El Salvador An Offer They Couldn't Refuse

As elections near, the rebels mount a violent offensive

The neatly typed letter to Mayor Marta Gomez de Melendez opened with a cordial greeting. But there was no mistaking it for fan mail. The message from the Marxist-led Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (F.M.L.N.) informed the mayor of Cojutepeque that she was obstructing El Salvador's revolution and gave her a choice: resign within 72 hours or face "popular justice." Gomez, a normally outspoken member of the right-wing ARENA party, knew exactly what * the last phrase meant. In the past year, eight mayors who ignored similar F.M.L.N. invitations to quit had been "executed," as the rebels call their political murders....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!