Archbishop Romero, Assassinated by US-Backed Terrorists During Mass, Beatified

The Telesur news outlet is currently featuring an interactive piece covering the life, murder, legacy, and now beatification of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero.

(Beatification: a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person’s entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name.)

Why did they kill him?  Salvadorans called Romero the “Voice of the Voiceless”.  He spoke out against the El Salvador dictatorship’s human rights violations, he opened the doors of the church to victims fleeing repression, and he repeatedly criticized the help the United States was providing the Salvadoran dictatorship.  As a result, president Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) asked the Vatican to sanction Romero.”

Due to US complicity in his assassination, a leading US dissident intellectual, Dr. Noam Chomsky, has made it a goal to inform the largely unaware US public about Romero’s assassination and the general repression in US satellites in Latin America, a continuation of the repression and exploitation begun in Latin America by Europeans, the Spanish, in the late 1400s:

Against the State: An ... Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Best Price: $9.94 Buy New $9.95 (as of 11:55 EDT - Details) “In a Russian satellite, Stalinist satellite, say Czechoslovakia in the ’80s, critics, we call them dissidents, like Vaclav Havel, could be jailed. In an American satellite at the very same time, they just had their heads blown off.

It’s a radical difference.  And that in fact is far more general, and it’s known to scholarship.  So, if you take a look at the recent Cambridge History of the Cold War, there’s an article by John Coatsworth on Latin America, a well-known Latin Americanist.  He points out that from the early sixties to the Soviet collapse in 1990, I’m quoting him now, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, executions of non-violent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites.  That included many religious martyrs, and also mass slaughter – which didn’t occur in the Soviet satellites – consistently supported, often initiated in Washington, generally supported by the responsible intellectuals … generally out of history.

It really is out of history.  There happens to be a graphic illustration of it in my office…  About fifteen years ago I was given a rather evocative painting by a Jesuit priest.  The painting shows the angel of death, graphically presented, [and] Archbishop Romero – he’s called ‘The Voice of the People’, ‘The Voice of the Voiceless’- who was assassinated in 1980 while reading mass.  Incidentally, [this was] shortly after he had sent a letter to president Carter, pleading with him not to send military aid to the junta because it would just be used to crush people struggling for their elementary human rights.

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