Shedding Light on Humanity’s Dark Side

The Outspoken Survivor of Slaughter.

  1. Rufina Amaya, the woman who was often identified as the last, or only, survivor of the massacre at the village of El Mozote, died last week. She was not, strictly speaking, the only survivor of that monstrous event, but she appears to have been the only one who emerged with her wits about her, a clear memory of what took place, and the will to describe how hundreds of people, including her husband and four of her children, were systematically butchered on Dec. 11, 1981, in an impoverished corner of El Salvador.

    The massacre took place in the early days of the United States' involvement in El Salvador. In that conflict, radical leftist guerrillas tried to overthrow a ruling establishment utterly loathed by the population at large for its corruption and human rights atrocities. The Reagan administration intervened to train and equip the Salvadoran army, and to shore up the government against what it feared would become a red tide of communism lapping at the very borders of the Rio Grand...

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