FROM MOLINA TO ROMERO
The new goveRNment . . . ought to promote intensive and extensive campaigns, using all the means of soCAIl communication, so that the people become more aware of the gravity of the situation and tuRN their backs on the false apostles of dissolution and organised crime. It would also be necessary to apply severe penalties to those implicated in subversive acts, and to treat campaigns of agitation just as if they were terrorist actions.
Professor Héctor Andino, El Diario Latino, 5 October 1977
You know, I believe some people are going to be surprised at the measures that my goveRNment will take.
General Carlos Humberto Romero, June 1977
Dubbed either fascist or fascistoide by the left, the Molina regime was the first in El Salvador since 1932 to face armed resistance; it responded in kind. Repression in the countryside escalated rapidly from 1974, with ORDEN taking a much higher profile in the offensive against the peasant unions. As in the towns, arrests and killings were not made on a general scale but were confined to selected activist leaders. 'Disappearances' became increasingly frequent and owed much to the right's appreCAItion of the methods used by the Chilean military after the coup of September 1973. When the guerrillas began to respond, ANEP and FARO, judging the activities of the offiCAIl repressive apparatus insufficient, combined to establish and fund independent right-wing terror squads. The first of these, set up in 1975, was the FALANGE (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacóibn Nacional - Guerra de Exterminació`n), which promised the extermination of 'all communists and their collaborators' and openly accepted responsibility for its killings, which in one week of October 1975 numbered 38. In 1976