Letter from López Vallecillos to Rafael Menjívar, 1 August 1969

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Letter from López Vallecillos to Rafael Menjívar, 1 August 1969


In this letter, López Vallecillos describes the wave of jingoism that has gripped El Salvador during its short war with Honduras in 1969. The war was provoked by Honduras's decision to expel thousands of Salvadorans who were living there, many of them impoverished farmers. The war coincided with a World Cup playoff between the two countries' national soccer teams in Mexico City; for that reason it was sometimes called the Soccer War, though it had little to do with soccer. In El Salvador, the conflict is referred to as "la guerra de las cien horas" (the 100 Hours War) and is remembered as a time of intense nationalistic feeling.

López Vallecillos is writing to the Salvadoran economist Rafael Menjívar, who was working at the U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America headquarters in Santiago, Chile, and was later the rector of El Salvador's national university.


Italo López Vallecillos


López Vallecillos Family Archive


1 August 1969






Personal letter

Text Item Type Metadata



Dear Rafael,

I received your most recent letter, in which you give your impressions about "Reforma Agraria" [written by Menjívar]. It has really gone over well. We have only just started to deliver the work to all the bookstores and newsstands throughout the country because in the last few weeks (as you can imagine) things have been rather gloomy in El Salvador. Our unexpected war against Honduras paralyzed cultural activities almost completely and even the commercial and industrial ones. It's been quite a tough time. The wave of nationalism and patriotism drowned out, for a moment, all reason, all analysis. The economic and social forces most at odds with each other suddenly found themselves agreeing on defending the country. Naturally this formal and emotional unity began to fall apart as soon as everyone learned of the final decisions at the recent meeting of foreign ministers in Washington. For the official sectors (the army, the oligarchy, PCN [the right-wing ruling party] and its allies and even the PDC, PPS and MNR [center-left opposition parties]) the question was settled successfully. For the left, the war was a military adventure promoted by the oligarchy to defend its interests, in particular the maintenance of the status quo regarding the Salvadoran population in Honduras. This point is the most important of the whole problem. The government claims to have gone to war to defend human rights, that is, to protect the 285,000 Salvadorans living in Honduras, who have been victims of all kinds of outrages. The question on everyone's mind is whether the guarantees given by the OAS will be sufficient to guarantee the lives and property of our compatriots in Honduras. The other issue is whether, after the war, there will be more hatred between the two peoples, which would wreck any moral or legal guarantees given by the OAS or the government of Honduras. Draw your own conclusions.



ILV to Menjivar III.pdf



Italo López Vallecillos, “Letter from López Vallecillos to Rafael Menjívar, 1 August 1969,” Italo López Vallecillos, Editor to the Revolution, accessed May 21, 2024, https://rogeratwood.georgetown.domains/items/show/18.

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