José Napoleón Duarte, the president of El Salvador, is probably the first head of state since Nikita Khrushchev to have his memoirs published in another country’s language before his own. Khrushchev had no choice in the matter. Duarte did—and chose shrewdly. His popularity, though at an all-time high in the United States, is at an all-time low in El Salvador. The catastrophic earthquake that devastated the capital city of San Salvador in early October has likely increased sympathy for Duarte abroad while, at the same time, it has deepened discontent at home. “Go back to your base,” is standard campaign advice for an American politician in trouble, and Duarte, with his intuitive grasp of American politics, has done just that by publishing Duarte: My Story in the United States after just two and a half years in office.
Duarte has a story—he is a story—that could not have been more American in its details if it had been dreamed up by a presidential speech writer. The son of a politically progressive tailor and a seamstress, he was a thoroughly middle-class boy, headstrong and conventional at the same time. As a Boy Scout he was called El Loco. In the early 1940s, his father won the Salvadoran national lottery and used the money to send young Napo north to Notre Dame. There he had the requisite encounter with the mysteries of American football and earned an engineering degree. He returned to his country and in the 1960s helped found the Christian Democratic party.
Today a solid majority of Congress is deeply grateful to Duarte for resolving the once bitter issue of El Salvador. Every six months between 1981 and 1984 Congress became tense and divided over the dilemma of defeating the communist insurgency in El Salvador by aiding a brutal right-wing dictatorship. Once Duarte was elected president of El Salvador in May 1984, that debate evaporated, replaced by bipartisan pride. The smart conventional wisdom in Washington now holds that El Salvador provides the recipe for US foreign policy success: conservatives provide the military resolve, liberals the pressure for protecting human rights. Some enthusiasts even go so far as to say El Salvador is in the midst of a “democratic revolution.”
The transformation of the El Salvador debate was an important moment in the development of Reagan’s foreign policy. Congress cut off aid to the contra rebels in Nicaragua in May 1984, at the time of Duarte’s election. Since then a key group of moderate and liberal Democrats have become contra supporters, and almost all of them cite Duarte as proof that the administration is sincere about fighting for democracy in Central America. Duarte won one for the Gipper.
Whatever one thinks of Reagan’s policy, Duarte has always invoked America’s good intentions to advance his career and his political goals. His success and his failure, indistinguishable in his autobiography, tell us something about how those intentions have translated into reality in a small country of five million mostly poor people on the Pacific coast of Central America.
Duarte was both gifted and inclined toward populism in a country where leaders with either quality are rare. The political system in which his Christian Democratic party wanted a place was dominated by a small circle of wealthy coffee- and cotton-growing families in the surrounding countryside. The legendary Catorce (actually composed of many more than fourteen families) had a sixteenth-century conception of their right to control and exploit the country’s campesinos. In the words of the historian Enrique Baloyra, “Export agriculture and authoritarian politics” were the pillars of the Salvadoran political order.1 Low wages for campesinos and tactical alliances between the wealthy elite and the armed forces were the foundation for the pillars. In the resulting political vacuum, Duarte’s style, opportunistic yet idealistic, was remarkably effective.
“I am always working to expand my political maneuvering room by obtaining positive responses from different sectors,” Duarte writes. He won the leadership of the newly founded Christian Democratic party in the early Sixties by not committing himself on the divisive issue of whether to cooperate with a rightist military coup. He waited for the party to turn to him as a compromise candidate—then rejected cooperation with the new regime. His election as mayor of San Salvador in 1964 proved to be an irritant to the rich (he made them pay their water bills) but not a threat to their power. He organized the barrios of San Salvador for the first time, establishing self-help committees and putting up street lights. For such simple and long overdue reforms, he was twice reelected.
Mayor Duarte was tolerable to the military and the oligarchy but the prospect of President Duarte was frightening. Duarte ran for president in 1972 and was cheated out of certain victory. When he supported a coup attempt by moderate officers, he was arrested and beaten up. It is telling that in his hour of need Duarte called on the good offices of the United States. His family got in touch with Father Theodore Hesburgh, with whom Duarte had become friendly at Notre Dame. Hesburgh cabled Henry Kissinger. The secretary of state replied perfunctorily by letter—three weeks later. By then the reformist officers had been crushed and Duarte was living in exile in Venezuela.
