La Pájara Pinta, December 1968

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La Pájara Pinta, December 1968


This is issue no. 36 of La Pájara Pinta, an influential and pioneering literary and political journal that was published in San Salvador from 1966 to 1972. It featured poems and essays by left-wing authors, many of them in exile and others who later founded or joined anti-government guerrilla groups. Founded by López Vallecillos and the novelist Manlio Argueta, the journal had a shifting cast of editors in part to keep military authorities guessing about who was really in charge and in part because it was a genuinely collaborative effort. It was published at the national university, where López Vallecillos was director of the academic book publishing unit, Editorial Universitaria.

This third-anniversary issue is unusual for a few reasons. First, López Vallecillos included hand-written poems, instead of typeset texts as in all of La Pájara Pinta's other issues. Second, this issue was printed on a single, large, folded piece of paper, again unlike any other issue during the journal's seven years of publication, and recalling the pullout in The Beatles' White Album, which was released that year.

And third, and most importantly, this issue carried an unsigned editorial that declared the magazine's strong support for labor unions and left-wing causes that had been violently repressed that year by El Salvador's military government. The editorial signaled a new political direction to the magazine, which soon began to publish more openly revolutionary work until it was shut down by military authorities in 1972.


Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de El Salvador


Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de El Salvador


December 1, 1968







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Translation of the editorial on page 5:

On the Third Anniversary of La Pájara Pinta

We have reached the third anniversary of periodic flight, 36 issues that have shown the world how Salvadorans concerned about the country's cultural development think. In addition, readers in this country have come to know the new works of foreign creators and researchers.

To make a magazine in a time and place like ours is, from any point of view, difficult, especially if one is to maintain principles of quality in content and form. It brings us satisfaction to draw on the contributions of poets and writers of many generations, who have been prepared to take on their shoulders the expression of the problems of the world today, in the face of the atmosphere of hostility toward creative activity.

Official and private institutions, government officials and ordinary people look down on everything that has to do with literature and art. This fact owes to the prevailing "cultural provincialism" and "intellectual jungle" full of two-bit politicians always ready to judge and condemn the intellectual who shuns dogmatic rigidity, Manichaeism, and opportunism disguised as revolutionary radicalism.

The Salvadoran intellectual is aware of the unjust social structures of the country. He knows that the only road to solve the people's problems is popular and anti-imperialist revolution. As a political being, immersed in the medium of which he forms part, he is subject to pressures of all kinds. He is no more than the product of the society that tries to drown him, to destroy him. Perhaps because the writer is the living voice of that society, his word is fire and, why not say it once and for all, his status as artist-man, writer-man demands that he be the troubled conscience of his time.

With their works, testimonies and denunciations, the writer and the artist collaborate with the revolution. This is where they show themselves to be reactionary or progressive. That, of course, holds true if they conduct themselves honestly, with a vision of man and the world that goes beyond pseudo-revolutionary mechanicism.

La Pájara Pinta, magazine of new thought in El Salvador, on its third anniversary, reiterates its firm vocation in favor of building a thoroughly national culture of conscience; its animators are conscious of imperialist penetration and of the dangers of imitation or mere transplant of things foreign.

It is worth pointing out that culture workers share the blame and responsibility for the realities that must urgently be changed. But the important thing is to understand that, in the struggle, the meeting of thinking men is as important as the hand of those putting up posters, since both activities are part of the revolutionary duty, and of course both are subject to official repression. In many cases, artists and writers suffer more furious persecution, since they are considered "divisive and dangerous elements" even more than the political activist.

This issue of La Pájara Pinta is dedicated to an event of transcendental national importance: the general strike by school teachers from January to March 1968. This issue is thus a tribute to the educators joined in ANDES 21 de Junio [school teachers' union], who at that time bravely stood up to bad power, autocracy and the barbaric technocracy of the authorities in the Ministry of Education.

This is also a tribute to the workers who fell to the machineguns on that memorable day of protest.

The drawings, excellent, are by the national painter Carlos Cañas.


Pajara Pinta December 1968.pdf



Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de El Salvador, “La Pájara Pinta, December 1968,” Italo López Vallecillos, Editor to the Revolution, accessed June 15, 2024,

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