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Guerilla Radio Legend Shares her Story

Friday, November 17, 2006

Written by Chris Keefer

Hot on the heels of Rufina Amaya, who testified before Guelph students of her experience surviving a massacre by US trained El Salvadorean death squads, Mariposa, the legendary voice of Radio Venceremos, spoke to Guelph Students this past Wednesday night. Mariposa, whose real name is Marina Manzanares, was one of the founders of Radio Venceremos, the alternative radio station of El Salvador which blossomed during the bloody civil war that took place from 1981 until 1992.

She related the stories of her involvement in the alternative radio movement in El Salvador which involved many close escapes from a military intent on destroying the revolutionary weapon of community radio. The El Salvadorean civil war became a struggle between US imperialism and the aspirations of the wildly popular social movement of El Salvador, Frente Faribundo Marti de la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN). The United States propped up the government of the small country of El Salvador to the tune of $1.5 million US a day in military aid and training.

Despite this immense foreign intervention the FMLN survived and grew into a well organized resistance movement. A stalemate was reached in which the United States would not allow the movement to triumph and the movement would not give up. However the conflict had raged for many years and upwards of 70,000 lives have been lost. As a result peace accords were signed in the year 1992. These agreements laid a foundation for peace in this war torn country in which whole communities had been massacred by the El Salvadorean military.

Many concessions were made and weapons were laid down. However the El Salvadorean government has not lived up to its side of the agreement. There has been a blanket amnesty for the death squad leaders and military personnel involved in the bloody massacre’s of the 1980s. Mariposa related the sad reality that rather than being punished for their crimes, the leaders of these death squads, have been incorporated into the National Police and other government institutions. Mariposa, is on a new campaign. One in which she Hopes to bring awareness to the outside world of the deteriorating human rights situation in El Salvador where para-military violence has culminated in the torture and murder of her 79 year old father and 77 year old mother.

The Attorney general of El Salvador has refused to investigate this crime and Mariposa has received numerous death threats. Mariposa has requested that concerned students and community members contact the Attorney general of El Salvador and other government officials (listed below) to demand a thorough investigation of this crime and to demand an end to the impunity that death squads enjoy in her country.

This kind of international solidarity is important not just in terms of bringing justice for the crimes that have already been committed by the death squads but also for the continued safety and security of Mariposa. Her life has been threatened on numerous occasions and the she believes that the government sponsored death squads are much less likely to plan and carry out her murder if the world is watching. Polite letters of concern in support of Mariposa and asking for a proper investigation into the deaths of her parents can be faxed to the government officials listed below. Letters can be dropped off at the CSA Human Rights Office on the second floor of the University Centre.

For more information about the Murder of Mariposa’s parents please go to this link

SR Lic Felix Garrid Safie
Fiscal General:
Fax (503) 2249-8613

Dra. Beatrice Alamanni de Carillo
Procuraduria para la defense de los Derechos Humanos
Fax: (503) 2222-0655

Lic. Mauricio Rosales
Embajador de El Salvador en Canada
Tel: (613) 238-2939
Fax: (613) 238-6940
209 Kent St. Ste. 504, Ottawa

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