Erlinda Franco is the widow of Manuel Franco, one of six pro-democracy opposition leaders of the Frente Democrático Revolucionario (Democratic Revolutionary Front, or FDR) who were abducted from a Jesuit school in San Salvador on November 27, 1980, by members of Salvadoran security forces. They were later found murdered and their bodies showed obvious signs of torture. The assassinations were among the most gruesome and shocking incidents carried out by security forces during 1980, and led directly to the commencement of the full-scale civil war. The U.N. Commission on the Truth for El Salvador found that the FDR murders “outraged national and international public opinion and closed the door to any possibility of a negotiated solution to the political crisis at the end of 1980.”
Ana Patricia Chavez is the daughter of Humberto and Guillermina Chavez, members of the teachers union ANDES 21 de Junio. In July 1980, plainclothes gunmen murdered the couple in the family’s home in Ahuachapan, El Salvador. Ana Patricia was forced to watch the beating of her mother and listen to the shots that took her life. Ana now lives in California.
Francisco Calderon was a worker at a cigarette factory in September 1980 when, late one night, uniformed members of the National Police knocked on his door. As he opened the door, plainclothes gunmen grabbed him and forced him to the floor. Francisco’s father, Paco Calderon, a school principal and member of ANDES 21 de Junio, came to the door and told the men to let his son go. The men then tried to carry away Paco, and when they were unable to do so, they shot him in front of his son. Francisco now lives in California.
Cecilia Santos was a student at the National University and employee of the Salvadoran Ministry of Education when she was arrested in a shopping center in San Salvador in September 1980. Cecilia was held in the National Police headquarters for eight days and tortured repeatedly. She was never given adequate legal representation or a fair hearing, and remained in prison for three years. She fled to the United States in 1983 after being released under a general amnesty. Cecilia now lives in New York, where she is the director of the Centro Salvadoreño, an organization that encourages socioeconomic and cultural progress among Latino immigrant communities.
Daniel Alvarado was an engineering student in San Salvador. In 1983, while Daniel was watching a soccer game at a friend’s house, he was abducted by five men dressed in civilian clothes. He was taken to the headquarters of the Treasury Police, where he was tortured severely. In order to stop the torture, Daniel confessed to being involved in the assassination of U.S. military advisor Albert Schaufelberger. After a polygraph examination, U.S. officials correctly concluded that Daniel was not responsible in any way for the assassination and that he had only admitted to the killing in order to stop the torture.