Silencing memories| The Workers' Movement for Democracy in El Salvador, 1932 – 1963

by Claudia Annette Portillo

Institution: California State University, Los Angeles
Year: 2016
Keywords: Latin American history; Latin American studies
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2128872
Full text PDF: http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/#viewpdf?dispub=10141186


This thesis seeks to recover historical memory during El Salvador’s devastating anticommunist campaigns from 1932 to 1963. With El Salvador’s long history of repression against social movements, fear and even shame have silenced stories about the movement and its participants. In line with the current projects dedicated to social memory, this projects reconstructs the untold story of Felix Panameño, a local shoemaker and member of the Communist Party in the 1930s through his family’s memories. Shoemakers were key to the growing political consciousness of the time, as documented by Roque Dalton through the testimonial of shoemaker and survivor of the 1932 revolt, Miguel Mármol. Much of Panameño’s life and struggle transpired within key political moments from the persecutions of political activists that followed the 1932 revolt, known as “ La Matanza”, through the wave of repressive military dictatorships that conspired against political activist and democracy. These dictators imposed a tyranny that ultimately drove large numbers of Salvadorans to migrate to the U.S. beginning in the 1960s. Many of these immigrants, in turn, silenced their memories and depoliticized in exchange for a new beginning. Today, some of these memories are being rebuilt, giving insight to better understanding El Salvador’s past, as well as the present peoples’ struggle for democracy at home and those participating from abroad.