Helion's El Salvador Vol.1

Author/Artists: David Francois


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 88 pages, softcover, approx 100 images
ISBN 978-1-804510-30-8

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of turmoil in Central America. Actually, it still is to some extent. It was a time when long running dictatorships were challenged by an increasing communist or socialist movement. Much of this was encouraged by the Soviet Union through their proxy; Cuba. It was felt by the revolutionaries that too much power was concentrated in a small number of people. To be specific those who owned most of the land and who controlled the politics of the nation.

Those of you who have studied much history will realize that this isn't something new. However, the struggle in Central America was quite widespread with the socialists/communists making some considerable ground. Nicaragua is a prime example of where this was the case. Now we come to El Salvador. It is typical of many of the surrounding nations. It has fairly rich land and was basically dependent on the sale of a single crop, in this case coffee. In order to maximize profits, land owners severely oppressed the peasants who worked the land, providing them the bare minimum. It didn't help that the national police force organized death squads to eliminate those who tried to speak out or rise against the status quo.

This as much as anything caused strikes and sabotage of infrastructure by a number of different groups. What really made the powers to be sweat was that these different groups got together to better coordinate their actions. Thanks to military assistance from the US, who, under Reagan, actively supported what they saw as anti-communist regimes, the government was able to maintain the upper hand. Though the rebellion had some small successes, there were not any large ones. At least not yet and that is where volume one ends.

This title covers the various operations against the groups trying to change the government from 1970 to 1983. For the opposition, this was a learning period and as time went on, they got better and better at what they did. Superbly written and full of great photos and maps as well a center section of profiles and other artwork, this book gives the reader an excellent look into what the subtitle calls 'crisis, coups, and uprising' in El Salvador during the time colvered. Highly recommended.

September 2023

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