Date: Tue, 30 Jun 98 17:43:18 CDT
/** reg.nicaragua: 65.0 **/
US Releases Some Secrets on 1980 El Salvador Murders
Weekly News Update on the Americas, No.439, 28 June 1998
According to the New York Times, US secretary of state Madeleine Albright has ordered the release of some 300 pages of State Department documents on the 1980 rape and murder of four US women church workers in El Salvador. The documents are to be published and posted on the State Department's web site.
The US and Salvadoran governments have both insisted that the killings were carried out by four National Guard soldiers and one low-ranking officer on their own initiative; the five were convicted in 1984. But the documents show that in February 1985, the defense minister at the time of the killings, Gen. Jose Guillermo Garcia, told then-US ambassador to El Salvador Thomas Pickering that "[w]hen it became clear that the women had been murdered, he thought immediately of Col. Edgardo Casanova," according to a cable the embassy sent to Washington. Col. Casanova was military commander of the zone where the women were abducted. "Without recounting specifics, Gen. Garcia noted that, sometime before the churchwomen incident, something similar had occurred within the territory falling under Casanova's jurisdiction." Pickering says in another cable that Deputy Defense Minister Col. Rafael Flores Lima talked to him about information that "Edgardo Casanova had been aware of and possibly ordered the murder of the churchwomen."
In 1993 a UN Truth Commission report found that Gen. Garcia and Col. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova had organized and directed a coverup of the murders. Vides Casanova, who in 1980 was the director of the National Guard, is a first cousin and lifelong friend of Edgardo Casanova. Vides Casanova was eventually promoted to general and became defense minister, working closely with US authorities. He retired in 1989 and immediately moved to Florida, where he was granted permanent residence and now lives with his wife and children. [NYT 6/25/98]
Weekly News Update on the Americas * Nicaragua Solidarity Network of NY 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012 * 212-674-9499 fax: 212-674-9139 http://home.earthlink.net/~dbwilson/wnuhome.html * firstname.lastname@example.org