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Assassination of a SaintThe Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice$
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Matt Eisenbrandt and Benjamín Cuéllar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286795

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286795.001.0001

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“The Enemy Comes from Our People”

“The Enemy Comes from Our People”

Coffee, Anti-Communism, and the Death Squads

(p.24) Three “The Enemy Comes from Our People”
Assassination of a Saint

Matt Eisenbrandt

University of California Press

This chapter provides an overview of the recent history of El Salvador, with a focus on the importance of coffee as a crop that built fortunes for a small group of families. The wealth concentrated in the hands of oligarchs led to massive economic inequality throughout the twentieth century, and an uprising in the 1930s was put down in such a brutal manner that it stifled opposition for decades and came to be known as the Matanza. This chapter chronicles U.S. government support for anti-Communism and counterinsurgency efforts that created the death squads in El Salvador, continued military repression amid growing cries for reform in the 1960s and 1970s, the rise of insurgent groups targeting the oligarchs, and the bloody response of the military and death squads. After a reformist military coup in 1979, Roberto D’Aubuisson and civilian supporters carried out a public crusade denouncing advocates of reform as Communists, with the country getting closer to civil war.

Keywords:   coffee, oligarchs, matanza, Communism, counterinsurgency, death squads, D’Aubuisson, repression

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