6 Jesuit Priests their houskeeper and her daughter killed in El Salvador

In the early hours of November 16, 1989, six Jesuit professors, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter were roused from sleep by US-trained Salvadoran special forces, led outside, and shot to death on the lawn of the Central American University José Simeón Cañas (UCA) in San Salvador.

They were: Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró, Segundo Montes, Amando López, Juan Ramón Moreno, Joaquín López y López, as well as Julia Elba Ramos and her 15-year-old daughter Celina.

1989: The final Offensive

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.

Pentagon Protest

In 1988, more than a thousand of CISPES activists participated in a mass civil disobedience action, surrounding the Pentagon and effectively shutting down it’s operations for part of the day.  240 people were arrested and charged with obstructing a passageway after blockading the south entrances to the building, sitting in front of moving cars and buses, and creating a sea of bodies at the building’s doorsteps.

Said peace activist Daniel Ellsberg: “We are telling the administration and the people in this building that they can’t do what they’re doing to America without arresting America.  This is different than Vietnam. We’re acting before American combat troops are sent . . . . For every person willing to get arrested now, a hundred or thousand are willing to get arrested if they escalate this war.”

The demonstration was part of CISPES’s campaign called “El Salvador: Steps to Freedom,” which sought an end to U.S. military aid, including advisers, to the government of El Salvador.  Protesters planted wooden crosses around the Heliport Entrance, symbolizing the thousands killed by U.S.-funded death squads in El Salvador