Massacre El Mozote Essay

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On December 10, 1981 the people of a small Salvadoran town, El Mozote, were detained without resistance by the Atlacatl Battalion, which was a U.S trained army. On the following day, December 11, after spending the night locked in their homes, they were deliberately and systematically executed in groups. First, the men were tortured and executed, then the women were executed and, lastly, the children. This operation, known as operative de tierra arrasada, was a scorched-earth operation. Basically, "If the guerillas were fish swimming in a sea of people, then the army's job would be to drain the sea. As officers put it: it was to take away water from the fish" The civil war in El Salvador began in the 1970's due to discontent with social inequalities, a poor economy, and the repressive measures of dictatorship. The government was composed of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, and leftist anti-government guerrilla units, were led by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). The U.S. supported the side of the right-wings, despite its scores of human rights violations. Early in 1981, advisers from the U.S. Army Special Forces were sent to perfect the military skills of the Salvadorans. The training program was a key element of the Reagan administration's drive to professionalize the anti-guerrilla operations of El Salvador's military. The Reagan administration also hoped that this training would ensure the ability to prevent an uprising. The first unit trained was Atlacatl, which was to become what the U.S. instructors called a search-and-destroy force developed to clean up questionable areas. El Mozote was in a place, in a zone, that was one hundred percent controlled by the guerrillas. The army tries to dry those areas up, knowing that they aren't going to be able to work with the civilian population of El Mozote. Their only

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