a picture of Oscar Romero

a picture of Oscar Romero

On March 24th in the year 1980 in the city of San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero was caught in the middle of a civil war. Left-wing guerilla groups were tired of the governmental system and the way that peasant farmers were being treated. Big businesses and the military, backed by the United States, were doing everything possible to try to squelch the rebellion.

Assassinating Oscar

But Oscar spoke out against the violence in the civil war on both sides. He first received a death threat from the president, Colonel Arturo Molina who said that, “cassocks are not bulletproof.” Every Sunday, Oscar’s sermon preached on the radio, everyone across the country would listen to find out what he was going to say next. The day before his death, Oscar said, “Before any order given by a man, the law of God must prevail; ‘You shall not kill!’” Oscar said this to the military, even though he knew that doing so made him an easy target. Just two weeks before this, explosives were near the pulpit he preached at.

The evening after his speech to implore the military not to fight, Oscar was speaking at Divina Providencia Hospital. They left the doors open because it was hot inside. A red VW Passsat pulled up outside and a thin bearded man lifted an assault rifle and fired it. The bullet flew over a hundred feet and hit Oscar directly in the heart.


A few months later, the military raided a farm just outside the capital. Twenty people arrested. One of them was Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, who a lot of people think was behind the assassination of Oscar. Several weapons and documents taken by the government in the raid connected the people arrested to Oscar’s murder. Including a paper called Operation Pineapple, believed to be the code name for Oscar’s assassination. The paper included a list of things needed to be carried out to successfully kill Oscar, such as a driver, four strong security guards, and a sniper. The driver was named Amando Garay and the sniper was thought to have been a man named Oscar Perez Linares, who was paid two hundred dollars to fire at Oscar and kill him.

Threats and Pressure

A lot of terrorists threats and the pressure led to all of the people arrested released from police custody. No other charges were brought against them or anyone else for Oscar’s assassination. Following that, Major Roberto went on to become one of the country’s leading politicians and in 1984, he was defeated in his attempt to become president.

Everyone believed that a man named Captain Saravia organized the whole plot to assassinate Oscar. In 2003, the center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco, also called the CJA, filed a civil lawsuit against Captain Saravia, who was living in the US at the time. But Saravia never responded and today, he is still on the United States Immigration’s most wanted list. Many people believe he has gone into hiding and don’t know if or when he will ever surface.