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New Left Review I/122, July-August 1980


Harald Jung

Class Struggles in El Salvador

The military coup in El Salvador of October 15th 1979 provoked a new and remarkable twist in the bloody social conflicts which have wracked this Central American republic. The former dictator, General Humberto Romero, was replaced by a junta which proclaimed the need for sweeping reforms and which initially attracted the support of Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Communists. The most important groups of the armed revolutionary left maintained an attitude of watchful hostility towards the reformist junta, and in the days following the coup there were clashes in several working class districts around the capital between the army and the leftist guerrillas. It quickly became clear that the new government could not carry through its programme of reforms in most parts of the country and was unable either to suppress rightist terrorism directed at the popular forces, or even to control its own military and security apparatus. In December the Social Democrats and Communists withdrew support from the junta and in subsequent months some of the Christian Democrats have followed suit. On March 24th Archbishop Oscar

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