID'S contribution to
post-conflict peace-building, both to evaluate MEA and to move beyond MEA to a more
thorough review of AID methodology. Important lessons concerning AID and participation
could be learned from the experience of the Development Fund for Africa as well as from
other international development agencies that are seeking to adopt a more participatory
approach 9 .
Need for Monitoring and Evaluation
Finally, the peace-building process in El Salvador deserves careful monitoring and evaluation
both to assure that the resources coming into the country are being used effectively for
programs that are sustainable, as well as to preserve the lessons of this experience that may
be useful to other post-conflict situations.
In conclusion, I would offer the following specific recommendations:
1. U.S. economic aid to El Salvador should be conditioned on full compliance with the
provisions of the peace accords.
Recently the UN Development Programme, for example, met for two days with
Central American NGOs from the Regional Association on Forced Migration
(ARMIF) as well as other NGOs to discuss UNDP involvement in human
development and the possibility of future cooperation and collaboration between
UNDP and NGOs.
See also, AID. "Local Participation in the Design and Implementation of DFA
Programs: Some Lessons From the Field." Washington: AID Bureau for Africa,
2. USAID should undertake an evaluation this year of the Municipalities in Action
Program involving evaluators well-versed in issues of popular participation, as well as
representatives of Salvadoran and US NGOs.
3. The U.S. should configure its assistance during the coming year in a way that
minimizes its partisan political impact. In particular, if the SRN is unable to channel
significantly more funds for social development and production through NGOs to the
priority target areas, then the US should reduce its contribution and seek others
channels that are likely to be more successful in this regard.
4. The U.S. should identify and implement mechanisms to involve local NGOs in AID
programs, including making more use of local or regional resources for consulting,
technical assistance, training, and capacity building within AID-funded programs.
5. The U.S. should advocate with the Salvadoran government on behalf of Salvadoran
NGOs awaiting approval of their legal status.
6. AID should contract with an agency with demonstrated experience in the area of
popular participation to establish in El Salvador a Learning Group on Popular
Participation comprised of representatives from AID, the Salvadoran government,
national non-governmental and popular organizations, US PVOs and perhaps others.
The task of the group would be to try to reach some minimum consensus about what
is meant by popular participation, to review AID programs and projects in light of
this consensus, and to make recommendations concerning steps AID could take to
adopt a more participatory approach to development.
7. The US delegation to the April 1 World Bank Consultative Group meeting on El
Salvador should support the suggestion made at last year's meeting that the Bank
establish a monitoring mechanism to assess the impact of the National Reconstruction
Mr. Chairman. I do believe that El Salvador has lessons to teach the world. The final
success of the peace process will be measured by the degree to which the peace accords and
subsequent peace-building efforts create the possibility of greater equity and well-being for
the majority of poor Salvadorans.
0WITED NATI0H8 ^gSffi WiCIONIS UNIDAfl
Commission on the Truth
The Commission on the Truth (herein "Truth Commission") was
so named because its very purpose and function have been to seek,
find and make public the truth about the acts of violence
committed by both sides in El Salvador during a civil war in
which more than 75,000 Salvadorans were killed. This report
attempts to set out, with detailed examples based on extensive
testimony and investigation, responsibility for some of the worst
and most widespread violations of human rights in El Salvador
between 1980 and July 1991.
Peace is always made by those who have fought the war. With
the support of the United Nations, the parties in conflict
explicitly established this Commission and gave it its mandate
under the peace accord. In so acting, the government OF El
Salvador and the guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National
Liberation Front (FMLN) abandoned fratricide and embraced the
principle that the responsibility for acts of violence must be
publicly recognized, that victims must be remembered and that the
perpetrators must be identified.
This report is based also on the principle that individuals,
even those caught up in the fury of civil war and the orders of
superiors, are accountable for their actions. By committing
themselves to remember the tragic violence of their recent past
and by calling for accountability in their new national quest for
peace, the Salvadoran people and their leaders have set a
standard that offers hope in a world ravaged daily by newly
terrible civil wars and gross abuses of human rights.
