February Today in Terrorism

February 28, 1984: Leftist terrorists bomb train in El Salvador

On this day in 1984 leftist terrorists belonging to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front blew up two trains in El Salvador, killing 18 people

SAN ANTONIO GRANDE, EL SALVADOR – Why is it that people who have nothing to do with a conflict always disproportionately suffer?

In 1986 I undertook a trip to Nicaragua with a group of young people from Ottawa. The Catholic Church I then attended was ‘twinned’ with a parish in Managua, that country’s capital, and we went down to ferry supplies to do an ‘end around’ economic sanctions imposed on the Sandinista regime by the US government of President Reagan.

While there I saw lots of poverty and suffering and even got up into the mountains where I visited a field hospital and talked to young Nicaraguan soldiers who had been wounded fighting the Contras, US-backed mercenaries (this was very much a Cold War conflict as the US was convinced Nicaragua was going down the path of becoming another Cuba).

When The U.S. Backs Rebels, It Doesn't Often Go As Planned | BPR
What are we fighting for? US hegemony…I mean FREEDOM! (Photo: Michael Stravato: AP)

In any event, a combination of outside interference (US and Cuba) and internal incompetence (Sandinista government – which still rules the roost 40 years later in the form of President Daniel Ortega!) led to suffering and violence. These themes have dominated Central (and South) America for far too long. As today’s featured attack illustrates.

On this day in 1984

Leftist terrorists belonging to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) blew up two trains in El Salvador, killing 18 people, including two children. A gun battle ensued between the terrorists and law enforcement officers in which another 21 were injured.

Then the rain of bullets started.

Engineer on one of the two trains targeted by simultaneous dynamite charges

Another example of a ‘liberation movement‘ which killed ordinary citizens. How is this supposed to be ‘liberating’?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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