Massacre Survivor Meets Parents
By The Associated Press
CASERIO LA CANOA,
El Salvador (AP) -- Most believed that the
6-year-old boy had been massacred by the army along with a thousand
other peasants in 1981, at the start of El Salvador's 12-year civil war.
later, Jose Martinez, now 25, has been reunited with his
parents after an exhaustive investigation by the Association to Support
the Search for Children, an organization dedicated to finding children
who disappeared during the war.
He was saved
and later adopted by one of the soldiers who attacked the
village of Los Angueta, in the eastern province of Morazan.
a report from the Catholic Church's human rights office,
more than 1,000 peasants were gunned down and the victims were
buried in common graves during the massacre, which took place from
December 11-13, 1981.
God, who took care of you so well,'' exclaimed Martinez's
father, Jose Cenobio Guevara, as he hugged and kissed his son during
the reunion Sunday in the small town of La Canoa, 50 miles southeast of
the capital, San Salvador.
the war had snatched him from us, but he is alive, thank
God and the heroic soldier who protected him,'' Guevara said.
Manuel Ortega Hernandez, protected the boy during the
three-day military operation of U.S.-trained Salvadoran soldiers, and
later adopted him.
with Ortega until 1990, when the ex-soldier went to live
with relatives in the United States. Martinez still lives and works as an
agriculture specialist in northern Chalatenango province where the family
``I thank him
because he saved my life and because I found my parents
again,'' said a sobbing Martinez, accompanied by his wife and two
``The first thing
he said to me was, `You are going to stay at my side. I'm
going to give up my life for you. If you die, I will die. God willing, you're
coming to my house,''' Martinez said.
Since 1995, the
Association to Support the Search for Children has
investigated 557 cases of children who disappeared in the Salvadoran
has located 90 children, more than 50 of whom were
adopted by families in the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, and
several European countries said the group's director, Father Jon Cortina.
on Monday asked congress to create a national
commission to help solve the 374 remaining cases.
During El Salvador's
12-year civil war, more than 75,000 people were
killed by soldiers and members of the rebel Farabundo Marti National
Liberation Front. Peace accords signed in 1992 ended the fighting.