On This Day — Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980) [Is the CIA to blame?]

“There are clear evidential threads on who gave the original order and who paid for the murder that any concerted investigation in El Salvador would absolutely be able to gather enough evidence to prosecute those involved.”

Matt Eisenbrandt — Assassination of a Saint

March 24 2021 — Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was a prelate of the Catholic Church who served as the fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture. Romero was assassinated while offering Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence. In the Bible, 40 years is a generational measurement of time. Much has happened to Salvadorians over the last four decades. But Justice for Romero is still waiting. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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“In mid-1983, an unusually detailed CIA report, quoting a senior Salvadoran police source, named Linares as a member of a four-man National Police squad which murdered Romero. So why, if the CIA had such evidence, and solving the murder was such a priority, was nothing done?”

Tom Gibb — The Guardian (March 23 2000)

The assassination of the archbishop Óscar Romero as he celebrated mass on March 24 1980 remains one of the most notorious political murders of the 20th century.

“The murder plunged El Salvador into a full-blown civil war which eventually left 80,000 dead and 8,000 disappeared.”  [Guardian — January 2017]

Extreme-right wing politician and death squad leader Roberto D’Aubuisson is regarded as the person who ordered the assassination.

In 1984, US ambassador Robert White testified before the United States Congress that there was sufficient evidence to convict D’Aubuisson of planning and ordering Romero’s assassination.

In May 1987, the CIA wrote a cable listing the various suspects of this crime. The cable states that, although there is no hard evidence, the allegations against D’Aubuisson are credible.

Despite the evidence against him, Roberto D’Aubuisson was never charged of the crime. He died of cancer in 1992.

In 1993, an official United Nations report identified D’Aubuisson as the man who ordered the killing.

Before the war, D’Aubuisson ran El Salvador’s intelligence agency ANSESAL – set up by the CIA.

Salvadorean Air Force Captain Álvaro Rafael Saravia  was the chief of D’Aubuisson’s death squads. In 1987, Saravia was briefly arrested in Miami.

In 2003, the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), an American human-rights organization, filed a lawsuit in the United States against Saravia for his role in the assassination or Archbishop Romero.

The suit was filed in a U.S. federal district court under the Alien Tort Claim Act (28 U.S.C. § 1350). In Doe v. Rafael Saravia, the defendant was found guilty of crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killing, resulting in a $10 million judgment against Saravia.

On October 23, 2018, a Salvadorean judge issued a new arrest warrant for him. Interpol and the National Police are charged with finding his hideout and apprehending him. There is enough evidence to charge him for complicity in the assassination. Better late than never.

PS — Inside the Church, the worst enemies of Archbishop Romero are gone. Cardinals Alfonso López Trujillo and Darío Castrillón Hoyos — both Colombian and ardent supporters of right wing paramilitaries — were staunch opponents of Romero’s canonization. (They died in 2008 and in 2018, respectively.)

“Let my blood be a seed of freedom and the sign that hope will soon be reality.”

“Between the powerful and the wealthy, and the poor and vulnerable, who should a pastor side with? I have no doubts. A pastor should stay with his people.”

Archbishop Oscar Romero

Chomsky on Oscar Romero

 October 14 2018 — Archbishop Oscar Romero is proclaimed Saint

Pope Francis has conferred sainthood on murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero at a ceremony in the Vatican.

The Pope also canonised Pope Paul VI, known for making reforms to the Catholic Church in the 1960s.

“We declare and define Paul VI and Óscar Arnulfo Romero Galdámez… to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church,” he told a crowd of 60,000 people, including multiple heads of state.

The pope wore the blood-stained rope belt worn by Archbishop Romero when he was murdered and used the chalice and pastoral staff of Pope Paul VI.

Romero criticised both sides of the El Salvadoran conflict, which started in 1980, for any actions that affected civilians.

When the US-backed Salvadoran army was using death squads and torture to stop leftist revolutionaries from seizing power, he used what would become his last homily to speak out against it.

“The law of God which says thou shalt not kill must come before any human order to kill. It is high time you recovered your conscience,” he said, calling on the National Guard and police to stop the violence.

“I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression.”

The next day, on 24 March 1980, Archbishop Romero was shot dead as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel.

His death horrified the world and escalated the violence in El Salvador that spiralled into a 12-year civil war that claimed 75,000 lives.

Many Salvadorans are still angry that 38 years later, Archbishop Romero’s killers have never faced justice because of a 1992 amnesty law. (BBC)

“His ministry was distinguished by his particular attention to the most poor and marginalized.”Pope Francis

40 years : A generational measurement of biblical time

When God punished a whole generation of Israelites for the sins they had committed, He cast them in the desert for 40 years.

In the four decades following Romero’s assassination, much has indeed happened.

Roberto D’Aubuisson, the Salvadoran death squad leader suspected to have ordered the killing, died of cancer in 1992.

The Cold War is over and U.S. President Barack Obama visited Romero’s tomb in 2011.

Europe-based magazine “A Different View” has included Romero among its 15 Champions of World Democracy.

REFERENCES

Óscar Romero — Wikipedia

Details of plot to murder archbishop Óscar Romero revealed in new book — Guardian

Update

Salvadoran priest Oscar Romero to be declared saint by Pope Francis — Guardian (October 11 2018)

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Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980)

Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980) UPDATE : Canonisation on October 14 2018

Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980) UPDATE 2: Canonisation on October 14 2018

On This Day — Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980)

40 Years Ago — Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980)

On This Day — Remembering Archbishop Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 — Assassinated March 24, 1980) [Is the CIA to blame?]

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