SAN SALVADOR – Salvadorans on Thursday marked the 31st anniversary of the assassination of Catholic Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, whose legacy has been honored by the United Nations through the designation of March 24 as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations.
The U.N. action proves the slain prelate “is universally seen as the pastor of truth,” Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes told reporters.
Romero, 63, was slain on March 24, 1980, by right-wing gunmen as he was saying Mass in the chapel of San Salvador’s Divina Providencia Hospital.
The assassination came one day after the archbishop gave a sermon imploring members of El Salvador’s U.S.-backed military to defy their commanders by refusing to take part in acts of repression.
Romero’s death was part of the buildup to a 12-year-long civil war that claimed some 75,000 lives.
Scores of people gathered early Thursday at Divina Providencia, from where they walked to the Cathedral of San Salvador, which holds the remains of the prelate known to his followers as “Saint Romero of the Americas.”
An effort to have Romero canonized is winding its way through the church bureaucracy at a glacial pace. EFE