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February 13, 2024 132 mins

I’d like you to picture some of the most awful human beings you could possibly imagine… genocidal maniacs, torturers, child rapists. Got the picture? Ok. Now I’d like you to imagine if you can conceive of any circumstances in which not only you wouldn’t do everything in your power to stop them, but you would actually support them. Can you think of any scenario that would warrant you supporting people like that? Can you picture yourself fighting hard to make sure they have millions of dollars and supplies to carry out their activities? Keep your answer in mind for the remainder of this series.

This is a story about what happened in El Salvador in the 1970s and 1980s, and the role that democratic as well as republican administrations played in this tale. As much as humanly possible, I’ll try to let the facts speak for themselves and not inject too much of my own commentary. It’s not always going to be easy since it’s an intensely emotional subject. In a larger sense, this tale is a microcosm of the Cold War itself. It’s a disturbing, unsettling story about starving peasants and impossible choices. It’s about President Carter’s words weighed against his actions. It’s about the US government’s efforts to cover up the murders of four American churchwomen. And it’s about the heroism of one man, Oscar Romero, willingly sacrificing himself to shine a light into the darkness.

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