Jose ""Chencho"" Alas was one of the first priests in El Salvador to found Christian Base Communities and sensitize campesinos along the lines of Medellin. This work was done in Suchitoto parish, which was subsequently hit hard during the armed conflict. Unfortunately, little has been written so far about this very important period in El Salvador. In his book, Chencho writes about historical events of great importance in which he took a direct part, such as the first Agrarian Reform Congress; the founding of the Monsignor Luis Chavez y Gonzalez School of Agriculture; protests against construction of the Cerron Grande Dam; the creation of the first coalition of grassroots organizations, the Unified Popular Action Front (FAPU); and the first occupation of the Metropolitan Cathedral. He recounts the conflicts he had with local and national authorities due to his defense of campesinos' rights, for which he was kidnapped and tortured. He also relates little-known details about the martyrs Father Rutilio Grande, Father Alfonso Navarro, and the beloved Monsignor Romero. He tells these stories with the characteristic humor of the Salvadoran people and with details only an eyewitness can remember. This makes for stimulating and enjoyable reading, besides helping readers better understand El Salvador's history, delving into the events of the 1970s, before the unfortunate armed conflict. ""As a young priest, Alas's heart went out to his suffering parishioners, poor farm families in need of land. Alas tackled the situation and soon found himself at odds with his country's powerful elite. He persisted even after a close brush with martyrdom. This intriguing memoir provides food for thought about faith and witness in times of turmoil and trouble."" --Emily Wade Will, author of Archbishop Oscar Romero: The Making of a Martyr ""This book brings to life Jose Inocencio 'Chencho' Alas, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and the priest and campesinos who were killed by the Death Squads, and gives an understanding of what lay at the foundation of their struggle for land reform and their recognition as human beings in the politics of their country."" --Gilbert Prudhomme, Treasurer and Director, The Foundation For Peace and Sustainability in MesoAmerica ""Land, Liberation, and Death Squads is crucial, engaging, and personal. It is crucial in providing readers a portrait of the embodied, daily-lived Catholicism of Cold War Central America, in putting a human face onto the paradigm of liberation theology. It is engaging in telling a dramatic and vital story of human struggle and persistence. And it is personal in bringing to the page the experiences of both Alas and his community."" --Ryne Clos, Researcher, University of Notre Dame Jose Inocencio ""Chencho"" Alas is Executive Director of Foundation for Sustainability and Peacemaking in Mesoamerica that covers the southern part of Mexico down to Panama. Born in El Salvador, he became a Catholic priest in 1959 after studying at the Gregorian University in Rome. He has dedicated his life to poor people, mainly the landless. Alas was a close friend of Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero. At the present time he is married and has three children.
Land, Liberation, and Death Squads
Hardback (06 Jan 2017)
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