Central America

There is indeed a “Nightmare in El Salvador” as the Times editorial (Dec. 27) indicates. After a respite, nightmarish killings are on the rise and threatening to get worse.

The editorial mentions that the Salvadoran army has been a complete bust. That is understandable for it is laced with graft and corruption; one thing it does is to make sweeps through poor areas, rounding up eligible young men for the army. Wealthy, young men don’t serve. One can understand why poor morale might result.

President Jose Napoleon Duarte is described as a visible, energetic leader. He is hardly that. Even before becoming a victim of incurable cancer, he has been well-meaning but ineffectual. He never could control the military elite nor far-right, wealthy landowners.

Both the extreme left and the extreme right should be condemned for their excessive violence, for they who suffer the most are the poor who live on the knife edge of poverty and despair and often lose their pitiful possessions and lives to the excesses of one side or the other.


President-elect George Bush must try to find some way to establish justice in this lonely, ravaged land. It won’t be easy, but if he seeks fairness in his dealings with both sides, then maybe it will be possible to find that peace, which has been so elusive.


Los Angeles