For Foreign Policy.
This weekend celebrations from Coast to Coast are paying tribute to the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador. Because the Jesuits are on the front lines and cutting edge of bringing light to dark places they find themselves often between historical cross hairs of crucifiers and crucifixions.
Around 25 years ago there was a blazing civil war in El Salvador which can be simplified as follows: 13 powerful families dating back to 16th century conquistadors who owned all the land were fighting off peasant workers who were awakening to the fact that they were being horrendously exploited and eat dirt poor.
That would be none of the US' business you might think except for a few do gooding religious types who wanted to see that people didn't eat dirt.
However, this was at the end of the long 'Cold War' and Reagan was terrified the communism that took over Cuba was going to spread to Central America so it was expressly part of US foreign policy to provide official aid to the military of the establishment to keep order so the masses wouldn't revolt in some socialist uprising. The military was supported by the US with arms and US AID, and elections regularly rigged in latin and central america with the help of the CIA (directed by Bush, Sr. at one point Veep to Reagan). The military with our backing waged a brutal massacring slaughter of the peasant workers in El Salvador in a civil war that decimated huge portions of the population and wiped villages off the earth. Commonplace were torture, disappearances, mass graves, close to 100,000 dead and the worst human rights violations Amnesty International ever chronicled.
The US funded a School of the Americas- to train people in allegedly ostensibly fighting communism in Latin and Central America. We trained military leaders to fight to keep the established inequity and impoverishment in place to support our puppets.
It didn't end until 1992 after Clinton was elected and Democrats could not be relied upon for arms or USAID.
Prior to Clinton being elected, the military officially put a hit on the Jesuit intellectual priests who ran the University in El Salvador who were seen as spreading such silly notions as - exploitation isn't nice, fair treatment might be more Christian, and poor isn't something you have to really tolerate.
Six Jesuit Priest Professor intellectuals and/or University Administrators, along with their cook/housekeeper and her daughter were killed in cold blood. The Archbishop Romero was also assassinated and there is a cause for his sainthood pending at the Vatican.
The generals who put the hit out were trained by the School of the Americas faculty. Some of those guys are living in luxury in retirement in Florida. Not Kidding. Jeb Bush country. One of them has a deportation on appeal apparently.
Elections in the US matter. They matter for the entire region in a direct way and the entire world obviously.
From Saint Isaac Joques to the El Salvadoran Martyrs, the soil of the Americas is infused with the blood of Jesuits who died to proclaim the Good News to the Poor, and set the Oppressed Free. So this weekend Hug a Jesuit and say Thank You.