VIOLENCE IN EL SALVADOR - BRIEFING FOR SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE - (TR

Created: 12/8/1981

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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BRIEFING FOB SEKATEM RELATIONS COMMITTEE

VIOLENCE IN EL SALVADOR

THE SUBJECT OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN EL SALVADOR IMPACTS DIRECTLY ON THE CREDIBILITY OF THI GOVERNMENT AND THE ELECTORAL PROCESS. APART FROM DEATHS DUE TO ACTUAL COMBAT, THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE HAS DIMINISHED SOMEWHAT SINCE SEPTEMBER AND IS CON-SIDKRABLY LOWER THAN THE LEVEL OPST YEAR AT THIS TIME. THE GOVERNMENT IS MORE CONSCIOUS OP THE DAMAGE DONE TO ITS IMAGE BY CONTINUED VIOLENCE AND MEDIA REPORTS OF ATROCITIES, AND HASNOT VERYCONTROL IT.

Thme ate several categories of violence which should be recognised.

There Is, for exuple, that sectarian violence by the eitreme right and leftj there If official government violencei anarchic violence and banditry bynd the normsl domestic violence that hss always plagued El Salvador.

Groups sympathetic to or silled with the insurgentthe Cstholic Legal Aid Society, the Selvsdoran Hunan Rights ommission, and the mothers of Political Prisoners and Victimsto inflate the death toll figures to where the world msdls routinely repeats numbers ranging00 deaths since It

is often alleged that ths junta Is responsible forf this total.

best estimate of ths totsl number of deaths due to violence in El Salvador for the pest two years would be

his figure Includes all bsttleflsld deaths and non-political desths of which there may be.

Of0 or so deaths, ye feel are politicslly Inspired,re attrlbotable to right-wing terrorist end vigilante groups,re due to left-wing violence,o official government police end military

Thesenecessarilyreflect our concerted effort to analyse quantitative and qualitative date over the past two years.

"pprowed tor Rsieaio

hatih civilian and military elements or the government have lieen increacinqforts to curb official violence and rtqht-wiwi vigilante violence.

The military hiqh command has nlepped up disciplinary measures against officers and enlistnd personnel known to be

involved in crialnal abuses of authority! although cost militarythere aremerely been transferred or discharged during the paat two yeara (or these actions, more recently we aee same Instances where the moot serious offenders are tried before military criminal courts.

There areew instances where civilian right-wing terrorists have been identified and arrented by the police lor their activities.

Indicate that the level of both official abuses and right-wing terrorist operations has declined, but we are unable to monitor this more prociaely.

Huch of the continued violence by military personnel and right-wing terroristt, however, reaalna beyond the knoweldge and control of aenior military officials.

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