The Long War: Dictatorship and Revolution in El Salvador

By James Dunkerley | Go to book overview

2
THE CRISIS OF THE 1930s

We'd like this race of the plague to be exterminated . . . It is necessary for the government to use a strong hand. They did it right in North America . . . by shooting them in the first place before they could impede the progress of the nation.

A ladino from Juayúa, spring 19321

Bolshevism? It's drifting in. The working people hold meetings on Sundays and get very excited. They say, 'we dig the holes for the trees, we clean the weeds, we prune the trees, we pick the coffee. Who earns the money then?' . . . Yes, there will be trouble one of these days.

Hacendado James Hill, 19252

Soldiers: break the barracks discipline imposed on you by the bourgeoisie through their representatives, the officers! Assert the right to elect your own chiefs, to name common soldiers from the ranks! Place yourselves at the orders of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party which at the impending hour of triumph will distribute the lands andfincas of the rich among you and your brothers of the country! Workers of the World Arise!

Communist Party handbill, January 19323

The impact upon Central America of the crash of 1929 and the years of acute depression that followed should be seen against the background not only of the consolidation of the agro-exporting oligarchies but also the rise to economic and political domination of the region by the US. Of all the countries in the Caribbean and Central America, El Salvador was perhaps the least directly affected by this, but it nevertheless registered many of the consequences of the new imperialist mandate.

Although the US had historically claimed Latin America to be its legitimate sphere of interest from the days of the Monroe Doctrine

-15-

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The Long War: Dictatorship and Revolution in El Salvador
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Rise of the Oligarchy 7
  • 2 - The Crisis of the 1930s 15
  • 3 - Militarism Readjusted 32
  • 4 - The Failure to Modernise 45
  • 5 - 'Repression with Reforms' 72
  • 6 - The Rise of the Left 87
  • 7 - The Model in Crisis: from Molina to Romero 103
  • 8 - The Impact of Nicaragua 119
  • 9 - Revolution and Reaction 132
  • 10 - Civil War 162
  • Conclusion 206
  • Notes 215
  • Select Bibliography 231
  • Appendix One - Chronology 236
  • Appendix Two - The Landed Oligarchy 241
  • Appendix Three - Glossary of Major Contemporary Organisations 245
  • Appendix Four - The Organisation of the Opposition 249
  • Appendix Five - Protecting Civilisation 251
  • Index 257
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