19 de junio de 2019
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English - News

Woman whose family slain in 1981 El Salvador massacre still seeks justice

Meanguera, El Salvador, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- Every time Salvadoran housewife Dorila Marquez tells how that country's army slaughtered almost all her family in the El Mozote neighborhood in 1981, she is consumed by pain once again, but refuses to remain silent and says she will continue telling her story until justice is done and the military pays for the blood of the innocents it massacred.

"When I give testimony point by point, it's like I'm living it all again and I'll carry those memories to the grave," Dorila, 61, said.

On the morning of June 6, 2018, a judge, a prosecutor, three lawyers and two police turned up at the house of the woman in the village of El Mozote to hear her testimony once more, while inspecting the places where the bloodbath took place in December 1981.

The woman told them she did not remember how often she has told of her suffering, nor how often she has wept for her slain family members, for an injured son, for the indifference of a government that ignored their plight for years.

From the kitchen of her home, Dorila pointed at the Cerro de la Cruz hill and told the visitors that on the morning of November 11, 1981, she saw soldiers of the elite Atlacatl Battalion climb to the top, shooting at everything that moved.

The day before, between 7 and 8 am, the soldiers began the massacre of children, old people and adults, as testified by the almost 40 witnesses in a court case against 18 military commands and the hundreds of skeletons dug up since the end of the 1980-1992 civil war.

The Salvadoran government, by order of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), created a register with a preliminary balance of 986 victims: 552 children and 434 adults.

The woman walked the authorities around the red clay streets down which she had tried to flee with her husband and two children ages 1 and 4 when they realized the magnitude of slaughter, and pointed to the abyss where they sought refuge and the hill from which the soldiers were shooting at them.

Dorila said she managed to escape with her elder child, who was shot in the foot.

She recalled that when the soldiers left, she returned to the village and went to a house in ruins where her parents, her pregnant sister, a brother age 11 and two nephews ages 7 and 1 lived. All were murdered by the army.

The San Francisco Gotera Court, which is hearing the case against the army's top brass and other officials, ordered the inspection of the places where the witnesses saw the massacre, and which will end on June 19.

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