An Open Letter to President Reagan

Dear Mr. President,

The policies you are pursuing in El Salvador and throughout Central America are putting you on a collision course with many of us in the churches. If you continue, we promise you our opposition.

The brutality in El Salvador is grotesque. As I write you this letter, I'm watching a former Salvadoran government official tell CBS News of a visit to the morgue with a friend going to pick up the body of his daughter who had disappeared two days earlier. The grief-stricken father was puzzled that his daughter looked pregnant. Lifting the sheet covering her body, he discovered that she had been slit open and her boyfriend's head stuck in her stomach.

I have heard before of such atrocities committed by the military security forces and the death squads in El Salvador, of how pregnant women have the fetuses cut out of their wombs and replaced with the heads of their murdered husbands. It is very difficult to speak, let alone write, of such things. But the awful stories must be told.

The violence we are witnessing in El Salvador is a picture of the demonic. Amnesty International reports and documents the systematic repression of human rights, torture and murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children by the military security forces of El Salvador. The brutal rape and murder last year of four religious women from the United States brought to public attention what has happened to tens of thousands of Salvadorans. Amnesty International, the testimony of the church, and many other eyewitnesses all say the pattern of military repression and terror is continuing. Your administration's claim that the human rights situation has improved is a self-serving lie without a shred of supporting evidence.

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