Duarte’s faith in the US remained unshaken. “I am sure the United States intervened to save me,” he says, “because only US pressure could have kept the military from eliminating me.” But Duarte offers no evidence for his generous conclusion, perhaps revealing the depth of his belief in the good intentions of the United States.
The archaic Salvadoran political system was proving incapable of governing a modernizing, overcrowded country. By 1975, 40 percent of rural Salvadorans owned no land, a threefold increase over 1960. The grievances of the rural poor coincided with the thwarted ambitions of the original base of the Christian Democratic party: the small but growing groups of professionals, unionized workers in light industry, restive students and professors. The younger generation of Catholic priests, inspired by the Church’s “preferential option for the poor,” began to have considerable influence both in the cities and the countryside.
The “popular organizations,” rather than the Christian Democrats or other political parties, unified this opposition. These radical groups were devoted not to electoral activity, but to nonviolent civil disobedience. The largest of them, the Popular Revolutionary Bloc, had perhaps as many as 75,000 members. Using sitins, demonstrations, and strikes, they rallied opposition to the government.
The military and the oligarchy’s response to such criticism was not subtle. When businessmen arranged for the 1975 Miss Universe contest to be held in San Salvador and students protested this ostentatious frivolity, the security forces gunned down a dozen people in the crowd. The armed forces, though, did not want to risk the popular support they had and were jealous of their standing as the most powerful institution in the country. They were willing to complement harsh security measures with some kind of land reform and organizations to represent the rural poor. The businessmen, especially the plantation owners, regarded such reformism as thinly disguised communism. They turned increasingly to death squads, manned by sympathetic military officers or free-lance civilians, to do the tasks the armed forces sometimes neglected: killing Jesuit priests, student leaders, and obstreperous campesinos.
There was, of course, armed resistance. Three small guerrilla groups, led mostly by radical students and campesinos, emerged in the mid 1970s, attracting a total of perhaps a thousand armed followers. While the scope of their violence was far smaller than that of the military and paramilitary forces, their psychological impact was stunning. They terrorized the oligarchy in San Salvador with lucrative kidnappings and selected assassinations. They also terrorized one another with ideological infighting that occasionally ended in vicious purges.
In this situation Duarte, still in exile, faced the reformer’s classic dilemma about coercive power. The ruling classes had the army to enforce their political will, the guerrillas had arms and Leninist ideology. In between lay the possibility of political persuasion, but the parties had been discredited by the fraud of 1972. What was a bourgeois politician, especially one living in exile, to do?
Civil disobedience aimed at forcing political concessions by nonviolent disruption of daily life seemed the only alternative. Duarte was wary. He says in his book that the exile of leaders like himself had “orphaned” the young people. Without the paternal guidance of the exiled leaders, they fell into the guerrillas’ trap. Whatever the good intentions of the popular organizations, Duarte argues, their effect was to advance the guerrillas’ power.
In Nicaragua, middle-class reformist politicians were facing the same choice: whether to enter into a coalition with Marxist guerrillas or refuse to do so and risk losing power altogether. The Nicaraguan reformists knew that without the threat of violence, the Somoza dictatorship could ignore their demands. They struck a rough bargain with the Sandinistas. The middleclass provided respectability, the guerrillas provided the threat of violence. But once Somoza was overthrown in July 1979, the Sandinistas were not inclined to share power with their coalition partners, and since they had a monopoly of armed force, no one could compel them to do so. Duarte says he foresaw these perils in El Salvador. He claims that even while in exile he “suspected that the guerrillas were posing as democrats only to impose their own Marxist theories on the people after they had won.”
After another popularly elected presidential candidate was cheated out of victory in the 1977 presidential election, a popular national upheaval began in El Salvador. At least a hundred demonstrators protesting the electoral fraud were gunned down by security police on February 28, 1977. A new popular organization sprang up, the Popular Leagues February 28 (LP-28). This group was formally connected to one of the guerrilla factions—a sign of deepening polarization. The demonstrations grew larger, the sitins more frequent. Labor unions called strikes, and peasant groups organized in the villages. The guerrillas sharply increased their kidnappings and assassinations. The Salvadoran archbishop, Oscar Romero, drew large crowds to his masses in the San Salvador Cathedral. Romero, a lifelong conservative, had suddenly become more radical in his views in 1977 after the army assassinated one of his priests. Romero’s passionate sermons denounced government-sponsored violence against the poor.
