Si, Yo Soy Revolucionaria

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Si, Yo Soy Revolucionaria Peasant Womens Roles, Participation, Identity and Empowerment in El Salvadors Revolution
Hernandez Ochoa, Nathalia P
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[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (141 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( M.A.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Women's Studies
Committee Chair:
Pena, Milagros
Committee Members:
Anderson, Leslie Elin
Deere, Carmen D
Anantharam, Anita
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Community associations ( jstor )
Employment discrimination ( jstor )
Gender roles ( jstor )
Men ( jstor )
Peasant class ( jstor )
Personal empowerment ( jstor )
Repression ( jstor )
War ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Womens studies ( jstor )
Women's Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
gender -- revolution
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Women's Studies thesis, M.A.


Peasant women participated in the Salvadoran revolutionary war that took place from 1980 to 1992. However, their participation has often been unacknowledged and undervalued. This research examines the participation of guerrilla women from two rural communities located in the Department of Chalatenango and the Department of Cabañas. The fieldwork techniques implemented in this study are in-depth interviews and participant observation informed by feminist and oral history methods and theory. A total of seventeen women, who identified themselves as guerrilla or guerrilla supporters during the revolution, were interviewed in both communities through a snow ball sample. The study analyzes peasant women’s roles and participation in the Salvadoran revolution by focusing on the following themes: (1) Motivations for joining the guerrilla movement; (2) Roles and gender relations within the guerrilla structure; (3) Revolutionary identity; and (4) Extent of personal empowerment. This study contributes to the larger body of scholarship on revolutionary women in El Salvador by shedding new light on peasant women’s motivations to join the FMLN guerrilla, the roles performed, identities adopted, and empowerment acquired through their participation in the revolution. This research provides evidence of peasant women’s increased political and social consciousness, gender consciousness and personal empowerment through revolutionary participation regardless of the extent of their participation in the guerrilla. All women from these communities identified themselves as revolutionary agents during the revolution and to the present day, regardless of the role they performed inside the guerrilla structure. These two main findings are significant because they challenge prominent academic scholarship on guerrilla women which assumes that peasant women are apolitical and their participation in the revolution was not empowering at a personal and social level. As a result, this research provides a space for peasant women to explore their revolutionary experiences and to explore their voices and personal stories as an effort to honor their contributions to the revolutionary struggle. ( en )
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Adviser: Pena, Milagros.
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by Nathalia P Hernandez Ochoa.

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2 2013 Na thalia P. Hern ndez Ochoa


3 To my mother who taught me to fight fearlessly in life/Para mi madr e quien me enseo a luchar sin miedo en la vida


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis would have not been possible without the collaboration and effort of many people who have helped me access graduate school and survive this graduate program. First of all, I thank my parents Daysi Ochoa and Jose Guardado for being part of this great adventure. They have not only been my number one inspiration, but my most valuable support system through life. T hey both played an essential role throughout the field work and d a experiences and efforts were the gre atest assets to the success of this project I also would like to thank Francisca Huez o for her indispensable help through the field work process and her constant s upport. I thank my aunt Elaine Podell Ochoa for assisting in the writing and editing process of this thesis. Without her, this thesis would not be a reader friendly document. I thank my uncle Ramiro Ochoa for inspiring and constantly supporting my acade mic interests. I would also like to acknowledge my grandmother and all the powerful women in my family for shaping my academic interests and my passion in life. I especially thank my chair advisor Dr. Milagros Pea for her constant guidance and support. H er insights and patience were crucial to the successful development of this thesis. I thank the Center for and Gender Research and the that align with my deep est personal ideals. In addition, I want to thank the Samuel Proctor Oral History Pro gram for providing the tools and equipment necessary to the collection I also thank my graduate school support system Frank Barnes, Jaya Re ddy and Michelle Harris for their company and their encouraging words during the darkest hours.


5 Most of all, I thank all the brave women who shared their life experi ences with a warm and welcoming smile. Their stories and personal strength are the heart o f this project and my greatest inspiration to continue my academic and personal goals.


