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Chapter 5 – Guerrilla Experiences

Salvadorans who supported the guerrilla groups had a wide range of reasons for doing so, and varied experiences in the movement. Some were inspired by the victories of the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutionary movements, and sought to establish a socialist or communist society. Others saw their activities–or simply their opinions–in favor of democracy and social justice labeled as “subversive” and subjected to repression by the government, and felt they had no alternative but to take up arms. Still others supported the movement in principle or because of family members’ involvement, but were not themselves involved. Members of the guerrilla organizations held a variety of roles, from commanders to combatants, cooks to radio operators. After the war, a United Nations Truth Commission found that the guerrilla organizations were responsible for approximately ten percent of human rights violations during the war, including executions of non-combatants, indiscriminate use of landmines, and the forcible recruitment of minors. In this chapter, members of the guerrilla organizations talk about their experiences and reasons for supporting the revolutionary movement.

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