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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dated, but still powerful, May 10, 2004
This review is from: El Salvador: The Face of Revolution (Paperback)
It seems like so long ago now, the conflict in Central America of the 1980s. Not only was it viewed as a peripheral Cold War conflict, which encouraged the US to support notoriously corrupt and brutal regimes, but it was also a series of extremely complex dynamics in small sovereign nations that virtually no one knew much about. El Salvador, along with Guatamala and pre-Sandinista Nicaragua, was one of the worst countries "down there."

This book offers an intimate portrait of a gathering revolution, cataloguing the injustices and casual brutalites in a frightening indictment. The bottom line is that a layer of evil people simply must be swept away and the US has no business standing in the way of it. In other words, it is the classic argument for "indiginous revolution," dismissing the claims of cold warriors that the revolutionaries are communists supported by Moscow, etc. While this is only of historical interest, it is a useful case study of misguided policy, which we would do well to study today.

The stories in the book are truly horrible. One young army officer, for example, raped a young aristocrat but was let off from prosecution because he appeared "promising." As scary as they are, I have since discovered that some of them are inaccurate. For example, the future president of El Salvador, whose name I think was Napoleon Duarte, was reported to have been tortured and that the tips of his fingers on one hand were cut off during interrogation. It turns out that he lost them as a construction worker. This diminishes the credibility of the book somewhat, but it is still very powerful.

Recommended for a look at the COld War mentality and as a guide to the self-deception that can go on in Washington DC.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 8, 2009 4:36:19 PM PDT
D. Parada says:
How can we know what really happened? Whose truth is more credible?
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