For their vision and their courage in embracing these ends,
the government, the former guerrillas and the people of El
Salvador deserve the praise and respect of the international
community. The members of the Truth Commission believe that El
Salvador's commitment to face the past will go far to strengthen
the determination to find out the truth, to put an end to
impunity and cover-up, ar.d to encourage reconciliation by means
of democratic processes instead of violence.
Bitter though the truth may prove to be in some cases,
recognizing what happened in El Salvador is the first essential
step to assuring that it will not happen again. For more than a
decade a convulsion of violence seized El Salvador. The army,
security forces and death squads linked to them committed
massacres, sometimes of hundreds of people at a time. They also
carried out targeted assassinations of many others, including the
country's archbishop and six Jesuit priests.
The FMLN guerrillas also followed a logic of violence that
led to grave human rights violations. They killed, kidnapped and
disappeared civilians, dissidents within the rebel movement,
public officials, mayors, judges and unarmed U.S. military
This outburst of violence has deep roots in a history of
violence in El Salvador that permitted political opponents to be
defined as enemies to be eliminated. A mentality of violence
affected all sides in the war. It was reinforced by the lack of a
credible judicial system. Such hatred, killing and acceptance of
injustice must never again be allowed in El Salvador to destroy
dialogue, tolerance, and reconciliation.
Truth alone, however, is not enough to attain the further
goal of national reconciliation and reuniting the Salvadoran
family. Forgiveness also is indispensable. The abuses and the
pain inflicted on tens of thousands of people in El Salvador will
not and should not be forgotten. It is the Commission's hope that
the sense of justice that truth gives voice to, will in time help
them to forgive.
By accepting the challenge of truth and of peace, the
government and the former guerrillas in El Salvador have assumed
a special responsibility. Salvadoran society-- a society of
sacrifice and hope — is watching them from the vantage point of
history. The future of the nation summons them, a nation which is
moving forward under the influence of one dominant idea: to lift
itself out of the ruins in order to hold high, like a banner, the
vision of its future. It is the Commission's hope that a more
just El Salvador will arise from the ashes of a war in which all
sides were unjust.
The Mandate and Methodology of the Truth Commisssion
The Commission was composed of three international notables
selected by the Secretary General of the United Nations in
consultation with the parties: Belisario Betancur, former
president of Colombia; Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart, former
foreign minister of Venezuela; and Thomas Buergenthal, Professor
of Law, George Washington University.
The Commission was nor established as a judicial body.
Instead it was given six months under the terns of the Salvadoran
peace accords to carry out four main tasks: to clarify the worst
human rights abuses of the war by all sides; to study with
special care the impunity with which the Salvadoran military and
security forces committed abuses; to make legal, political or
administrative recommendations to prevent a repeat of past
abuses; and, finally, to stimulate national reconciliation. Both
the guerrillas and the government committed themselves to carry
out the Commission's recommendations.
In seeking, as mandated, the most thorough accounting
possible of human rights abuses in the war, this report names the
institutions and those individuals whom the Commission found
responsible in the cases it studied.
The Commission received direct testimony from 2000 sources
relating to 7000 victims and information from secondary sources
relating to more than 13,000 victims. Given this amount of
testimony, the Commission could only deal with a small portion of
the thousands of abuses committed in the war. It chose to select
a sample of cases that either reflected the most shocking events
of the conflict or formed part of a broader, systematic pattern
All witnesses who requested it, were guaranteed
confidentiality to protect their lives and encourage frankness.
Based on the number of corrroborating accounts and other evidence
in a particular case, the Commission used three levels of
certainty in reaching its conclusions: overwhelming evidence,
substantial evidence and sufficient evidence. Some cases could
not be resolved. The testimony of a single witness or other
single source, no matter how compelling, was deemed insufficient
to make a judgment if not backed up by other evidence.
Before addressing specific cases presented in the report,
the Commission also provides a chronological overview of the
history of violence from 1980 to 1991.