6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 12 2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: GOVERNMENT R EPRESSION AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE GUERRILLA MOVEMENT ................................ ................ 18 Machismo and Marianismo in Latin America ................................ .......................... 23 Background on the Two Rural Communities Specific to this Research .................. 26 Rural Communities in the Departments of Chalatenango and Caba as: ................ 27 Rural Community i n the Department of Chalatenango: ................................ .... 27 Rural Community in the Department of Cabaas: ................................ ............ 29 Theoretical Considerations of the Study ................................ ................................ 31 Methodological considerations ................................ ................................ ................ 37 3 .. 45 Importance of Family Networks and Revolutionary Tradition ................................ .. 46 Communities Influenced by Christian Base Organizations and Liberation Theology ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 49 State Repression ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 56 Personal and Political Ideology ................................ ................................ ............... 60 4 S AND PARTICIPATION IN THE REVOLUTION? ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 63 How was the revolution different for men and women? ................................ .......... 77 Motherhood ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 81 Sexual harassment ................................ ................................ ................................ 85 Gender discrimination ................................ ................................ ............................. 88 5 IDENTITY: HOW DID WOMEN UNDERSTAN D THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 94 6 GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT: WERE WOMEN EMPOWERED BY THEIR REVOLUTIONARY PARTICIPATION? ................................ ............... 103


7 Were All Peasant Women Empowered by their Participation in the Revolution? .. 119 C onclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 123 APPENDIX A IMPORTANT POLITI CAL AND GOVERNMENT REPRESSIVE NATIONAL EVENTS TIMELINE ................................ ................................ .............................. 129 B LIST OF INTERVIEWED WOMEN IN BOTH RURAL COMMUNITIES IN NORTHERN EL SALVADOR ................................ ................................ ................ 134 C SEMI STRUCTURED QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR IN DEPTH INTERVIEWS IN BOTH RURAL COMMUNITIES ................................ ................................ ........ 136 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 138 B IOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 141


8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 rural communities i n the departments of Cabaas and Chalatenango. .............. 91 B 1 This table lists all the women interviewed in both communities, their age at incorporation in the guerrilla and the role they performed du ring the civil war. 134


9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Map of El Salvador highlighting guerrilla controlled areas throughout the country as of 1984. ................................ ................................ ............................. 43 2 3 re taken at the front door of the Community Center in Chalatenango ................................ ................................ ... 44 4 1 tenderness, the worry of the compaeros: indispensab .................. 92 4 2 M en and women are depicted in guerrilla military training. ................................ 93


10 Abstract of T hesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the De gree of Master of Arts By Nathalia P. Hern ndez Ochoa A ugust 2013 Chair: Milagros Pea Peasant women participated in the Salvadoran revolutionary war that took place from 1980 to 1992. However, their participation has often been unacknowledged and undervalued. This research examines th e participation of guerrilla women from two rural communities located in the Department of Chalatenango and the Department of Cabaas. The fieldwork techniques implemented in this study are in depth interviews and participant observation informed by femini st and oral history methods and theory. A t otal of seventeen women, who identified themselves as guerrilla or guerrilla supporters during the revolution, were interviewed in both communities through a snow ball sample The les and participation in the Salvadoran revolution by focusing on the following themes: (1) Motivations for joining the guerrilla movement; (2) Roles and gender relations within the guerrilla structure; (3) Revolutionary identity; and (4) Extent of persona l empowerment. This study contributes to the larger body of scholarship on revolutionary women in El S alvador by shedding new light on peasant women guerrilla, the roles performed, identities adopted, and empowerment acquired through their participation in the revolution. This research provides evidence of peasant


11 political and social consciousness, gender consciousness and personal empowerment through revolutionary participation regardless of the extent of t heir participation in the guerrilla. All w omen from these communities identified themselves as revolutionary agents during the revolution and to the present day regardless of the role they performed inside the guerrilla structure. These two main findings are significant because the y challenge prominent academic scholarship on guerrilla women which assumes that peasant women are apolitical and their participation in the revolution was not empowering at a personal and social level As a result, this research provides a space for peasant women to explore their revolutionary ex periences and to explore their voices and personal stori es as an effort to honor their contributions to the revolutionary struggle.


