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5250 - The Rebirth of Truth?: the place of From Madness to Hope in the Jesuit Massacre Case

The 1992 Salvadoran Peace Accords created a truth commission with the task of " investigating serious acts of violence that have occurred since 1980 and whose impact on society urgently demands that the public should know the truth." The commission's final report was published in March 1993. Immediately thereafter, in his first public comments following the release of the report, then-President Cristiani declared that the report was uneven and incomplete and "did not respond to the desire of the majority of the Salvadoran people, which is to forgive and forget . . . a very painful past that brought so much suffering to the Salvadoran family." From that time until the 2009 electoral victory of the former guerrilla's presidential candidate, the mainstream media seemed to embrace this call to forget, especially in regard to the truth commission's report itself, De la Locura a la Esperanza ( From Madness to Hope ) . (Since then, the past in general has become more a part of El Salvador's present, especially at the national level as President Funes has, for example, apologized on behalf of the state for its past crimes.) In the Spanish Audencia Nacional's case again st Salvadoran military officials implicated in the 1989 assassination of six Jesuits, the housekeeper, and her daughter, the report is being remembered once again. Significantly in the Jesuit case, De la Locura a la Esperanza includes the killings as an "illustrative case" of "violence against opponents by agents of the state." This paper explores the ways the truth commission report is being discussed and cited in the media in relation to recent developments in the case, specifically the May 2011 indictment of 20 former Salvadoran military officials. Interestingly, this indictment used the truth commission report as documentation to support the demand and also cited Cristiani as playing an active role in the cover-up of the crimes and in hindering their investigation.      

Palavras-chaves: El Salvador, Jesuits, truth commission

Autores: Hatcher, Rachel (University of Saskatchewan, Ud States of Am / USA)

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