was an upsurge of extra-judicial killings in Central America
during the late 1970s, when government forces and right-wing
death squads in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador began
annihilating opposition groups and individuals by way of
kidnapping and assassination. My drawing was indirectly
inspired by the November 16, 1989, murder
of six Jesuit priests carried out by the Salvadoran
army. The priests, which included the rector and vice rector
of El Salvador’s esteemed Central American University, were
taken from their beds in an early morning army raid on a
home in the capital of San Salvador. They were brutally
tortured and then shot in the head. The priest’s home keeper
and her 15-year-old daughter were also viciously murdered
by the soldiers.
was so outraged by this bloody crime that I was moved to
create my drawing that same year - the work’s title alluding
to U.S. government complicity in arming, training, and financing
the very soldiers responsible for slaughtering the innocents.
But rather than depicting a well known case, I wanted to
memorialize the anonymous masses who had fallen victim to
the para-military death squads. We may never know the names
of all the victims of state sponsored torture and murder
in Central America - but we can work to assure that justice
will at last find their killers."
about the 2009 exhibit
this work was featured in.
about Vallen's related artwork, Voices