1. The killings of six Jesuit priests
San Francisco Guajoyo
Six leaders of the Democratic Revolutionary Front
Four American churchwomen
Four Dutch journalists
Attack on FMLN hospital and execution of a nurse
FENASTRAS and COMADRES
Ventura and Mejia
Chan Chan and Massi
Massacres of peasants by the army:
Death Squad Killings:
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero
Killings of agrarian reform advisers at Sheraton Hotel
6. Violence by the FMLN:
Murder of mayors
Herbert Ernesto Anaya Sanabria
Napoleon Romero Garcia (Miguel Castellanos)
Francisco Peccorini Lettona
Attorney General Jose Roberto Garcia Alvarado
Jose Francisco Guerrero
Two American survivors of a helicopter shot down by the FMLN
Kidnapping of Ines Duarte and Villeda
Murder of a judge in Carolina
Summary of conclusions in some of the major cases studied
1. Jesuit Priests:
The Commission found that in November 1989, several members
of the Salvadoran Army high command ordered the murder of the
Jesuits. Officers at the military academy organized the killings.
Elements of the army Atlacatl battalion murdered the six priests,
their housekeeper and her young daughter; then atttempted to
leave evidence falsely implicating the rebel FMLN.
For their part in ordering the killings, the Commission
calls for the immediate dismissal and banning forever from
military and security duties of Defense Minister, General Rene
Emilio Ponce; Vice-Minister General Orlando Zepeda; former vice-
minister of public security Col. Inocente Kontano; Chief of
Staff, General Gilberto Rubio Rubio; former Air Force commander,
General Juan Rafael Bustillo; Col. Francisco Elena Fuentes, and
Col. Guillermo Alfredo Benavides. For their part in ccvering-up
the killings, the Commission cites Army chief of staff General
Gilberto Rubio Rubio; the former commander of the Atlacatl
battalion, Ccl . Oscar Alberto Leon Linares; and the legal adviser
to the army high command, Rcdolfo Antonio Parker Soto.
2. El Mozote: The Commission finds that the army killed over 200
people in El Mozote, including women and children in 1980. It
cites former Atlacatl battalion commander Col. Domingo Monterrosa
Barrios; Col. Natividad de Jesus Caceres Cabrera, a major at the
time of the massacre. The Commission also cites Supreme Court
President Mauricio Gutierrez Castro for improper interference in
the judicial proceedings concerning the investigation of the
3. Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Roaero: The Commission finds that
Major Roberto D'Aubuisson ordered the assassination of the
Archbishop and that Army Capt. Eduardo Avila and former Capt.
Alvaro Saravia, as well as Fernando Sagrera played an active role
in the assassination. The Commission further finds that the
Supreme Court of El Salvador played an active role in impeding
the extradition from the United States of Capt. Saravia.
4. Assassinations of Mayors by the FMLN: The Commission finds
that the General Command of the FMLN approved the killing of
civilian mayors and that the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP) of
the FMLN was responsible for the killing of at least eleven
mayors. The Commission cites ERP commandantes Joaquin
Villalobos, Ana Guadelupe Martinez, Mercedes del Carmen Letona,
Jorge Melendez, and Marisol Galindo for having responsibility for
The Truth Commission concluded its report with wide-ranging
recommendations aimed at removing human rights violators from
public offices, reforming the justice system and the Armed
Forces, as well as to promote human rights, democracy, the rule
of law and national reconciliation.
I. Those cited for human rights abuses in the report
The Commission recommends that those individuals it found to
be responsible for serious abuses of human rights who today hold
public or military office should be removed immediately. They
should also not have access to public office, or a public role,
in El Salvador for at least 10 years. They should also be
prohibited from ever holding any military or security
Based on its investigation, the Commission calls for the
removal from the Salvadoran armed forces or from any other public
office of more than 40 military personnel. They include Minister
of Defense General Rene Emilio Ponce; Vice-Minister, General
Orlando Zepeda; Chief of Staff Gen. Gilberto Rubio Rubio, former
Air Force commander, General Juan Rafael Bustillo; former vice-
minister for public security, Col. Inocente Montano; Col.