12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This study contributes to revo bringing n ew light to the role of peasant or campes ina women through an exploration of their participation and empowerment in the revolutionary process during the civil war in El Salvador (1980 1992). Much of ruggle has been focused mainly on urban women, their relationship to post war democratic processes, and the eme rgence of feminism (Luciak 2001, Sajjad 2004, K ampwirth 2002, Gonzales and Kampwirth 2001, Kampwirth 2004, and Shayne 2004). A significant amount of research has also been produced on the motivations of guerrilla women to participate in the armed struggle and their roles within the guerrilla structure (Rief, 1986, Viterna 20 06, Kamwirth 2002,). Furthermore, of ten the literature produced by ex guerrilla combatants themselves or Latin American authors documenting testimonial accounts has also been led by urban wom en who worked in leadership positions with in the guerrilla structure. The most prominent works in this field are: Nunca Estuve Sola [I Was Never Alone] by Nidia Diaz (1991), Las Crceles Clandestinas de El Salvador [The Clandestine Jails of El Salvador] by Ana Guadalupe Martinez (1992) and Retazo s de Mi Vida: Testimonios de una Revolucionaria Salvadorea [Parts of my Life: Testimonies of a Salvadoran Revolutionary] by Lorena Pea (2009). There have also been other major gender based members of the Salvadoran guerrilla movement These works often explore issues of motherhood and sexuality experienced by guerrilla women (Vazquez, Ibaez, Clara Murguialday 1996, Clara Murguialday 1996).


13 As a response to the dominant trends mentioned abo ve, the purpose of this study is to further explore peasant women revolution either as guerrilla members or as part of the general population who p rovided civilian based support in order to highlight their stories and contributions t o the str uggle. This study aims to offer experiences by exploring their motivations to join the guerrillas, the roles they performed within the structure, their articulation of revolutiona ry identity, and their levels of empowerment through revolutionary participation. Additionally this study brings special attention to the has been often reg arded as bes it (Kampwirth, 2004, p. 10). Traditional female work involves domestic activities, such as cooking, cleaning, nurturing, and nur sing. T his paper explore s traditional female roles within t he guerrilla structu re to include a more holistic portray of their participation P analyze d through a feminist framework in whic h the ir experiences in the war shape their identities and sense of empowerment as revolutionary the guerrill it has only mentioned their contributions on a superficial level, followed by the argument that peasant women did not gain anything from their participation and support of the revolution (Kampwirth 2004, Viterna 2006). ive portrayal t he broad research questions guiding this analysis are: How did peasant women partic ipate


14 in the revolution? Why did they decide to join the guerrillas? What did they learn through their guerrilla participation? Were peasant women empowered by their participation and to what extent? Based on these inquiries, the purpose of this study is t o further analyze Motivations for joining the guerrilla movement, (2) Roles and gender relations within the guerrilla structure, (3) Revolut ionary identity, and (4) Extent of personal empowerment This research seek s to demonstrate not only that peasant woman were crucial to the revolutionary struggle but also that many peasant women were empowered through their participation in the guerrillas, eve n if this participation was perceived or categorized providing unde rstood through a feminist perspective Most feminist scholars who have studied revolutionary women in Latin America, in this specific case El Salv ador, have only focused on women from urban backgrounds who held high leadership p ositions, as commanders As a result, it has been theorized that this leadership level is the main reason for the development of feminis t consciousness, which later on became the seed for the Salvadoran feminist movement. However, there has been a lack of res earch and assessment regarding pe contributions to the revolution and the develop ment of their gender consciousness. This lack of academic knowledge has contributed to the silencing of their experiences, and it has perpetrated the image of p easant women as passive and homo geneous. ion, contributions and empowerment through a case study of two similar communities. However, it is important


