In partnership with Frontline, and ProPublica
As Massacre Survivors Seek Justice, El Salvador Grapples With 1,000 Ghosts
Salvadoran military officers accused of ordering a massacre that left 1,000 people dead have been investigated in recent years, but their trial, and a final reckoning, may now be in jeopardy.
The 1981 rampage, perpetrated by soldiers trained and equipped by the United States, took place in and near the village of El Mozote. More than half the victims were children. Despite investigations, courtroom maneuvering and decades of pleas by survivors, no one has ever been held responsible.
High-ranking military officers accused of ordering the slaughter were investigated in recent years, but their trial, and a final reckoning, may now be in jeopardy.
This collaboration by Retro Report, Frontline PBS and ProPublica revisits El Mozote. New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner was one of the first journalists to uncover evidence of the massacre, along with the photographer Susan Meiselas. His reporting was roundly – and wrongly – assailed at the time by the Reagan administration, but history has borne out the truth of his first-hand accounts.
Then, a few years ago, a judge in El Salvador began an investigation to determine who should be held accountable. For a time, there was a sense that there might be a resolution in the search for justice by the men and women who had somehow managed to survive.
But the president of El Salvador wants his country to move into the future by forgetting the past. Now a trial of officers accused of ordering the massacre is in jeopardy.
Remembrance of a Massacre — El Mozote: Foreward by Raymond Bonner, photographs by Susan Meiselas
First-Hand Account: Lessons From the El Mozote Massacre by Clyde Haberman
The High Price of Doing Journalism in El Salvador by Nelson Rauda
In El Salvador, a Journalist Faces New Limits. ‘We Want to Continue Shedding Light.
Transcript in Spanish
In El Salvador, a Journalist Faces New Limits. ‘We Want to Continue Shedding Light.’
Nelson Rauda, an independent journalist, told us that El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, is putting the squeeze on press freedom.
The Murder of US Churchwomen in El Salvador That Exposed a Government Coverup
The murder of four American churchwomen focused attention on the United States’ involvement in El Salvador. Decades later, the case continues to take surprising turns.
How a Folk Singer’s Murder Forced Chile to Confront Its Past
Víctor Jara was a legendary Chilean folk singer and political activist, whose brutal killing during a military coup in 1973 went unsolved for decades. Now, his family may finally get justice.
Argentina's Stolen Babies, and the Grandmothers Leading the Search
The Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group of women dedicated to finding babies who were taken by Argentina’s military regime in the 1970s and 1980s, have reunited their 130th family.