Francisco Elena Fuentes and former commander of the Atlacatl
battalion, Col. Oscar Alberto Leon Linares, among others. All of
the above officers are cited for their role in either ordering or
concealing the murder of six Jesuit priests, along with their
housekeeper and her daughter. Former National Guard commander,
General Eugenio Vides Casanova, is cited for playing a role in
the cover-up of the murders of four American religious workers.
The Commission also recommends that former rebel FKLN
leaders be barred from holding public office for a decade. They
include the commandantes Joaquin Villalobos, Ana Guadalupe
Martinez, and Jorge Melendez, among others. They are cited as the
commanders responsible for the murders of more than 11 civilian
The Commission also lists Captain Alvaro Saravia and Captain
Eduardo Avila for the murder of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.
Avila is also cited, along with Lt. Rodolfo Isidro Lopez Sibrian
and Major Mario Denis Moran as being responsible for either
ordering or concealing the killings of three agrarian reform
advisers at the Sheraton hotel.
The Commission cites some former military officers who are
now deceased, hut who played a major role in the civil war. They
include former Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, who is cited for
organizing death squads and ordering the murder of Archbishop
Romero. Also cited is deceased Col. Domingo Monterrosa Barrios,
for being the commander in charge of the massacre at El Mozote.
The Commission cites civilian participants in human rights
abuses. Among these is Fernando (El Negro) Sagrera, for helping
plan the murder of Archbishop Romero and Hans Christ for
assisting in the killing of three agrarian reform experts at the
Sheraton hotel. Rodolfo Antonio Parker Soto, former legal adviser
to the Army high command, is cited for helping conceal the role
of senior officers in the killing of the six Jesuit priests.
Hector Antonio Regalado, the former head of security for Roberto
D'Aubuisson, is cited for organizing and managing death squads.
The president of the Supreme Court, Dr. Mauricio Gutierrez
Castro is cited for improper interference in the legal
investigation of the massacre of El Mozote.
II. The FMLN
In broad terms, the Commission finds the FMLN responsible
for having committed "grave acts of violence" including
assassinations, disappearances and kidnappings during the war
that violated human rights and humanitarian law. The Commission
received acre than 300 denunciations of grave violations by the
FMLN, including nearly 400 killings and over 300 disappearances.
The Commission calls on the FMLN to renounce forever all
forms of violence in the pursuit of political ends.
III. The Armed Forces
The vast majority of abuses studied by the Commission were
committed by members of the armed forces or groups allied to
them. In order to promote the urgent need in El Salvador to
professionalize the military, bring it under civilian control and
instill it with a respect for human rights, the Commission makes
the following recommendations:
1) Immediate removal from the military of all officers cited
for human rights and other major violations.
2) Steps to assure civilian control of military promotions,
the military budget and all intelligence services.
3) A new, legally backed, provision permitting military
personnel to refuse to obey unlawful orders.
4) Steps to cut all ties between the military and private
armed groups or other paramilitary groups.
5) The profound study of human rights at the military
academy and in other officer training courses.
IV. Death Squad*
The Commission finds that death squads, often operated by
the military and supported by powerful businessmen, land-owners
and some leading politicians, have long acted in El Salvador and
remain a potential menace. The Commission received testimony on
more than 800 victims of death squads.
This problem is so serious that the Commission calls for a
special investigation of death squads in order to reveal and then
put an end to such activity. The commission is especially
concerned by the close relation between the military, hired
assassins and extremists within the Salvadoran business community
and some affluent families, who resorted to killing to settle
disputes. This practice must end.
The Commission also is concerned that Salvadoran exiles
living in Miami helped administer death squad activities between
1980 and 1983, with apparently little attention from the U.S.
government. Such use of American territory for acts of terrorism
abroad should be investigated and never allowed to be repeated.
V. The Justice System
The Commission finds that the system of justice in El
Salvador is highly deficient. It makes several recommendations to
address this profound problem that permitted the abuse of human
rights in El Salvador.
1) The report calls for the immediate implementation of
constitutional reforms requiring the turnover of the present
members of the Supreme Court. In particular, the president of the
court, Dr. Mauricio Gutierrez Castro, is cited for unprofessional
2) Bring about a true separation of powers between the
executive, legislature and the judiciary in order to de-
politicize the administration of justice and in particular the
Supreme Court in El Salvador.
