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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)


I. Foundation for the Truth

K. The Dominant Idea


The Commission places on record its admiration for and gratitude to the Salvadorian people, without exception, for the courage they have shown throughout the terrible ordeal of the conflict and for the outstanding spirit which they have generously demonstrated in the peace process. It also expresses its gratitude to President Cristiani and the members of his Government, and to the Commanders and members of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), for cooperating with it in the performance of its tasks.

The Commission further expresses its gratitude to the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and to Assistant Secretary-General Mr. Alvaro de Soto and his staff for their efficient cooperation. It also thanks ONUSAL, in particular, its Director, Mr. Iqbal Riza, for their diligence and expeditiousness in providing logistical and security support, and legal expert Mr. Pedro Nikken, whose knowledge of Central America is extensive.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the President of Colombia, Mr. César Gaviria Trujillo; the President of Mexico, Mr. Carlos Salinas de Gortari; the Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. Felipe González; and the President of Venezuela, Mr. Carlos Andrés Pérez known as "the four friends of the Secretary-General", and their ambassadors to the United Nations and El Salvador, for their constant and full support.

We also express our gratitude to Salvadorian political parties and their leaders; Salvadorian and international non-governmental organizations; the Catholic Church and its hierarchy and all religious faiths; the Directors and staff of the information media; and important public figures in El Salvador and outstanding international figures who have followed the conflict closely: without the cooperation of all these people it would have been impossible to penetrate the maze in which the truth often lay hidden.

This report would not have been possible without the collaboration of the interdisciplinary group of professionals from around the world who, under the direction of Ms. Patricia Valdez, for eight months devoted themselves with professionalism, objectivity and dedication to the task of seeking, unravelling and, on more than a few occasions, unearthing the truth.