The Massacres

The Chalatenango Massacres are a series of mass murders that took place in the Department of Chalatenango during the armed conflict in El Salvador (1979-1992). Our documentation work focuses on the period 1980-1982. In 1980, after the assassination of Monsignor Oscar A. Romero (March 24th), the Salvadoran state executed a repressive policy to terrorize the population. TheEl Rincón", where six women were murdered, serves to illustrate the type of violence that peasant families will be subjected to.

By that time, the population had already begun to move, and on May 14th, 1980, in the sector known as Las Aradas, more than 600 people were killed when they tried to cross the Sumpul River, on the border with Honduras. The silence regarding this action, which was ignored inside and outside of El Salvador, marks the beginning of an era of brutal repression. The massacres ofEl Sitio”, “Los Duboncitos" and "Los Amatesserve as examples of the atrocities perpetrated in the following months.

After these events, organized flight intensifies (the process known as “las guindas”), and military operations against the civilian population also become more complex. The massacres of "Los Raudas" and "Cuyas Cumbres", which occurred in 1982, give us an idea of the dimensions reached by the repressive actions. For this documentary project we have collected the testimonies of the survivors. This is what they experienced and witnessed.

Sumpul River
El Sitio
Los Duboncitos
Los Amates
Los Raudas
Cuyas Cumbres