Duarte prefers to describe this national crisis as a confrontation between left and right. If it was, most of the populace sided with the left. Only the tiny oligarchy and the military regime resisted. In fact, Duarte was part of the leftist opposition. His Christian Democratic party was cooperating with Romero and the popular organizations in pressing for a new government that would end the repression and hold elections. For all his reservations, Duarte was pursuing some kind of alliance with the more radical left just as his counterparts in Nicaragua had. He was, as always, not following an ideological line but expanding his “political maneuvering room by obtaining positive responses from different sectors.”
Duarte still faced the problem of how to command respect for his reformist approach in an increasingly violent political atmosphere. But rather than commit himself to the popular organizations or to the armed forces, he looked to the United States. The response was indifference. “The Salvadoran government could shoot up the university, persecute the Christian Democrats, eliminate peasant leaders and steal elections without any outcry being raised in the United States,” he says. Once again Duarte would have to wait for “positive response” from Washington.
The government of Nicaragua was overthrown in July 1979. Anastasio Somoza’s ignominious exile to Miami was sobering to the Salvadoran military and to the United States. For the first time, the US officials began soliciting Duarte’s views. On October 15, 1979, a group of young Salvadoran officers staged a coup. They announced an ambitious land reform program, sent a generation of senior officers into retirement, and invited moderate and leftist leaders into a national unity government, led by a civilian-military junta. This was the moment that Duarte decided to return to El Salvador from Venezuela.
Rather than slowing the slide into civil war, the coup hastened it. The guerrillas shunned the new government as a bourgeois trick. The popular organizations were divided according to their sympathies with the guerrillas and their trust of the military. The civilian political parties, including most of Duarte’s allies, joined the new government. Effective control of the military remained in the hands of a few conservative senior officers who were skeptical of the indecisive moderate officers and deeply suspicious of the civilians joining the government. The rich believed that the military’s policy of combining reform with repression was too subtle, too weak. They moved into disloyal opposition, employing a charismatic and ruthless military officer, Roberto D’Aubuisson, to impress the country with their intransigence.
In January 1980 Duarte made the most important decision of his political career. Christian Democrats, social democrats, and other leftists had no sooner joined the new government than they quit it, observing correctly that they had little influence over their violent military colleagues. Yet after two successive juntas had collapsed within a month, Duarte joined the government. He says that he recognized the weakness of his position but argues that his chances of influencing the army officers were better than his chance of influencing the Marxist guerrillas. How much better he does not say.
As Duarte tells it, he had a three-part strategy. First, he would keep the extremes of left and right at bay. Second, he would gain the confidence of the leaders of the armed forces. Duarte recognized that “a majority of the high-ranking officers had anti-democratic ideas” but he claimed he could weed out the “incorrigibles” and lead the rest “to the reasoned conclusion that working within a democracy is the best way the Army can serve the people.” Third, he would consolidate civilian rule through elections. “With the participation and solidarity of all sectors, we could confront the social problems facing the nation,” he writes. This would further strengthen him in dealing with his traditional adversaries in the business class on the right and would drain popular support from the rebels on the left.
Archbishop Romero rejected Duarte’s seductive image of brave moderates caught between extremes. Romero, for whom Duarte professes great admiration, urged the Christian Democrats to quit the junta. Duarte doesn’t mention this, or Romero’s personal letter to President Carter in February 1980 pleading with him, in vain, not to resume military aid to El Salvador. Romero insisted that the popular organizations had to be recognized in any resolution of the country’s agony, a position that the United States, the Salvadoran armed forces, and Duarte resolutely rejected. When Romero declared in March that young soldiers need not obey orders to kill civilians, he had pushed the oligarchy and the army too far. On March 24, 1980, he was assassinated.
At the time Duarte said he had no doubt that D’Aubuisson was behind the killing and demanded a serious investigation. He never got it. Now Duarte suggests that either the left or the right could have been behind the killing. In fact, all of the evidence (some of it circumstantial, some of it firsthand) points to D’Aubuisson.
The disloyal right was attacking the advocates of peaceful change far more directly and effectively than the left, Duarte’s notion of symmetry notwithstanding. D’Aubuisson had the protection of Nicolás Carranza, a deputy minister of defense, who, Duarte notes, “would have rather eliminated the Christian Democrats than negotiate with them.” Duarte does not mention that at the time Carranza was earning $90,000 a year for undisclosed services on behalf of the CIA. D’Aubuisson’s strategy was to go on TV and attack advocates of reform like Romero who were far more popular, and more threatening to the oligarchy, than the guerrillas.
