Central America: Straight Talk

Rebels challenge an army

Despite some improvement, the overall performance of El Salvador's army remains "checkered." So testified General Paul Gorman, head of the Panama-based U.S. Southern Command, in an appearance last week before a House subcommittee. Indeed, two days earlier, a dawn guerrilla raid on three villages west of San Salvador left 63 civil-defense guards and three civilians dead. Army reinforcements did not arrive until the afternoon, after the fighting had ended.

Then, on Thursday, four heavily armed men claiming to be members of a leftist guerrilla group attempted to rob a bank in Soyapango, a working-class suburb of San...

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