The 1989 University of Central America Massacre

The 1989 University of Central America Massacre

“Sources at the [SOA] say that when…soldiers go through the urban-combat exercise with blanks in their weapons, half the time the village priest (played by a U.S. Army chaplain) is killed or roughed up.”
–Newsweek Magazine, August 9, 1993


“Many of the critics [of the SOA] supported Marxism — Liberation Theology — ;which was defeated with the assistance of the U.S. Army.”
– United States Army School of the Americas web page, June, 1999

On the night of November 16, 1989, a Salvadoran Army patrol entered the University of Central America in San Salvador and massacred six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter. Nineteen of the military officers cited for this atrocity have received training at the US Army School of the Americas.

Martyrs of the University of Central America


    • Ignacio Ellacuria, rector of the University and an outspoken critic of the Army
    • Ignacio Martin Baro, who studied the effects of war on the human psyche
    • Segundo Montes, a strong advocate for refugees and human rights
    • Amano Lopez, a gifted counselor and pastoral worker
    • Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, director of an education program in poor communities
    • Juan Ramon Moreno, a gifted preacher and retreat leader
    • Elba Ramos, the Jesuits’ housekeeper, remembered as sensitive and intuitive
    • Celina Ramos, Elba’s 14-year-old daughter who had worked as a catechist


SOA Graduates that Participated in, Planned, or Covered-up the Massacre

    • 1LT Yusshy Rene Mendoza Vallecillos, 1988, Commando Operation Course
    • CPL Angel Perez Vasquez, 1987, Small Unit Training and Management
    • 1LT Jose R. Espinoza Guerra, 1982, Spanish Officer Cadet Course
    • 1LT Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos, 1988, El Salvador Cadet Course
    • COL Carlos Armando Aviles Buitrago, 1968, Cadet Course
    • GEN Juan Rafael Bustillo, 1965, Counterinsurgency Orientation
    • COL Francisco Elena Fuentes, 1985-1986, Guest Instructor; 1973, Officer Supply
    • 1LT Francisco M. Gallardo Mata, 1992, Combat Operations; 1990, Combat Arms
    • LTC Carlos Camillio Hernandez Barahona, 1972, Combat Arms
    • 1LT Ramon E. Lopez Larios, 1992, Combat Arms; 1988, Infantry Officer
    • 1LT Rene Roberto Lopez Morales, 1990, Combined Officer Advanced Course; 1988, Commando Operations Course; 1987, Combat Arms Officer Course
    • COL Inocente Orlando Montano, 1970, Engineer Officer Course
    • GEN Juan Orlando Zepeda, 1975, Urban Counterinsurgency Ops.; 1969, Unnamed
    • 1LT Mario Arevalo Melendez, 1989, Commando Operations Course
    • CPT Jose Fuentes Rodas, 1986, Combat Arms Officer Course; 1980, Cadet Orientation
    • SGT Antonio Ramiro Avalos Vargas, 1988, Small Unit Training and Management
    • 1LT Jose V. Hernandez Ayala, 1991, Combat Arms Officer Course
    • 1LT Edgar Santiago Martinez Marroquin, 1991, Combat Arms Officer Course
    • COL Nelson Lopez y Lopez, 1968, Cadet Course
    • COL Manuel Antonio Rivas Mejia, 1975, Urban Counterinsurgency Ops.;1970, Cadet
  • GEN Gilberto Rubio, 1976, Logistics Management Course,1971, Tactical Officer Cadet