The First Final Offensive

In January 1981, the FMLN launched a “final offensive,” just before Ronald Reagan assumed office. This attempt failed due to lack of arms and trained troops, and the guerrillas turned to consolidating their control over parts of the countryside.  The final offensive was not a total loss for the FMLN, however. It retained military strongholds and settled in for a protracted guerrilla conflict. The offensive focused further international attention on El Salvador and established the FMLN/FDR as a formidable force both politically and militarily; in August 1981, the governments of France and Mexico recognized the front as a “representative political force” and called for a negotiated settlement between the rebels and the government.  CISPES used the media attention of the final offensive to keep building the organization, now with hundreds of chapters and affiliates around the country.

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