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Stories of Civil War in El SalvadorA Battle over Memory$
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Erik Ching

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628660

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628660.001.0001

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The Reckoning

The Reckoning

Guerrilla Comandantes during and after the Civil War

(p.162) 5 The Reckoning
Stories of Civil War in El Salvador

Erik Ching

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter continues the coverage of the guerrilla-commander (comandante) memory community after 1980/81. The narrators adhere to a rigid chronological division: 1981-1983; 1984-1989; 1989; and 1989 to the present. These divisions correspond to the rising and falling of the guerrillas’ fortunes. The first period is a time of guerrilla ascendency, when the guerrillas gain nominal control over 25% of Salvadoran territory. The second period is a time of guerrilla contraction in the face of the army’s improved capacity. The guerrillas downsize their fighting units and resort to a “war of attrition” rather than a “war of position.” The third period, 1989, is a resurgent moment. The guerrillas launch a nation-wide offensive and force the government to the bargaining table. The fourth period, after 1989, covers the peace accords and the new post-war era. The comandantes strike an optimistic tone about the war’s outcome, thereby justifying their leadership in it.

Keywords:   Guerrilla Commander, Comandante, Guerrilla Ascendency, War of Position, War of Attrition, Final Offensive, Peace Accords, Post-War Era

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