Thus, Duarte’s portrait of himself as “under siege from the Left and Right” and as “walled in by the Left and Right” is somewhat misleading. But it is likely to appeal to American sympathies for the centrist and the underdog. Duarte is too plainspoken to claim that his government was actually pursuing a centrist course. He as much as admits it was pursuing a program of right-wing terrorism. “At this time [late 1980]…thousands of people were being dragged into the night, tortured and killed,” he says. His candor, at once startling and disarming, leads him to ask, “Why did I stay in a government that allowed such things to happen?”
Part of the answer lies in Duarte’s antipathy for the guerrillas. Class divisions are much deeper and more fierce in El Salvador than in Nicaragua, making any Sandinista-style alliance unlikely. And with Romero’s assassination, the possibility for any incorporation of the civilian left into the government died. Duarte thought, probably correctly, that if he aligned himself with the left, he would not have decisive influence. (The civilian moderates and leftists who have joined the guerrilla alliance have learned this lesson the hard way.) Duarte also recognized the guerrillas’ weakness in El Salvador. In a shrewd aside, he says that Salvadorans had a strong individualistic streak inherited from the rich elite. “Much of Salvadoran society thinks like the oligarchs,” he laments.
More than anything else, though, Duarte seems to have been driven by ego and a romantic sense of personal destiny. “Leaders emerge when they manage to express the collective will of their society,” he writes. “This is when a single leader makes a difference.” He viewed himself as the embodiment of the center through whom all the democratic aspirations of the Salvadoran people were channeled. This was why he agreed to become president of the ruling junta in December 1980.
The only other hero in his book is Eugenio Vides Casanova, then the head of the National Guard and now the minister of defense. He is “the barometer of the armed forces” who, in Duarte’s account, becomes persuaded of the necessity of democracy. Duarte must have speculated about all those people being dragged into the night, frequently by men wearing National Guard uniforms. What did Vides Casanova think of that? Duarte does not share his thoughts here. Instead he says, “I did not fully understand the armed forces,” that he had to overcome his “prejudice” against them.
Duarte says that it was at Vides Casanova’s urging that he accepted the presidency of the junta. But during the next fourteen months, Duarte admits that top military commanders, including Vides Casanova, refused all of his requests to remove Carranza and other incorrigible extremists. “I wanted influence over who would be in the cabinet,” Duarte adds plaintively, “and I never got it.” Duarte, in other words, didn’t have any power over the government he purportedly headed.
Yet, at the same time, the Reagan administration was proclaiming how much power Duarte had. He depended on this fiction in Washington to maintain his position in the Salvadoran government, but Congress was still reluctant to approve the Reagan administration’s requests for big increases in military aid. With a characteristic combination of naivete and shrewdness, Duarte continued to appeal to the good intentions of the Americans. This time, his faith paid off, though not immediately.
Before the 1981 inauguration, Duarte had met with three members of Reagan’s foreign policy transition team, including Jeane Kirkpatrick. “Their attitudes ranged from skeptical to rude as they interrogated me,” Duarte recalls. His liability in the eyes of the Reaganites was that he had objected to rampant death-squad violence, that at least a fifth of the Christian Democratic party and many of his friends had joined an alliance with the guerrillas, and that he had been El Salvador’s most prominent populist reformer.
During Reagan’s first thirty-two months in office the notion that the death squads were run by the government was categorically rejected by the US. The death squads, Reagan officials insisted, were a shadowy phenomenon beyond government control. To suggest otherwise was regarded as an expression of misty-eyed moralism and weakness characteristic of the Carter administration. For instance, when Deane Hinton, Reagan’s ambassador to El Salvador criticized Salvadoran business leaders in October 1982, for indulging death-squad violence, his remarks were promptly disowned by the White House. The White House was hardly thrilled by Duarte’s career of making such criticism.