3) The power of the head of the Supreme Court and its
centralized power over the rest of the judiciary should be
4) The report calls for the already created Independent
Judicial Council to be made truly independent, so that it can
oversee the functioning of the judicial system. This group will
review the professional capacity of all serving judges. This
group should be given the power to appoint or remove judges,
taking that power away from the Supreme Court.
5) Judges should be provided adequate salaries.
6) Extra-judicial confessions should be prohibited; the
right to a lawyer should be strengthened; strict limits should be
placed on pre-trial detention; those who can order detentions
should be limited and defined; the right of habeas corpus and the
presumption of innocence should- be strengthened.
7) A list should be kept and made public of all detention
centers and all those who are detained in them.
8) The new civilian national police force should be fully
VI. Human Rights
El Salvador needs to fortify awareness of and respect for
human rights. The new office of the National Counsel for the
Defense of Human Rights should be strengthened and extended to
have regional offices in each department of the country.
Officials in the human rights office should be allowed access
anywhere in the country. The constitution should guarantee human
rights. El Salvador should ratify and implement all major human
rights accords not already approved by it. The Commission also
urges El Salvador to accept the jurisdiction of the Inter-
American Court of Human Rights, something all other Central
American states have done.
The Commission feels justice demands punishment for the
violations of human rights. But it is not itself constituted to
specify sanctions and recognizes that the present Salvadoran
}udicial system is incapable of fairly assessing and carrying out
punishment. Therefore the Commission feels it cannot recommend
judicial proceedings in El Salvador against the persons named in
its report until after judicial reforms are carried out.
VIII. National Reconciliation
The Commission believes that justice also demands that the
victims of huirsn rights violations by all sides in the war be
publicly recognized and be given material compensation. The
report lists the names of core than 18,000 victims it received
The report calls for a special fund to be established for
this purpose. It will be given resources by the government and be
supported by a recommendation that one per cent of all foreign
aid be directed to the fund. The Commission expresses the hope
that the international community will assist the government of El
Salvador to carry out this recommendation.
A national monument should be erected, listing the names of
all the victims of the war. A national annual holiday should be
declared to remember the dead and celebrate reconciliation.
This report should be discusssed and analyzed at a national
public forum in El Salvador.
The Commission calls on the United Nations to monitor
compliance with all recommendations made here, as agreed by the
parties to the peace accord.
EL SALVADOR'S NATIOKAL RBCOM8TRUCTI0N PLAN: INDICATIONS OF BILATERAL
AND MULTILATERAL SUPPORT PROM THE MARCH 23, 1992 CONSULTATIVE GROUP MEETING 1
Support for various aacton, particularly electric power.
Support contingent on continued progress In peace process and will be
provided through community groups and partner organizations.
No commitment of future funds; possible technical assistance In the
Participating primarily as observer, but provided support in response
to U.N. appeal after signing of Peace Accords.. Hopes to channel
regional funds to El Salvador In future.
Support for repatriation program through cirzfca, the International
Commission for Refugees, and churches.
Future aid will be provided through European Community, although
separate agreement for $0.6 million in food aid was signed in February
19. 3 million is earmarked for technical cooperation, partly for the
reintegration of ex-combatants; pledge does not include funds channeled
through multilateral organizations or NGOs.
No commitment, but intends to provide future support and contine to
support European Community and United Nations Development Program
Emergency assistance for former confllctlve areas, resettlement of
refugees, and potable water. Also prepared to make other contributions
comparable to those of largest donors.
Participating as observer, but cited the substantial bilateral support
provided to date.
Intends to provide future support to be discussed with officials of the
El Salvadoran government.
No firm commitment but anticipates contribution to reach $5 million in
1992 channeled through the United Nations and NGOb.
Participating as observer; contributions channeled through European
Providing $4.0 million for U.N. High Commission for Refugees, and $1.0
million for the civilian police academy, and support through Inter-
American Development Bank and European Community.
Support for 3 year period ($10 million per year), and support for
refugees through CIREFCA and NGOs will continue.
