SlUUhCS : Religious;| TIi-ii Tie" Iom1.N
&. Tfio Armed Forces helievo tliey haveattern of church-FMLN cooperation and links between guerrillas and religious workers.
Host churches arc very active helping poor and displaced civilians in conf1 idWe zones whore the distinction between civilians and combatants is often fuzzy. On numerous occasions--including during the recent FMLN urbanoften hid in churches, and, usually posing as civilians, sought reluge in church-run shelters.
International humanitarian aid workers told that various churches/ pace charitable contributions and food donations to known FMLN insurgents,
In lateeaid the Lutheran
Church coordinated the returnroup of Salvadoran refugees planning to participate ln the FMLN offensive,
that aaovember Baptist
Church members" were stockpiling food, medicines, and supplies for aurgery, which the
speculates may have been to support the FMLN during the pending urban offensive.
from churchos and church-affiliated
groups in some cases are aware their donations will reach Insurgent factions also often infiltrateor recruit individual clergy into raise funds for FMLN-control led projects. raises funds for itself by askingiven project factionhas a special relationship
rvpproved for Release3
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a particularoliticali ILiberation, letcivheityth'.*
Ai tiH'il If untin
tho Luthora* Church.
military antl civilian political loaders believesupport (or the FMLN io critical to thtol the insurgonts. The Jesuits in El Salvador areintellectual force on the loft and taught severalduring. Their teachings included lgnacio Ellacuria, former Rector of MCA and one ofJosuit priests slain most likely by members of theNovember, maintained close contact with Iheand once boasted that as manyCA alumni bolonged
wounded FMLN fighters were hiding out there.
The catholic church has played the most important political role of all the churches in El Salvador. Many government andofficials believe that the frequent attempts by Catholic leaders to mediate talks between the FMLN and the government have boosted the guerrillas' political legitimacy both domestically and abroad, catholic leaders in El Salvador also serve as intermediaries between the guerrillas and government officials, are known to meet privately with rebel leaders, and often work to expedite the evacuation of wounded insurgents or make other requests on their behalf. Moreover, many Salvadorans, especially the military, view anyri|yMhe government as tantamount to support for the FMLN. MM
The government is very sensitive to charges of persecution of religious workers, especially in the wake of international outrage over the arrest and deportation of foreign church workers in esult, president cristiani ordered that all searches of church property must be approved by tho Army High Command. Although no serious incidents have occurred since early in the offensive, relations between the churches and the security forces are likely to remain uneasy as the government continues to monitor closely church activities. Because the FMLN's November offensiveow level of popular support for the insurgents, the military probably is even more convinced, in our judgment, that foreign support, especially from religious andjimaanitarian organizations, is crucial to the FMLN's survival.Original document.