Hi, everyone. Some background on me, I am from San Salvador and was able to immigrate to the United States when I was 18. Here is me now https://m.imgur.com/CNNXS9g

Here is me in good times http://i.imgur.com/LcE6t5m.jpg

This is relating to my daughter requesting I do this AMA in this post.

https://m.reddit.com/r/AMEA/comments/3cbzro/would_anybody_be_interested_in_someone_who_lived/

She is relaying questions to me.

Ask me anything!

Comments: 48 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

reysalvador6 karma

Dad says " he feels lucky because he knows he was close to the violence. But compared to what other people went through, it was dramatic but it was not as traumatic as what other people went through"

chaunceyvonfontleroy6 karma

Have you seen the movie Voces Inocentes? If so, what are your thoughts on the accuracy and how it portrayed the recruitment of child soldiers?

What is your opinion of the School of the Americas?

reysalvador6 karma

I haven't seen the movie although I would like to. So I haven't formed an opinion yet. If you have more information on where I can see it let me know.

In general though, on the subject of child soldiers. Yes, that is something that took place in El Salvador during the war. To the point that I was worried I might be drafted to the army or by the guerillas. That was a distinct possibility for any young man at that time.

I'm barely familiar with the school of the Americas but in the case of the war I know that there were military staff that were trained by American advisors and abused their power.

Specifically there was a battalion called the Atlacat batallion that were train by American advisors and committed tremendous atrocities.

piercet_3dPrint4 karma

Did you see anything that contradicts the official historical account of how things went down?

reysalvador9 karma

I don't know if this is the right answer. But in the case of any conflict like this, there will always be contradicting reports from one side or the other about things that took place. It's just a matter of being, uhhh, not being careful really but like vigilant. Really being attentive to the sources from which you get information from.

At the beginning of the war, before the full blown war there were a lot of protests in San Salvador and the government would ALWAYS underreport the people who were shot to death or wounded by government forces. During the war the leftists would often exaggerate the number of soldiers killed in a battle to ramp up support for their cause. To give the impression that they were always the winners.

Reporting from the government or guerillas was not the most reliable information to go on.

piercet_3dPrint2 karma

Interesting, thank you!

reysalvador6 karma

You are welcome!

Leopatto3 karma

I was interested in the Salvadoran civil war that happened and I was just reading about it on Wikipedia.

My question is, have you seen from first-hand experience any atrocities and/or violations of human rights that have occurred during the war?

I know it may be perhaps sensitive question, and you may not want to answer it, but first-hand experience would certainly be welcome!

reysalvador6 karma

Wow, what a question. I was not a first hand witness I would say . I did know of Catholic priests who were murdered for speaking out. I had friends in high school who were murdered in their homes in the middle of the night by para military forces.

I know for myself had to lay for hours on the ground in my home with my family while an all out battle took place in my neighborhood.

If you are really interested in digging up more information on human rights violations during the civil war I recommend a book called "El Mozate Massacre" it is a sad but well written book about human rights violations in El Salvador.
Thank you for your question.

bit_too_far3 karma

What's your best memory from living in El Salvador?

reysalvador9 karma

Probably going to the beach and eating pupusas. Pupusas is typical food from El Salvador. The name of the beach was El Tamarindo about an hour and half from the capital.

bit_too_far3 karma

Thanks for the response! What a beautiful beach.

reysalvador7 karma

Thank you! (He wondered out loud to himself if maybe you had ever been) :)

Pichus_Wrath3 karma

How hard was it to get out of the country? Was it easy for ordinary citizens to emigrate to the US, or did you have to know somebody or have connections of some type?

reysalvador7 karma

It was VERY difficult, not withstanding the violence. It was not easy getting getting a visa here, at least legally. We were lucky because at least my mother had been in the states since the 70's. Even though my parents were divorced they were able to mutually decide that it was time for me to come to the United States. For us, compared to other families it much easier, which we are thankful for.

Pichus_Wrath3 karma

So what was the actual process like. How do you even begin the process of emigrating when you live in a country actively at war.

Also - how do you feel about the involvement of the US in Latin America in the 1970's and 1980's?

reysalvador3 karma

Well the American embassy was still conducting business in the middle of the war. Like providing visas, checking your legal status to make sure you were eligible to be a resident in the USA.

Being a refugee is a more difficult process, you have to prove you are in eminent danger of being killed or murdered. This is a more difficult process than we went through. But I know people who did this during the war.

The question of US involvement cannot be answered so easily. I think most of the policies were well intended and up to a point had some success but there were some policies that got carried away and did more damage than good. The fear of communists shaped some of those policies to the point that it contributed to the overall violence.

RoosterSamurai3 karma

Which side were you supportive of?

reysalvador14 karma

I sympathized with some of the ideas that the leftist group (guerillas) had but I thought they were going about it the wrong way. I always thought violence just creates more violence.

RoosterSamurai3 karma

What do you think about the events currently taking place in Venezuela? And does it maybe seem a little familiar?

reysalvador6 karma

I think the problems in Venezuela are more derived from a more economical situation. The problems in El Salvador were political. It had an economic origin in El Salvador. But they were different because Venezuela is a economic situation that is in danger of exploding to a violent situation. But for now I do not think it has reached the level of violence in El Salvador in the mid eighties.

Wamoz562 karma

At the time, were you aware of the extent to which the US was exacerbating the violence? How was the role of the US understood?

reysalvador3 karma

The average citizen knew about their involvement. It was common knowledge the USA was training the military and contributing large amounts of money on a monthly basis.

darrenfx2 karma

What was the atmosphere of the country like after many assassinations of various priests and other members of the church, especially Óscar Romero?

reysalvador7 karma

Pretty much after the assassinations things went from bad to worse. Full blown war was initiated after the assassinations . Romero was basically the mouth piece of the pope for El Salvador. To some people he was untouchable, when he was killed everyone knew that anyone was fair game. If someone could kill him that meant that there were some people who had no respect for life at all.

KaiserCanton2 karma

Have you ever been back to El Salvador since you left?

reysalvador7 karma

Yes, I went back in 1987 to visit my family and friends. The war at that point was about over for all intents and purposes. It really wasn't safe either, but it began the chapter of gangs ruling the country that we can see today.

Pichus_Wrath2 karma

How do the gangs or the gang violence influence the lives of your family still in El Salvador today?

reysalvador6 karma

Ummm...it makes it difficult in terms of safety to carry on daily activities. People might leave for work and you're not sure if they'll come back. It's a difference kind of violence. It's criminal not political. But dangerous all the same.

reysalvador2 karma

Hello, friends. Op here. It is late in the night and I have to be at work in the morning. Feel free to leave me more questions if you would like and I will see about answering them tomorrow evening. Be well!

donaldfranklinhornii2 karma

What do you think about the foreign involvement in your country's affairs? Did it make the situation worse for ordinary citizens?

reysalvador8 karma

Most certainly! It was the cause of most suffering and murder I would say. I myself as a child saw dead bodies in the streets. I had friends who were killed either by mistake or by the general state of war. Foreign involvement exacerbated the problem.

Gentleman_Retard1 karma

How do you feel about being in the golden age of pornography?

reysalvador6 karma

My dad says "what is this question???"