First Advisor

Castro, Obdulia

Second Advisor

Plumley, Byron


Regis College

Degree Name



Regis College Senior Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

132 pages


Shortly after midnight on November 16, 1989, troops from the Salvadoran military's elite Atlacatl battalion stole onto the campus of the University of Central America. The city of San Salvador was in total war by this point, the leftist guerrilla forces of the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional having launched their second "final offensive" five days before in a desperate, last-ditch effort to overthrow a military regime staunchly supported by the United States. The soldiers mulled around for a short while, setting off a grenade and damaging a number of vehicles in a parking lot near the pedestrian entrance at the south of campus. But they didn't waste much time in making their way to the and the adjacent Jesuit residence, where they proceeded to systematically massacre six priests of the UCA's Jesuit community, along with a domestic worker, Julia Elba Ramos, and her teenage daughter Celina. Julia Elba and Celina had sought refuge at the Jesuit residence as the violence of the civil war overtook the capital city. Ignacio Ellacuría "the rector of the UCA" and five other Jesuits were dragged into the garden outside the residence and forced to lie face down on the ground. Moments later the soldiers opened fire on the prostrate priests. Ellacuría's head was torn quite literally to pieces in the fusillade, and some Salvadorans today suspect that there was intended a certain sick symbolism in so destroying his brain. The killers wanted to make it clear that the great mind behind the UCA had been destroyed. Of the troops responsible for the massacre, several had been trained in the United States at the School of the Americas.

Date of Award

Spring 2008

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

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