Salvador Rebels’ Political Unit Criticizes Cafe Attack

From a Times Staff Writer

In a rare public criticism of their military allies, civilian leaders of El Salvador’s leftist rebel organization have condemned last week’s guerrilla attack on a sidewalk cafe, which killed four U.S. Marine embassy guards and nine civilians.

The criticism was contained in a communique of the Popular Social Christian Movement, a part of the Revolutionary Democratic Front. Composed of dissident politicians, intellectuals, professionals and unionists, the Revolutionary Democratic Front is the diplomatic branch of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, the umbrella organization for five rebel combat groups fighting the Salvadoran government.

In telephone interviews Wednesday, Social Christian leaders in exile confirmed the authenticity of the communique, which appeared earlier this week in a San Salvador newspaper.

The communique said the attack violated principles of the Geneva conventions on warfare.


“The Popular Social Christian Movement condemns the terrorist actions committed . . . in the Zona Rosa of San Salvador, since in our judgment, besides violating the aforementioned conventions, they lack all justification and certainly contribute nothing to obtaining a just peace in the country,” it said.

“The important thing is--what seemed wrong to us--was attempting a military action in an area full of civilians,” said Ruben Zamora, general secretary of the Social Christians, by telephone from Costa Rica.

Jorge Villacorta, also a member of the Social Christian Movement, said the attack on the cafe “was out and out terrorism.” He added, “We have to be consistent in not endangering civilians.”

Responsibility for carrying out the attack was claimed by the Central American Workers Revolutionary Party, one of the combat groups under the Farabundo Marti umbrella.