March 24 - 1980 - The Assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero
Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, was killed by a single bullet shot by a gunman while he was saying mass in a small hospital chapel in the middle of San Salvador. The immediate reaction was shock and grief, with 250,000 people mourning at his funeral. Then that was marred by gunfire by a paramilitary group, which caused a massacre of dozens of people. The reason for Romero's assassination was fairly clear, as he had been the most notable and consistent opponent of the right-wing, military-controlled Revolutionary Government of El Salvador. Through his regular weekly radio sermons, Romero advocated for the poor of El Salvador, made the world aware of the government's actions, and read the names of those people killed or disappeared in the Salvadoran Civil War. Despite the obvious cause of Romero's assassination, identifying the actual gunman has been difficult, even if it was clearly orchestrated by Roberto D'Aubuission and government backed death squads. Even though his murderer has never been identified, Romero became a symbol of opposition and the issues in El Salvador.