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Causes of the War


Obdulio connects the origins of the war to the injustices that the Salvadoran government put its people through.


The main reason, you know, was that the poor population, the dispossessed of this country, were beginning to exert their rights. And the only weapon they had was organization and struggle. So there began to be huge marches in San Salvador. I remember, I witnessed it, they demanded small increases in salaries, that workers be given better meals, that the right to life be respected. So, that’s when the state itself, the government itself began to repress the protests instead of offering solutions to their demands. They started the repression, they began by identifying the leaders and then they started killing the leaders. So, as you know, when it comes to organizations, the more you mess with their leaders the stronger they get, we have seen great examples of this, how people got involved in the organizations and the struggles that were going on. We saw the work that Monseñor Romero did, how he helped the poor classes, it was very important. A neighbor in the community said to me, “What can we do,” she said, “now that they have killed Monseñor Romero?” She had three daughters who had married some men from the hills, from Cerro Grande, and they were in the struggle, they were organized here in the area, and that’s why the woman was afraid. “We have lost the shepherd who defended us,” she said. I told her, “We must trust in God.” I said, and, “We can’t lose sight of the need to organize.” She was so afraid. And it turned out that a month after our conversation, they came to kill her, right where she lived. Her crime was that her daughters had joined the organizing, that’s why she died. Her name was—we called her “Lencha,” but her name was Prudencia Martínez.