For 31 years, we have gathered to honor and remember the lives of community leaders, students, teachers, labor organizers, activists, parents, children, siblings, and compas killed by US-supported state violence. Our first vigil took place on the first anniversary of the November 16, 1989 massacre of Elba Ramos, her 16-year old daughter, Celina Ramos, and six Jesuit priests, Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín-Baró, Segundo Montes, Juan Ramón Moreno, Joaquín López y López, and Armando López -- each were outspoken critics of El Salvador’s military dictatorship. The brutal assassinations at Central America University (UCA) were carried out by the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Army, which was led by 19 School of the Americas (SOA) graduates. While SOA Watch initially formed 30 years ago to denounce this massacre, it was only one of the many atrocities that occurred in Latin America as the United States funded civil wars and trained military at the SOA/WHINSEC.
Today, we will be joining the SOA Watch musicians collective for our annual vigil, including presentes and litany. Together, we will remember the lives of those we have lost but will never be forgotten. Together, we will reaffirm our commitment to continuing to organize for a world where our communities can live with dignity and without fear, where our planet is protected and not pillaged.
We hope you will join us for today’s virtual vigil – the log-in information is below! The vigil is free, bilingual (Spanish and English, interpretation will be provided) and all are welcome. Also, feel free to bring a candle, photo of a loved, memento, cross -- something meaningful as we remember those who have paved the path for our collective liberation.
Click HERE to Access the Virtual Vigil TODAY 11:30 AM PST | 1:30 PM CST | 2:30 PM PST
(Zoom Meeting ID: 830 4381 2166)
For 32 years, members of Salvadoran civil society and allies across the globe have organized for accountability and justice. Many continue to push for the re-opening of the investigation into the intellectual authors of the UCA massacre, including the investigation of six high-ranking military officers and a former president, Alfredo Cristiani, after El Salvador’s Supreme Court closed the case last year. Furthermore, the US government in general, and the SOA/WHINSEC in particular, have never been held accountable for their role in training, financing, and empowering members of the military leadership who ordered the murders at the UCA. The US and SOA share responsibility for the 75,000 civilians killed and 8,000 civilians disappeared during El Salvador’s US-backed civil war. The important organizing for truth, justice, and the guarantees of no-repetition for the UCA massacre and all forms of US-led and supported violence against our communities continues together.
As we honor the memory of those killed by US-backed state violence, we remind ourselves that our obligation is to continue organizing and resisting. If you are able, please make a tax-deductible donation at this time––together we will close the School of Assassins and dismantle the structures of oppression on which it is based.
As we gather in memory and resistance today, we remember that the legacies of the Jesuit priests, their accomplices, and all our martyrs are alive today.
"At this time of mourning the deaths of so many loved ones at the hands of the pandemic, confrontations, political decisions that veer us away from democracy and towards authoritarianism and militarism, the martyrs of El Salvador continue to be a source of inspiration…stay by the side of the most poor, always be on the side of truth, of justice, peace, and collective wellbeing."
-Andreu Oliva, current director of the UCA
Celina Ramos, ¡Presente!
Elba Ramos, ¡Presente!
Ignacio Ellacuría, ¡Presente!
Ignacio Martín-Baró, ¡Presente!
Amando López, ¡Presente!
Joaquín López y López, ¡Presente!
Segundo Montes, ¡Presente!
Juan Ramón Moreno, ¡Presente!
P.S. On Saturday, November 6th we facilitated a virtual conference. Check out the recordings of the virtual conference here!