D’Aubuisson was a much more attractive potential ally to most Reagan policy makers, although his own part in the killings was an obstacle. A routine State Department letter to a House subcommittee in April 1981 noted that “D’Aubuisson reportedly leads a right-wing terrorist group called the Maximiliano Hernández Brigade.” (General Maximiliano Hernández led the so-called Matanza of 1932, in which thousands of Indian peasants were massacred after an abortive, communist-influenced rebellion.) But administration policy makers, especially outside of the State Department, were not particularly squeamish about D’Aubuisson.2
The administration’s main goal was to stave off a leftist victory and that required healing the breach between the military and the business class. D’Aubuisson, as the favorite strong man of the Salvadoran ultra right-wing elite, had to be placated. Besides, he had well-connected admirers in Washington, including Senator Jesse Helms and Patrick Buchanan, then a syndicated columnist, now the President’s communications director. And D’Aubuisson was genuinely popular. The 1982 legislative elections, which were boycotted by the left, confirmed Duarte’s aside about the oligarchic mentality of many Salvadorans. D’Aubuisson gained control of the National Assembly.
The administration then tried to convince D’Aubuisson to forego his death-squad moonlighting and concentrate exclusively on electoral politics. Ambassador Deane Hinton called D’Aubuisson “a fine young democrat.” Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Elliott Abrams vouched for D’Aubuisson saying that he was “not involved in murder,” even that he was “not an extremist.” Duarte has regrettably little to say about this curious campaign of appeasement or about D’Aubuisson, whom he loathes. But Duarte must have known that the US effort to rehabilitate D’Aubuisson was doomed to fail. D’Aubuisson was simply incapable of such respectability. His fondness for whiskey and women, more than his reputation for blood, began to lose him friends in Washington and San Salvador during 1982 and 1983.
At the same time the Reagan administration was coming to realize that it could not afford the divisive El Salvador debate in Congress forever. The violence of the death squads had smashed both the popular organizations and the guerrillas’ cells in the cities. The reformists were silenced and the guerrilla sympathizers moved to the countryside to take up arms. As the guerrillas grew in numbers and effectiveness, US military advisers were pushing the Salvadoran armed forces to adopt a counterinsurgency strategy. Nevertheless, the possibility remained that the Salvadoran government, with the support of Democrats in Congress, might attempt to negotiate a political settlement instead. If the administration were to gain bipartisan congressional support for a counterinsurgency war, it needed to accomodate congressional Democrats. D’Aubuisson was the available scapegoat.
In August 1983, Elliott Abrams reiterated the administration’s standard line: “We don’t know who is behind the death squads.” But in December 1983, Vice-President Bush made a well-publicized trip to San Salvador with a list of about a dozen D’Aubuisson associates who were known to be involved in death-squad activities. The list was accompanied with a blunt message: the US wanted all of them out of military command positions. In return, the United States would guarantee more military aid.
Bush’s visit was described by the press as a crackdown on “the death squads.” In reality, it was mainly a crackdown on D’Aubuisson’s death squads. Even as sophisticated, well-financed, and well-armed a group as D’Aubuisson’s could not have been responsible for the thousands of deaths. In fact, military death squads had done most of the dirty work between 1979 and 1983, the updated version of the 1932 Matanza. D’Aubuisson, who made the mistake of being outspoken about what was going on, got most of the blame.
The Vice President, other top administration officials, and conservative members of Congress took care not to say publicly that death squads were wrong, or “counterproductive,” or a hindrance to democracy. The death squads were described as an obstacle to future US military cooperation. Salvadoran officers who didn’t go along risked being ostracized, as D’Aubuisson had been. Cynics could charge that the US simply wanted to change tactics in its war on the left, while optimists could claim that the US was successfully curbing death-squad activity. Both were correct.
Duarte was the available ally. His constant invocation of the American ideal of peaceful change, of the struggle against “extremists of the left and right,” had paid off. To secure continued military aid the administration needed Duarte. The Salvadoran military was brought along with the promise of more aid. D’Aubuisson’s associates were sent to diplomatic exile, and in early 1984, the CIA began channeling money into Duarte’s presidential campaign. (Duarte denies this but is unable to resist adding. “I do not think money or external influence made any difference” in the 1984 election.) In May 1984 Duarte defeated D’Aubuisson and was elected president. With more than a trace of self-vindication, he reports that he was finally invited to the White House.
What had Duarte won? For the Reagan administration and others fearful of a Sandinista-like revolution, he supplied political relief. In Congress he was seen as a courageous reformer who had made peace with the business class and forged an alliance with moderate officers. In El Salvador though, Duarte found himself a prisoner of his own triumph.
The military high command, led by Vides Casanova, had accepted Duarte as the head of government because he was the key to continued congressional support. Business leaders had to give up supporting D’Aubuisson and their hopes of actually running the government, but they had assurances from the US embassy that their interests would be protected from demands for land reform or from political organizing against them. Duarte, ironically, had become the glue of the patched-up alliance between the military and the modernized business class.