15 to point out that this study is not representative of all peasant women in El Salvador. But rather, this study seeks to highlight pol itical participatio n their contributions to the revolutionary effort, and their p ersonal empowerment through such participation. T he three main similarities between the two communities included in this study are: (1) Both communities were highly affected by the war (2) b oth were destroyed by military forces during the war and were later repopulated by their original inhabitants after the war, (3) a nd both communities went through community rebuilding and restructurin g after the war where women served as t he main leaders and participants in this process. The organization of t his thesis is divided into six c hapters. Chapter 2 provides a h istorical background, important theory and terms and the metho dology used in this analysis. This first part provides a h revolutionary war and a brief background on the two rural communities included in this study Additionally it e xplores significant terminology and concep ts relevant to this study, followed by detailed methodologica l frameworks. Chap ter 3 explores w motivations to join or support the guerrillas. It provides a description of participants main motivation s to either join or support the guerrilla warfare by exploring the major themes and reasons affecting their per sonal decisions. Chapter 4 analyzes peasant w roles, experiences and participa tion in the guerrilla movement. It illustrates the multiple roles peasant women performed within the guerrilla structure during the revolution. Also d the kind of work they performed are explored to better understand the importance of their participation. Chapter 5 is a brief discus sion of r evolutiona ry identities This offers a


16 discussion on claimed r evolutionary identity and their reflections about their war experiences and guerrilla participation. Finally, Chapter 6 incorporates a discussion of t p ersonal empowerment. T he concep defined and analyzed in an ef fort to determine its relevance to revolutionary peasant war experiences. Furthermore, this last section seeks to demonstrate how the women interviewed in this study were directly empowered by their participation in the guerrilla movement and by their war experiences. In addition, there will be a brief discussion on how this empowerment is reflected in not only in their personal lives, but and empowerment levels shed lig ht on post participation, and personal empowerment through community shared war experiences. Furthermore, the emp owerment of peasant women must be understood from it s social location and context, rather t han being compared to the point of reference provided by Rural and urban women in the revolut ion did not share the same resources and empowerment opportunities, such as high levels of education and economic independence. These urban oppor tunities guaranteed a higher position within the guerrilla structure and further promoted high levels of gender consciousness articulation and activism Therefore, higher education and higher leadership within the FMLN guerrilla has been associated with empowerment and the development of gender consciousness However, peasant women from these two communities demonstrated high levels of gender consciousness and empowerment through their revolutionary participation as will be shown even i f


17 these aspects of peasant historical and academic accounts.


18 CHAPT ER 2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: GOVERNMENT REPRESSION AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE GUERRILLA MOVEMENT The civil war in El Salva dor took place, as officially dated, from 1980 until 1992. The war resulted from multiple social, economic and political factors at the national and international level. However, one of the most important factors was the cruel repression executed by the mi litary government throughout the course of the Twentieth century. This was a violent period, and there were many peasant revolts demanding land rights, better economic opportunities, and basic human rights. The Salvadoran oligarchy, mostly coffee producers had accumulated most of the land, economic resources and power in the countr y B etween 1871 a nd 1932 the coffee oligarchy gained strength and protecte d above all throu gh their political and military power in the country (White, 2009, p. 65) The Salvadoran oligarchy controlled and used the military as their major repressive instrument against any kind of economic, social or political reform. One of the earliest and mos t significant examples of political and economic repression in the country is the unsuccessful peasant uprising popularly bundo Mart led a peasant revolt against the military dictatorship of Maximiliano Hernndez. More than thirty thousand peasants were killed in this rebellion. This massacre took place in the western region of the country, and less than ten percent of the victims had actually participated in the uprising (Montgomery, 1982 p. 52). This massacre was a major turning point and one of the most unforgettable examples of the repressi ve conditions people experienced during this period. Political instability, economic disparity, government repressio n and military abuse continued in the country


