On January 29, 2020, the U.S. State Department sanctioned 13 former Salvadoran military officers for the 1989 murders of the Jesuit priests.
Ranging “in rank from general to private, [the following men] were involved in the planning and execution of the extrajudicial killings of six Jesuit priests and two others taking refuge at the Jesuit pastoral center on November 16, 1989 on the campus of Central American University in El Salvador:” Juan Rafael Bustillo, Juan Orlando Zepeda, Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, Francisco Elena Fuentes, Guillermo Alfredo Benavides Moreno, Yusshy René Mendoza Vallecillos, José Ricardo Espinoza Guerra, Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos, Carlos Camilo Hernández Barahona, Oscar Mariano Amaya Grimaldi, Antonio Ramiro Avalos Vargas, Angel Pérez Vásquez, and José Alberto Sierra Ascencio.”
Under a U.S. statute, these individuals “and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.”
The Department’s statement also said, “The United States condemns all human rights abuses that took place on both sides of the brutal civil war in El Salvador, including those committed by governmental and non-governmental parties.” The statement concluded:
- “The United States supports the ongoing accountability, reconciliation, and peace efforts in El Salvador. We value our ongoing working relationship with the Salvadoran Armed Forces, but will continue to use all available tools and authorities, as appropriate, to address human rights violations and abuses around the world no matter when they occurred or who perpetrated them. Today’s actions underscore our support for human rights and our commitment to promoting accountability for perpetrators and encouraging reconciliation and a just and lasting peace.”
Even though the sanction is not that significant, it was appropriate for the U.S. to do this.