In 1989, the FMLN made a mighty push for power, putting forward bold new peace proposals while simultaneously preparing a military campaign with the potential to force an end to the war. On October 31, right-wing death squads bombed the headquarters of FENASTRAS, a militant labor federation, killing 10 people. The FMLN broke off stalemated peace talks and launched the largest offensive of the war.
The offensive, and the government’s brutal response, changed the course of the war. The FMLN occupied parts of San Salvador for weeks, at one point trapping a group of U.S. Green Berets inside the Sheraton Hotel in one of San Salvador’s most exclusive neighborhoods. By bringing the war to the doorsteps of the rich, the FMLN convinced the Salvadoran and U.S. governments that the revolution could not be defeated militarily.