13 Pages

Other People's Blood

WithRobert S. Kahn

The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) offensive launched in November 1989 failed to capture one major objective- the air force base at Ilopango airfield. The Salvadoran air force was therefore able to bomb and strafe residential neighborhoods occupied by the guerrilla throughout the two-week offensive. The government banned radio broadcasts nationwide and announced a state of siege. The US embassy confirmed at least 339 dead. Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan and Bush administrations defended their treatment of Salvadoran refugees by invoking the enormity of the immigration pressure on the southern US border. As violence drove refugees from a region far bigger than Central America, Western Europe faced a refugee crisis much greater than the United States in the 1980s. The refugee policies of most Western nations, including Europe and the United States, are based on definitions and protocols established after World War II in the Geneva Conventions.