No firm commitment but $6.6 million in balance of payment support under
consideration for 1992-1993, and fact-finding mission will be sent to
Will continue support through European Community and may consider Bmall
bilateral program In future.
Support for 5 year reconstruction program.
No commitment but assistance provided in past; looking forward to
future cooperation with government of El Salvador.
Central American Ban*
$77 million for 3 turbines, $3.3 million to support small agricultural
producers, $2.5 million for vocational training and $0.5 million in
Pledge for 1992, with future amounts determined on the basis of 1992
Development Bank (IOBJ
New loans under consideration for water and energy projects; another
$220 million from previously approved funds could be redirected to NRP
International Fund for
Support for agriculture development projects, with possibly another $10
million to be provided.
Support for technical cooperation over 5 years.
$ 50.0 to
Support for reconstruction priorities over 5 years.
World Food Programme
Nutritionally fortified foods for school children and toddlers.
The total figure includes the lowest amount in range for World Bank.
This table was compiled from narrative information presented in the Meeting of the Consultative Group for El
Salvador, Report of the Proceedings by the Chairman , International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, May 11,
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
3 9999 05982 086 8
MESSAGE TO THE NATION
BY TJIE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
(March 18, 1993)
People of El Salvador, dear friends of the national and international newt media, on
Monday the Secretary General of the Untied Nations released the report of the Truth
Commission, the product of seven months of work by three persons appointed by the General
Secretarial of the United Nations to study relevant facts that have impacted our society and
make a series of recommendations for the purpose of reconciling Satvadonsn society and to
attempt to prevent, through the dissemination of the truth, the recurrence of these events.
In the first place, the Truth Commission is part of the Agreements signed at ChapuUepec
on January 16 of last year. Therefore, the Truth Commission and its report must be viewed
within the framework of the agreements as an integral part of them. It aids and assists the
entire framework of the ChapuUepec Agreements, which governs the peace and consolidation
procest tn our country. Therefore, the report must be viewed not as separate from the
agreements signed last year nor outside the consensus arrived at within our society after the
signing of the ChapuUepec Agreements. Constitutional reform was the greatest consensus
reached. Our country can now count on a Constitution which is the result of the consensus
of all the political forces in the land, including the FMLN. b is also important to remember
the goals which the peace accords seek, and view the report of the Truth Commission with
these goals tn mind. In April of 1990 in Geneva, the Geneva Agreement was signed, setting
out clear goals for aO of the subsequent accords reached in 1992, and there were three
fundamental goals enunciated: the consolidation of democracy, respect for human rights, and
reconciliation ofSaivadoran society.
Reconciliation is important to enable our country to move forward from the painful pages
of our history and commit our energies toward creating a future of welfare, in peace and
progress all Satvadorans desire.
In promoting reconciliation, we believe the report of the Truth Commission is not responsive
to that fond desire of a majority of the Satvodorun people, which is precisely that: forgiveness
and leaving behind all of that so painful past which brought so much suffering to the
On the other hand, it is necessary to note that the report of the Truth Commission has
extracted, from everything that has taken place during the years of violence tn our country a
sample of the acts of violence without thereby analyzing the totality. In this regard, we believe
it is important to analyze the path we should take when the report only discusses certain cases
and individuals. Of count it it important, then to sat what wt an going to do as to trust,
eliminate, and forget the entire past; thus we do not consider fair to apply certain measures,
be they judicial or administrative, to some, when others, whom are discriminated by the
simple fad of not being part of this sample analyzed by the Truth Commission. In this regard,
we consider this position not from the perspective of judging the guilt of specific individuals,
but rather as a real fact that we don't considered convenient to act against just a part of ike
problem, instead we prefer to find a global solution for everyone.
