El Salvador. Volume 1: Crisis, Coup and Uprising 1970-1983

Published on
July 19, 2023
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Francois
Other Publication Information
88 Pages, 8.25 x 11.7 in, 1 b/w illustration, 101 b/w photos, 19 color profiles, 3 maps, 3 tables
Product / Stock #
Latin America@War Vol. 32
Company: Helion & Company - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site

The book is from The Latin America at War series volume 32, and is the first volume of the history of El Salvador from 1970 through 1983. The book is divided into 8 main areas with an Introduction, set of abbreviations, Conclusion, Select Bibliography and a small information about the author.

The section dealing with the Bibliography gives you the name of the principal political, military and groups involved in the struggle. The names/abbreviations are given first in Spanish and then in English. This section is important to the book and one that the reader will continuously be checking during the reading of the book. The Introduction then provides you with the reasons for the book

The first chapter introduces you to El Salvador history from colonial times through Independence, as well as the several wars with neighbors, political struggles and the formation of the left wings groups and The Catholic Church was opposed to the government in the 1970's. The second chapter starts with great hopes as the Junta Revolucionaria del Gobierno (JRG), that was comprised of progressive soldiers taking the reins of the government in 1979. In the end the JRG chooses the military option and thus the opposition begins. The opposition was divided at one time, but once the JRG chooses the military option it becomes united against a common enemy.

The third chapter compares the two forces in the struggle for control of the country. The forces/groups competing for control; are the FMLN or Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional. This group was under the direction of the DRU or Direccion Revolucionaria Unificada, and the FAES or Fuerzas Armadas de El Salvador. The chapter talks about the formation of the FMLN, as well its crisis due to poor/lack of weapons. At the same time, it lets us know that the FAES had problems as well. The chapter continues with a short history of the El Salvador Air Force, the Security Forces, talks about the Death Squads, the U.S. military aid and ends talking about 2 military operations running from 10/1980 through 1/81.

Chapter Four touches several offensives that took place during 1981. The author starts with the offensive in the capital of the country and then goes to explain the offensives at Sta. Ana, Chalatenango, Zacatecoluca, S. Vincente, the Moraza Dept., as well as other offensives through the country. The chapter ends with the results of these offensives.Chapter five brings us to the resistance to the FMLN tarting with the help provided to the Salvadorean governement by the U. S governement. Other aspects of the conflict, such as the battles fought during this time are described. This chapter is the longest in the book.

The sixth chapter describes the response of the guerilla to the government attacks. It Stars with the sabotage campaign conducted by the guerillas and the several battles fought from January, 1982 through September, 1982. The chapter describes the 1982 elections and the goal of the same. In chapter seven, the author describes the rise of the FMLN from September, 1982 through May, 1983. He also describes the rise and transformation of the guerillas forces during this period. The chapter ends with a description of the events that took place between January, 1983 through May, 1083.

The last chapter talks about the FAES almost being defeated by the guerillas and how the diminishing of help from Cuba, Russia and threats from the US Government made impossible a quick victory for the guerillas. The chapter provides us with the description of the military successes of the FMLN during this face of the conflict and runs between September, 1983 through December, 1983. The chapter ends with the changes/mutation of the FAES. The book ends with the conclusions of the facet of the conflict. Following the conclusions you will find the Bibliography, as well as notes related to the book.

I enjoyed the book as it provides more information, at least to me, in regards to this conflict in Latin America. My only concern was that there was very little about the colonization of the country by the Spaniards and the problems started by it. In addition, there is very little information in regards to Farabundo Marti Rodriguez, an individual who became the rallying point for many of the revolutionary leaders of this conflict. Regardless, I will recommend this book to those who are interested in the history of Latin America and the conflicts within the area.

My thanks to Casemate Publishers for allowing me to review this book I hope to be able to also review Volume 2 of this conflict.


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