In this situation, Duarte’s original reformist program threatens him more than anyone else. To reinvigorate the land reform program (devastated by paramilitary violence between 1980 and 1983) would alienate the business class whose support he needs to rebuild the economy and attract foreign investment. To prosecute military officers for human rights abuses would alienate the high command whose cooperation has never been more than grudging. To talk with the guerrillas about “humanizing the war,” as the Catholic Church proposes, would disturb both. And to overcome such opposition by mobilizing the Christian Democrats’ traditional constituency—workers, peasants, middle-class professionals—Duarte would run the risk of setting off again the kind of death-squad violence that had punished these same groups between 1980 and 1983.3 By the time he gets to his uplifting but vague last chapter, “Looking Forward,” Duarte says nothing about such reforms.
The paradoxical truth, so difficult for Americans to grasp, is that Duarte’s personal courage contributes to his debilitating political situation. He was brave to back away from his reformist demands so slowly, risking the irritation of his skeptical allies in the military, the modernized business class, and the Reagan administration. During the 1984 campaign, he promised to advance land reform, prosecute human rights abusers, curb corruption, and seek a negotiated settlement to the war. Now that he has backed away from these promises, he is even braver to ask his traditional Christian Democratic constituents to go along—to accept the subordination of their goals to those of the oligarchy, the armed forces, and the US embassy.
Duarte’s weakness prevents him from even carrying out the basic functions of government. He admits he must accept the economic policy “packages” prepared for the “economic experts, including those at the US Embassy,” with only minor modifications to protect his constituents. After the earthquake he had to ask international donors to give their relief money to private organizations. Duarte, many concluded, knew that donations to his own government would be lost to corruption.
As Duarte loses power, the expanded and modernized military gains confidence. For example, last April the National Police broke up a ring of rightwing officers that specialized in posing as guerrillas and kidnapping rich businessmen. Duarte, the US embassy, and the armed forces proclaimed that the investigation would be pursued no matter where it led. But the investigation led to Colonel Roberto Mauricio Stabén, a powerful officer friendly with US military advisers and a man feared for his death-squad activities. At least two members of the kidnapping ring had identified Stabén as a ringleader. Stabén refused to be questioned and dared the high command to arrest him. After a brief standoff, Vides Casanova and Duarte backed down. Duarte publicly exonerated Stabén.
The military then underscored Duarte’s weakness. In September Duarte and the guerrillas agreed to hold peace talks in a small town in northern El Salvador. Colonel Stabén, in violation of the arrangements Duarte had approved, moved his troops into the area around the town. The guerrilla leaders, not eager to be Stabén’s next kidnapping victims, declined to show up.
What is most difficult for Americans to acknowledge is that Duarte’s good intentions have become a boon to his long-time foes and a threat to his long-time supporters. His good intentions ratify the status quo, leaving little room for the kind of political and social reforms that have been urgent since the mid-1970s. Increasingly, Duarte has put aside his Christian Democratic principles as well as his rhetoric about being caught between the left and right. He now speaks of unifying the right and the center for an allout war on the left. And the left is effectively defined, not just as the guerrillas, but as those who are too outspoken in their demands that Duarte comply with his 1984 pledges. In the United States congressional Democrats (and the liberal press) refrain from criticizing Duarte because they believe that criticism would only weaken him. What they do not see is that Duarte, like the Nicaraguan moderates who joined the Sandinista government only to find themselves without real influence over it, has been reduced to a shield against foreign criticism.
When Duarte says on the final pages of his autobiography that “the attacks and sabotage from Right and Left can reduce my political space in the center,” he is pathetically accurate. “My political space” leaves little room for others. Duarte’s simple presence in the government is all that is left of his reformist politics. He has sold himself to congressmen and to his publishers alike as the embodiment of the American ideal of peaceful change. And as he loses power, that ideal will lose power. For Americans with the best of intentions that will be very difficult to face.
December 4, 1986
See his El Salvador in Transition, (University of North Carolina Press, 1982). ↩
The best account of D’Aubuisson’s activities is found in a series of articles by Craig Pyes and Laurie Becklund in the Albuquerque Journal (December 18–22, 1983). ↩
See the article by Ignacio Ellocuría, rector of the University of Central America in San Salvador, in “Duarte: Prisoner of War,” a special issue of Report on the Americas (January–March, 1986). ↩