Now, I would like to read a brief an excerpt of the epilogue from the report of the Truth
Commission, also to be able to capture the spirit missing within the Commission. The
Passages that I'm about to read, are related in one way or another: " The responsibility is
inserted in complex antecedents of the history of El Salvador and in a peculiar meeting of
universal history; hence, would not be fair to attribute it to this or that one In particular, nor
to this or that organization or party in particular". It states later on: "Many of the flaming
figures of the war period have also shone during the period of peace: old contradictions and
rigidities contrasting with present approximations and coincidences. Old combatants from all
sides have embraced and reencountered themselves''. And it ends in this special way: "But
U is the Salvadorean themselves who must make the fundamental decisions leading to the
fullness of peace. The Satvadoran society has the decision making capacity r eg ar ding ancient
responsibilities and new forfeitures. Granting pardon is in its hands, h is also that society
also, shaped by the painful lessons of war, which must settle the cause of new investitures".
Therefore, we Salvadorans must ponder about this, because the real answer to our problems
must be given by ourselves. Thus, is why we reiterate a call upon all of the forces within our
country to support a general and absolute amnesty to past beyond this painful page in our
history and to look for a better future for our country.
To conclude, we want to say to the people of El Salvador that when we signed the peace
accords, we made a commitment to comply with them, and in the case of the Truth
Commission, the Government of El Salvador agreed to implement Us recommendations. In
this regard, the Government of El Salvador wQl comply with its commitment to implement the
recommendations of the Truth Commission Report. We will do so, of course, according to the
Executive brunch attributions and within the framework of the Constitution and the current
taws of the Republic. Upon the first global analysis done in the last two days on the entire
report, we will now go on to study every single recommendation made by the Truth
Commission to seek its compliance within the parameters we have alluded to, always seeking
the strengthening of the peace accords and the stability of the same process which we have
been developing within our country, which requires not only global stability, but also the
stability of old and new institutions which have been created as a result of the peace accords.
We believe that we have reached a stage In which we should build together, and this report
of the Truth Commission should serve no lesser purpose than to build that El Salvador which
all of us want: an El Salvador with peace, progress, and freedom.
Thank you very much and God bless you.
ORIGINAL AND REVISED FUNDING ALLOCATIONS FOR THE
AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT'S
5 YEAR PEACE AND RECOVERY PROJECT IN EL SALVADOR
as of 2/4/93
IMMEDIATE CONFLICTIVE ZONE RELIEF
• Starter packages, training, credit,
rehabilitation of wounded
• Land Transfer
• Other ex-combatant benefits
(scholarships, counseling, etc.)
Total for Component
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REACTIVATION
• Starter packages, training, credit,
rehabilitation of wounded
• Municipalities in Action
• Health activities
• Education activities
• Other social and economic activities
Total for Component
PROGRAM AUDIT AND MANAGEMENT
$ 250,000 s
$ 250,000 s
aln the original funding allocation, funding for the benefits for ex-combatants was included In the Social and
Economic Reactivation component. In the revised allocation, funding for these ex-combatant benefits is included in
the Ex-combatant Assistance component and funding for civilian benefit is included in the Social and Economic
bin the original funding allocation, funding for ex-combatant land transfers was included in the Land Transfer
component. In the revised allocation, funding for ex-combatant land transfers is separated from other land
cThe United States will provide another $14.9 million for land transfers from funding sources outside the $250
million in project funds, bringing U.S. contribution for land transfers to $50.2 million.
dFlgure includes funding for benefits for ex-combatants and civilians. AID could not separate amount intended for
ex-combatants and civilians in the original allocation.
eln the original allocation, the total funding for 6 activities for ex-combatants and civilians was $68.6 million--
$53.6 million for starter packages, vocational training, agricultural and mlcroenterprise credit, and
rehabilitation of the wounded included in the Social and Economic Reactivation Component, and $15.0 million for
land transfers in the Land Transfer Component. In the revised allocation, the total for the 6 activities is $104.8
mlllion--$44.7 for Btarter packages, vocational training, agricultural and mlcroenterprise credit, and
rehabilitation of the wounded, and $20.0 million for land transfers included in the Ex-combatant Assistance
Component; $24.8 for starter packages, vocational training, agricultural and mlcroenterprise credit, and
rehabilitation of the wounded included in the Social and Economic Reactivation Component; and $15.3 million for
land transfers in the Land Transfer Component.
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