Introduction to the War

“War doesn’t determine whose right, only who is left”

                                                -Bertrand Russell

Many families were displaced from their homes as a cause of the war and poverty within El Salvador. Families sought refuge wherever they could, even if it meant San Salvador’s cemetery where the bodies of their deceased relatives lay.
El Salvador’s citizens endured a brutal Civil War. This image (Copyright @ Donna De Cesare) captures civilians escaping government bombing in San Salvador, in 1989. People lived a very difficult life, a life of uncertainty where any wrong move could mean the cost one’s life.
The inclusion of child soldiers was one of the human right’s violations that occurred during the Salvadoran Civil War.

In the following story pages of this site, you can read the first-hand accounts of my family members and acquaintances who lived through the Salvadoran Civil War. Some of what they said will be forever ingrained in my mind.


“The war started because there were injustices, and there have always been social injustices”

This was a moment when I saw someone I loved being hurt right in front of me and there was not much I could do about it.”

“In the end it was a fight of interest by the people in power and the poor suffered. It was a pointless fight because nothing came out of it. Today, El Salvador is not any better off than it was before the war.”

“That stake punctured her whole body and came out of her mouth.”

“Everything that we went through, everything that we lost, everything that we suffered, and we can’t be in our land, we can’t live in our homes, we had to emigrate. [I still feel] despair of not being able to be where I want, of not being able to [be] with the people that I want to be with.”

“Now you are not asked if you want to join the ranks, you are forced to be in them.”

“We did not want to be caught in the crossfire.”

“Civilians could only hope not to find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“We always looked for an explanation as to why this was happening, but we could not find one.”

The Salvadorian Civil War was a struggle between the leftist group known as the guerrillas or FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front) and the Salvadoran military. The armed conflict lasted for twelve years between 1980 and 1992. Many lost their homes, their family members and had to flee to safer regions of the country, or had to emigrate. Most Salvadorans came to the United States to find refuge.

The following is a 9 minute video interview of a survivor of the guerrillas of the Salvadoran Civil War, by Vladimir Santos: