Conspiracy of Silence

Fear of the guerrillas—and the army—rules a typical village

A sleepy collection of adobe buildings around a dusty main square, the Salvadoran village of Osicala stretches across a steep hillside in the northeastern department of Morazdn, only about ten miles from the Honduran border. Defended by the Salvadoran security forces, Osicala was briefly seized by the insurgents last May, and has suffered three major assaults since; sporadic fighting is an almost daily occurrence. The report of TIME's Caribbean bureau chief, William McWhirter:

Life in the village is like the tale behind the three bullet holes in the wooden door—terrifying, mysterious, obscured by fear....

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