Central America roundup 1981 - struggles against US imperialism

Government troops in El Salvador

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 12, September 1981

El Salvador

In its revolutionary war against the imperialist backed Junta, El Salvador's Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has further strengthened its military positions. The FMLN has divided the country into 4 fronts and is fighting Junta forces in 10 out of the country's 14 provinces. Operations against banks, business premises, railways and the armed forces have multiplied and in 15 areas the FMLN maintain their control with stationary divisions. An FMLN communique in August announced the failure of the Junta's offensive against revolutionary controlled provinces of Guazepa, Chalatenango and Cabanas.

The US backed regime's response has been to intensify terror and sadistic repression. The indiscriminate murder of workers and peasants continues unabated, while Junta soldiers are now tying babies on anthills to be eaten alive. In a tactic learnt from the US in Vietnam, the regime is forcing the population on the El Salvador/Honduras border into ‘strategic hamlets' — concentration camps — in an effort to isolate the FMLN from the people.

The FMLN, fully aware that the criminal Junta survives only because of massive US military aid, and fully aware that US imperialism will continue this aid, are preparing for a prolonged people's war. Their immediate aim is to consolidate and extend the popular army and FMLN controlled territory, to keep the Junta's forces in check and prepare for a nationwide popular insurrection.


The anti-imperialist war in Guatemala now equals in scope and intensity the war being fought in neighbouring El Salvador. An observer said of the guerrillas:

‘They are well beyond the niggling stage and in many areas they simply have the army on the run.'

US imperialism, to save its massive investments, is beginning to pump military aid to the puppet Garcia regime. But it faces a determined and highly effective guerrilla army. In 19 out of the country's 22 departments, the junta's forces are subject to devastating attacks by revolutionaries who are powerful enough to mount full scale frontal assaults on the Junta army. Since January this year the army has suffered over 1,000 casualties at the hands of the armed organisations of the masses, and is now in retreat in some of the most densely populated and economically important areas of the country. The Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP) has recently opened up two new war fronts, one directed against the plundering oil companies and their installations, the other against mining installations. With great frequency and regularity army garrisons are besieged and destroyed, banks and other commercial buildings blown up and bridges and communications sabotaged.

Before this onslaught, the Guatemalan junta is in retreat. Among the army's higher ranks corruption and demoralisation is rife, whilst in the lower ranks, Indian soldiers, subject to the same racism that the majority Indian population suffers, are increasingly practising fragging —lobbing fragmentation grenades into officers' messes. It is no surprise therefore that the Garcia regime is desperately appealing for huge military help from the US.

With or without US military assistance, the Guatemalan junta is watching its grave being dug by the revolutionaries, whose firm anti-imperialist and anti-racist struggle has won them the unbending support of the Guatemalan masses.

Grenada: United States plans for Caribbean

Terrified of the success of the revolutionary movement in El Salvador and Guatemala, and in an attempt to strangle the revolutionary governments in Cuba, Grenada and Nicaragua, the US Government is resorting to ever more open acts of aggression. It has adopted a ‘Marshall Plan for the Caribbean', based on its successful post World War 2 plan to bolster shaky capitalist governments in Europe and undermine the governments of socialist countries through a policy of selective 'aid'.

The new plan aims to blockade Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada and to give aid only to those regimes which support this predatory US policy. At the same time a special unit has been established in the State Department responsible for Caribbean affairs, recognising this as 'an area of supreme strategic importance'. Its chief is the man who previously headed the US task force to El Salvador. At his disposal will be the newly formed 'rapid deployment forces' including navy and air-force units stationed in Florida.

These threats have failed to daunt the revolutionary defiance of the people. At a celebratory meeting of their revolutions, Maurice Bishop, Prime Minister of Grenada, and Humberto Ortega, Commander-in-Chief of the People's Army of Nicaragua, challenged the US imperialists. Ortega declared:

‘Do you know what makes us really strong — us, Nicaragua and Grenada? The fact that ours are people's revolutions, revolutions with deep roots and great support among the people. Any enemy realises that it is crazy to invade a country like this —crazy, because the same thing could happen that happened to Napoleon's troops in Spain . . . The enemy would come up against the people, it will have a very hard time getting out. That is the problem.

'US imperialism and its NATO allies are at this very moment preparing to invade Grenada. Imperialist forces, involving 250 ships, 1,000 aircraft and 120,000 troops are engaged in a practice invasion in the island of Vieques near Puerto Rico. The People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada has stated this to be a ... practice run for a direct invasion of Grenada by US troops'.

And with good reason! Grenada like Vieques is an island. The exercise involves the invasion of a country called Amber and the replacement of its 'unfriendly' government by a pro-US one. The exercise takes place on the southern tip of Vieques. The district on the southern tip of Grenada is called Amber and the island of Vieques has mountainous terrain like Grenada. Imperialism, ever ready to try and strangle revolutionary governments, is now directing its monstrous forces against the smallest revolutionary government in the Caribbean and Central America. The New Jewel Movement of Grenada (NJM) has launched an international campaign to stop this latest imperialist aggression. FRFI was proud to participate in the picket organised by the NJM outside the US embassy on Thursday 27 August and urges all readers to respond to the appeals of the revolutionary government and people of Grenada.

Imperialist Hands off Grenada!


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