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Report of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador

UN Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, From Madness to Hope: The 12-Year War in El Salvador, Report, 15 March 1993, in UN Secretary General, Letter to the President of the Security Council (S/25500), Annex. (PDF link)



B. The Creative Consequences


Violence was a fire which swept over the fields of El Salvador; it burst into villages, cut off roads and destroyed highways and bridges, energy sources and transmission lines; it reached the cities and entered families, sacred areas and educational centres; it struck at justice and filled the public administration with victims; and it singled out as an enemy anyone who was not on the list of friends. Violence turned everything to death and destruction, for such is the senselessness of that breach of the calm plenitude which accompanies the rule of law, the essential nature of violence being suddenly or gradually to alter the certainty which the law nurtures in human beings when this change does not take place through the normal mechanisms of the rule of law. The victims were Salvadorians and foreigners of all backgrounds and all social and economic classes, for in its blind cruelty violence leaves everyone equally defenceless.

When there came pause for thought, Salvadorians put their hands to their hearts and felt them pound with joy. No one was winning the war, everyone was losing it. Governments of friendly countries and organizations the world over that had looked on in anguish at the tragic events in that Central American country which, although small, was made great by the creativity of its people - all contributed their ideas to the process of reflection. A visionary, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, heeded the unanimous outcry and answered it. The Presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela supported him. The Chapultepec Agreement expressed the support of the new Secretary-General, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, for the search for reconciliation.