The War of the Dispossessed: Honduras and El Salvador, 1969

The War of the Dispossessed: Honduras and El Salvador, 1969

The War of the Dispossessed: Honduras and El Salvador, 1969

The War of the Dispossessed: Honduras and El Salvador, 1969

Excerpt

The origin of this work lies in the fact that I was in El Salvador, writing a study of the 1932 uprising, when the 1969 war with Honduras broke out. Having connections with the Salvadorean army, I was invited to go into occupied Honduras as an "observer." This memorable experience impressed upon me the suffering of the poor folk caught up in this disaster, Hondurans and Salvadoreans alike. I began to see that neither side was blameless in bringing about the war, nor was there any one villain one could point to as being responsible.

Although I resolved in 1969 that I would write on the war, it was some time before the opportunity arose. The research began in 1977 and went on through the summer of 1979. I was delighted with the open and friendly response which I met in the foreign ministries of both countries. The archives, including many classified documents never before used in any study of the war, were opened to me. In both ministries I was provided with a private room in which to work and plied with such attentions as endless cups of coffee and even an occasional sandwich. Despite the earnest desire of both sides to be of assistance, I soon discovered the difficulty of archival research in Central America. Hardly any of the documents had been cataloged, and few were bound. The trivial and the important were heaped together, making it necessary to plow through great masses of paper. This is not said as a reproach to either ministry nor to excuse any errors, for which I take total responsibility. Their budgets are small and their staff few, and they are, of course, much more concerned with the day-to-day workings of diplomacy than with what some researcher might want to find out about past events.

Therefore I should like to express my thanks to Pablo Pineda Madrid and his staff in Tegucigalpa, and to Arturo Castrillo Hidalgo and his staff in San Salvador, as well as to Chan-

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