Book Review: Enrique Alvarez Córdova

Enrique Alvarez Córdova:  Life of a Salvadoran Revolutionary and Gentleman

By John W. Lamperti (2006 McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers)

For more info, go here.  

By Gigi Gruenke

A well researched and written book about the president of the Frente Democrática Revolucionaria (FDR), a coalition of the democratic and revolutionary forces in El Salvador founded in 1980. 

This group hoped, as all the people at that time, for a brief revolution, change of government.  The military had in fact controlled the government of El Salvador for 50 years.  The hope was to place, finally, a people’s government in power.  The leadership of the FDR was working hard with all concerned for change ranging from the FMLN to the Catholic and National universities to set the stage, to prepare concretely for the new government.  Enrique Alvarez Córdova was tortured and assassinated with 5 other leaders in the FDR on November 27, 1980.  

Due to US stepped up aid and the willingness of the incoming Reagan Administration to look the other way with respect to the enormous repression, killings, taking place in El Salvador,  the “Final Offensive” of January 1981 didn’t dislodge the military government headed by a civilian,  José Napoleon Duarte.  The civil war lasted over 10 additional years.

This book traces that family of Enrique back to the 1850´s when his first ancestor came from Colombia.  As the family grew and became involved in growing coffee, entered the banking system and other businesses (becoming one of the most wealthy families in the country)  Lamperti uses this evolution to also trace the social, economic and political history of El Salvador.  For anyone interested in the issue of injustice in El Salvador and the struggles for change, this is an important book.

Gigi Gruenke is a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Usulután, a rural area east of the capital city of San Salvador. Her mission focuses on pastoral care and mental health counseling for many who are still suffering the aftermaths of years of civil war, civilian tortures and massacre.

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