19 M any other massacres took place i n multiple areas of the country side, especially during the most repressive y ears in the la te 1970s and early 1980s. M assacres have become part of Salvadoran culture due to the scale of unjustified violence against entire peasant communities Another important event that sparked organized resistance against military oppression was the assassination of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the Catholic Archbishop of San Salvador (Augu st 15, 1917 March 24, 1980). Archbishop Romero was a conservative pries t who turned into a peace advocate and liberation theologian. until the 1977 assassination by the military death squads of his friend Father Rutilio In 1980, Monsignor Romero was shot by Salvadoran government soldiers while saying mass in a small hospital chapel in San Salvador. This event triggered many Salvadoran oppressive government. During the mass, Monsignor Romero publicly denounced the military killing, violence and repression against the Salvadoran people. In the name of God, then, and in the name of this suff ering people, whose cries reach more loudly to heaven every day, I appeal to you. I beg you. I order you, in God's name, to cease the repression, to not obey if they order you to kill! (White, 2009, p. 100) ork and legacy in many his willingness to stand up to the armed forces of El Salvador unapologetically (White, 2009, p. 100) Monsignor Romero became a martyr of the wa r because he was murdered for speaking his mind, for denouncing injustice and repression, but most of all


20 for defending the basic human rights of freedom and happiness of the Salvadoran poor and disenfranchised, and for turning his back to the powerful oli garchy It is important to note that the Catholic Church had been historically aligned with the Salvadoran government, the oligarchy and the military. Therefore, Monsignor to impose itself on the country. His killing was the proof of increas ing repression and violence by the government, which was reaching the point of become unbearable for the great majority of the population As a consequence of the constant violations of human to organize into guerrilla groups to force structural changes in Salvadoran society. During the 1980s, five guerrilla based organization s united to create the Far abundo Mart National Liberation Front (FMLN) in order to coordinate a revolutionary movement in El Salvador as a result of the accumulation of multiple economic, social and political problems. l elites in the military and the Salvadoran oligarchy whereas the guerrilla factions that Men and women came together and took up arms to defend their ideals and fight against the repressiv e government. The guerrilla movement was characterized by a strong ideology and a commitment to lead political, social, structural and cultural change. Some examples that further illustrate this point are the multiple ways in which the FMLN built their or ganizational structure by incorporating entire communities of the civilian population in to their revolutionary initiatives During the beginning of the war, the guerrilla s lived among the people. Guerrilla members helped plow land and harvest


21 land; they pr ov ided medical assistance that had never been available before; they taught peasants how to defend themselves from the military forces; and they launched important education and literacy campaigns for peasants and for guerrilla members, as well (Montgomery 1982, p.149) Due to these different participatory and inclusive political approaches by the FMLN guerrilla force s the great majority of the civilian population tended to support the guerrillas and the revolutionary struggle. It has been well documented that the FMLN guerrillas had strong civilian population support, especially in communities where the guerrillas had a strong presence and further interaction with the people. s about the interactions between peasant civili ans and the FMLN guerrillas: A subtle indication of support was that in personal conversations with hundreds of peasant s They talked about n d los compaeros los muchachos muchachos affection (Montgomery, 1982, p. 144). As a result most of the Salvadoran population in the rural areas supported the not only due to s tate repression against peasant and poor civil ian populations ; but also due to the FMLN guerrilla s close relationship to civilians who lived in rural areas that were under their control. This popular support must be addressed since it is important to acknowledge that during this period, the Salvadora n government, in concert with the oligarchy, and via the actions of the military, actively targeted anyone who supported any kind of social, economic or political reform in the country. The military government would suppress any wh ich was any person who disagreed with


22 government al policies and actions. During this period, the Salvadoran government Public Order which gave the state th e right to arrest anyone it suspected of being a subversive (White, 2009, p. 94) Some of the most targeted groups were students, union leaders, teachers, peasants and Jesuit priests among others. There were special clandestine branches of the military, com monly known as Death S quads whose main In fact, he military was responsible for more than 95% of the violence and murders of common p El Salvador was a battlefield between the military armed forces and the guerrillas for t welve years leaving thousands of victims. By the five thousand dead, two million displaced, an estimate of one million war refugees, and billions of dollars of economic loss to a an end in 1992 with the signing of a peace agreement, mediated by the United Nations, between the FMLN and the Salvadoran go vernment under the presidency of Alfredo Christiani. The FMLN disarmed, stopped the guerrilla warfare efforts and became a legitimate political party. In fact, it still remains the official opposition political party in El Salvador. For a more general un derstanding of the extent of government repression and the politico military consolidation of the FMLN guerrilla movement a national and international brief timeline is provided in Appendix A in order to provide insight into some of the national events an d factors that fueled the civil war in El Salvador.


