Political violence is a topic that is not unheard of in the ears of our generation, being quite the common factor in a never ending struggle for power-thirsty individuals and groups throughout history. Empires, spanning countless miles of land, did not come to considerable power without violence and politics playing their roles. Regardless of the size, El Salvador was no exception. Political violence has transformed this country, not only economically and culturally, but emotionally as well. Peaceful Salvadorans, including their children, were taking up arms, becoming part of guerrilla communist groups or death squads. But why would Salvadorans, who have no history of violence, join a death squad or become a member of an anti-government communist guerrilla group? In this paper, I will discuss the economic, social, and environmental problems of the country, death squads/terrorism, the reason for their existence in El Salvador, children joining death squads, the United States involvement, and El Salvador’s transitional process. I believe each one of these points have played a significant part in the history of El Salvador today. To fully understand this thesis question, some background on El Salvador is needed.
El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America, as well as being the smallest, having an area of 21,040 km. A long history of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions, as well as social struggles, has morphed the country drastically. Three-fourths of the population is now settled in the area west of Lake Ilopango and south of Santa Ana, having a very rugged topography comprised of volcanoes. This area also faces high rates of subduction zone and upper-crustal earthquakes, as we...
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Rose, William I., Julian J. Bommer, Dina L. Lopez, Michael J. Carr, and Jon J. Major. "Natural hazards and risk mitigation in El Salvador." In Natural Hazards in El Salvador, Boulder, CO. The Geological Society of America, Inc., 2001.
Taylor, Robert W., and Harry E. Vanden. Defining Terrorism in El Salvador: "La Matanza." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 463: 107-112. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1043615 (accessed May 2, 2014).
Thompson, Martha . "Transition in El Salvador: A Multi-Layered Process." Development in Practice 7: 456-460. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4029015 (accessed May 4, 2014).
Valis, Noël. Fear and Torment in El Salvador. The Massachusetts Review 48: 117-131. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25091175 (accessed May 2, 2014).
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