Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador

[ Latin American Studies ]

Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador

A Memoir of Guerrilla Radio

By Carlos Henriquez Consalvi ("Santiago")

Translated by Charles Leo Nagle V with A. L. (Bill) Prince

Introduction by Erik Ching

A riveting account of the 1980s civil war in El Salvador from the rebels' point of view, written by the man who directed the main news outlet for the guerrilla organization that challenged the Salvadoran government.



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6 x 9 | 293 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-72895-0

During the 1980s war in El Salvador, Radio Venceremos was the main news outlet for the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), the guerrilla organization that challenged the government. The broadcast provided a vital link between combatants in the mountains and the outside world, as well as an alternative to mainstream media reporting. In this first-person account, "Santiago," the legend behind Radio Venceremos, tells the story of the early years of that conflict, a rebellion of poor peasants against the Salvadoran government and its benefactor, the United States.

Originally published as La Terquedad del Izote, this memoir also addresses the broader story of a nationwide rebellion and its international context, particularly the intensifying Cold War and heavy U.S. involvement in it under President Reagan. By the war's end in 1992, more than 75,000 were dead and 350,000 wounded—in a country the size of Massachusetts. Although outnumbered and outfinanced, the rebels fought the Salvadoran Army to a draw and brought enough bargaining power to the negotiating table to achieve some of their key objectives, including democratic reforms and an overhaul of the security forces.

Broadcasting the Civil War in El Salvador is a riveting account from the rebels' point of view that lends immediacy to the Salvadoran conflict. It should appeal to all who are interested in historic memory and human rights, U.S. policy toward Central America, and the role the media can play in wartime.

Map 1
Map 2
List of Acronyms
Introduction by Erik Ching

Tearing Your Heart Out
Off to War with a Priest
On the Way to El Escondido
Rafael: Morazán, a Strategic Project

January 1
January 2
The Sky Is Taken by Assault
The Resurrection of Altagracia
The Pain of Calixtro
The Massacre at Junquillo
Damn! La Guacamaya Never Gives Up!
Monsignor Romero in La Guacamaya
Calle Negra, Almost Certain Death
Villa del Rosario
El Zapotal
A North American in the War
Juan Ramón, from Bus to History
Eighty Devils Set Loose
The Torogoces Are Born
Alejandro Peluna’s Flying Mule
Chiyo and Pajarillo
Loving Marcela in the Midst of War Is Another War
Perquín, Road of Embers
The Fifth Front
Victorino, the Light Within
Operation Hammer and Anvil
Toni, Montalbo, and Javier
Monterrosa Captures Radio Venceremos
Radio Venceremos Goes to the Sea
Return to Morazán
The El Mozote Massacre

The Cave of Passions
The Fortress of Happiness
Hell in Poza Honda
The Battle of El Moscarrón
The Incredible Return of Colonel Castillo
Ana Guadalupe
Manlio, Your Guitar’s Beating
The First Prisoner Exchange
Freedom for Perquín
Lesbia and the Idols of Pensacola
Every Last One of Us Danced, Colonel
Rogelio’s Sense of Humor

Shutting Down Transportation
Oswaldo Escobar Velado
El Quinto Piso de la Alegría
Paty’s Memories
The Swearing In of the BRAZ
The Defeat of the Belloso Battalion
The Amatillo Bridge
La Antena Is Taken
Monterrosa and His War Trophies
Atilio and the Smell of Ink
Diana the Huntress, an Assassin Sent by the CIA
The Bells Toll for Carlos
Attack on the Third Brigade
El Pedrero
We Capture the Butcher
El Cheje, the Godfather
The Military School in San Fernando
General Command in Morazán
Morazán Has a Name: Commander Quincho

The Legend of El Chongue
The Colonels’ Logic
The Exchange of Colonel Castillo
The Trickster Is Tricked
Nolbo versus the Gringos
A Piece of Deerskin, and El Calihuate Is Reborn
A Stradivarius Violin
It Wasn’t the Siguanaba
Ana Lidia
The Carpenter Who Destroyed an Empire
A Meeting in La Palma
Operation Torola IV
To Die Like a Dog
The Gringos’ Man
The Trojan Horse
The Sword of Mars or the Mirror of Venus?
The Tenacity of the Izote

Epilogue, 1992
Epilogue, 2003
Epilogue, 2009


Carlos Henríquez Consalvi ("Santiago") is founder and director of the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Charles Nagle is a graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Bill Prince is Professor of Spanish and Erik Ching is Associate Professor of History at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.