23 Machismo and Marianismo in Latin America The discussion of m achismo in Latin America and specifically in El Salvador is necessary to the analysis of gender relations within the guerrilla structure and i ts impact The terms macho, machismo and machista have always been associated with Latin American culture (M elhuus and Stolen, 1996, p. 14). Therefore, a definition of Machismo is helpful to comprehend better the gender rel ations between men and women under re gional and cultural norms. Even though Machismo is a broad term that manifests itself in different capacities determined by cultural, social gerated masculinity, characterized by its assertion of power and control over women, and over A s a result, machismo defends male superiori ty and the control over all I t is important to n ote that exaggerated masculinity. Machista norms promote power and control over other people men and women. I t encourages sexual domination over women, and sometimes othe r men. There are other masculine traits that also tend to be overemphasized under financial providers, virility, physical strength and courage. The origin of Machismo has not been well documented, but there are multiple theories of its origin and development. G ene rally, machismo has been connected to the colonial period in the Americas. According to Alfredo Mirand (1997) there are two theories relevant to colonial legaci es in the Americas that might explain Machismo in the region: (1) machismo might have originated from the humiliation of indigenous men due to their military defeat, and the rape of their women by Spanish conquerors; and (2)


24 machismo was introduced in the Americas by t he Spanish due to their strong patriarchal culture, in which women are percei ved as inferior ( Chant and Craske, 2003). Furthermore, according to Chant and Craske these machista beliefs became exaggerated by the conquistadores when they engaged in sexual relations with indigenous women who were brutalized due to their gender and racial inferiority (Chant and Craske, 2003, p. 15). W hether these theories are accurate or not does not undermine the fact that the M achista value system has had concret e consequences to gender relations in Latin America. Machista belief s are not particula r of Latin American culture since we find similar practices and behaviors around the world. However, the nomenon in the Latin American region. Under a Machista culture, gender roles and relations tend to be polarized and restricted, which creates unrealistic expectations of femininity and masculinity. These gender expectations are not only shaped by machismo but also by Marianismo, which could be consider ed as its feminine complement. Marianismo is a cultural practice rooted in the religious imagery of the Catholic Virgin Ma ry As part of Marianism, women are expected and encouraged to emulate the Virgin Ma r s such as submissiveness, martyrdom, abnegation and sacrifice. Marianismo pictures its subjects as semi divine morally superior and spiritually stronger than men A female cannot hope to attain full spiritual sta ture until her forbear ance and abnegation have been test ed by male inflicted suffering. the necessary precondition of women's superior status. ( Stevens, 1973, p. 57) As a consequence, Marianismo complements Machista notions of male superiority and only perceived to be morally or spiritually superior to men when they have suffered


25 physical or moral abuse from men. Within this context ual norm women are expected to embrace and inte rnalized inferiority and male domina nce in their lives. The combination of Machismo and Marianismo is a dangerous c ombination due to its restrictive and polarized gendered nature. rights to control wome n, and a strong emphasis on male strength and sexual prowess contributed to a polarization of gender roles and provided cultural legitimation for the Additionally, Marianismo further supports and enhances thi s cultural practice. Even though not much scholarly work has been produced on Machismo in El Salvador, this small Latin America n country is not an exception to this regional trend. Machismo is wel l rooted in Salvadoran society because the po larization of gender roles in which men are perceived as superior and women as their subordinate are generally prominent in cultural expectations and behaviors. Many Salvadoran men and women continue to be socialized under these traditional cultural beliefs. Ho wever, i t is important to highlight the fact that culture and cultural practices are malleable and in constant change so culture should not be assumed to be static. The general trend of Machismo in Latin America and in El Salvador is not to suggest that there has not been a significant change in the area of gender equity. However, Machista culture is worthwhile mentioning in the context of revolutionary uprising in El Salvador as an effort to understand better how war conditions affected women experiences which were significantly influenced by patriarchal and Machista cultural systems. Despite its efforts for liberation and justice the FMLN guerrilla structures were not immune to deeply rooted Machista beliefs in Salvadoran society. As many female combatants r eport in


