Sunday, 10 February 2019

El Salvador Another Vietnam?

I've discovered a documentary made about 1979-1981 covering the escalating civil war in El Salvador and the growing involvement of the United States military and intelligence services. It covers the Salvadoran economy and society, its poverty, the dominance of a few families, the limited reforms carried out by earlier shaky Junta's etc.

Its an excellent introduction into this period, but because of the nature of the subject it makes for some very grim viewing.

The footage the makers have managed to acquire is extremely shocking and disturbing. The films content includes description of death, torture, mutilation, but they also obtained quite extensive footage of these horrible acts. So I've decided to age restrict the video and put the links at the bottom so you'll have to read this warning first.

Here's just a brief description of some of the more distressing scenes, a number of military police stand over a corpse, one of them takes a rifle and then plants it in the hands of the deceased protestor. Footage of the military raid in June 1980 on the National University, including soldiers firing on two un armed students who are lying down on the floor reciting prayers. One of the students is hit several times and we see him begging for mercy. Several of the interviewees of the documentary including a missionary and members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front were abducted, tortured and murdered before filming finished and the makers included their discovered bodies.

There are also segments dedicated to rebels ambushing soldiers and street battles. Its honestly very haunting, but the makers of the film did an excellent job. Spokespeople for the government have their speeches downplaying violence juxtaposed with shocking brutality. It contains many testimonies from politicians, Christians, rebels, and students.

Video Link

Publication date 1981
This film examines the civil war in El Salvador in light of the Reagan administration's decision to "draw the line" against "Communist interference" in Central America. It offers an overview of U.S. military and economic policy in Central America since 1948, with extensive background to the current crisis. Includes scenes with both government and guerilla forces, and discusses U.S. aid to the Junta. Is this the beginning of a "new Vietnam"? A Blue Ribbon Winner, American Film Festival 1982. Directed by Glen Silber and Tete Vasconellos. 1981
Producers, directors, Glen Silber, Tete Vasconcellos ; editor, Deborah Shaffer ; narration, Claudia Vianello ; narrator, Mike Farrell

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