EL SALVADOR: On The Brink

Edging toward civil war

"We are a country of hostages," moaned a beleaguered official of El Salvador's Education Ministry. "We are hostage to our political system and we have no escape." Even as he spoke, armed student radicals demanding reductions in high school tuition were holding some 1,500 hostages in his ministry. And on a tree-lined avenue across town, Madrid's Ambassador Victor Sánchez-Mesas and 14 others were being held captive in the Spanish embassy by members of a leftist group. The invaders demanded that El Salvador's civilian-military regime release 21 political prisoners.

Wishing to avoid a replay of the previous week's...

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