26 thi s study, there was a significant gap between the revolutionary ideal of equality and its act ual practice in terms of gender relations. This gap and ideological contradicti on will be further explored in C hapter 4 nd experiences inside the guerrilla structure. Another necessary piece of background information essential to this study is a brief description of the two rural communities w h ere this research took place. The names of these two communities have been omitt ed due to security purposes and the Therefore, the historical background will only refer to the departments in general and not to the specific rural communities. Background on the Two Rural Communities Specific to this Research This section will describe the two main Salvadoran regional jurisdictions, referred to as Departments, which se rve as the locations for this study. The two rural communities in this study are located in the Department of Chalatenango an d th e Department of Cabaas. B oth departments are located in the northern part of the country. These departments were highly aff ected during the war because they were considered territory controlled by the guerrillas. Therefore, both rural communities also sha re common contex t ual and historical events. The two communities were heavily affected by milita ry violence and repression As a result, according to informants, most of their inhabitants were more willing to support the revolution by either joining or acti vely supporting the guerrillas. Furthermore, both communities have gone through repopulation and community rebuilding experiences. People from these two communities had to leave everything they owned to save their lives and either move to refugee camps, jo in the guerril la movement or move to another d epartment to live with relatives. However, the last option was the least feasible since most families had been


27 living in these communities for generations. There had been little migration outside these two rura l communities to other areas o f the count r y. The map provided at the end of the chapter, F igure 2 1 illustrates the territory under guerrilla control. The two departments included in this study were heavily influenced by guerrilla culture since most camps were hidden in mountainous, wo oden and hill areas The departments of Chalatenango and Cabaas can be found in the northern part of the country. A short historical background on each community is provided below. Once again, the name of the specific villag es and towns are omitted to protect their identity. Rural Communities in the Department s of Chalatenango and Caba as : Rural Community in the Department of Chalatenango: The department of Chalatenango is located in northwest El Salvador as F igure 2 1 ill ustrates The capital city has the s ame name as the department I n terms of topography, Chalatenango is a mountainous area. In fact, i peak, known as El Pital (White, 2009 ) In addition, this department has multiple rivers and sma ll creeks throughout the territory Chalatenango is mainly an agricultural and cattle raising area. Chalatenango was one of the departments heavily affected by the civil war. Due to its rich natural resources in te rms of hills, mountainous areas and ri ver s Chalatenango was a good location for the subsistence of guerrilla camps There were many guerrilla camps located within this territory, especi ally in the mountains and wooded areas. The mountains provided a secure are a for the guerrilla camps because of the ir isolation from the major towns and allowed for a way to hide from the Salvadoran military forces However, as a consequence, t he civilians who lived in the towns close to the mountains became easy targets of military repression.


28 The rural community i n Chalatenango experienced high levels of military repression. By the late 1970s, the residents of this community were forced to leave their homes due to persecution and the virtual total destruction of their town For example, there were multiple document ed massacres against civilian populations in this part of the country, such as the Sumpul and Las Aradas massacres. Some women interviewed as part of this study are survivors of these two massacres. The people who were killed in these two massacres were al l civilians, including women and children. Silvia describes her experience as one of the few survivors of the Sumpul massacre as follows: We had to cross the Sumpul River. You could see people die there, running away from the military. Some of them would d rown trying to cross the people, but the ones that were c aptured were around 400 (Silvia; Interview 2012) As a result of the constant persecution, repression and murders committed by t he Salvadoran military against the civil ian population the whole community was forced to leave their belongings, houses and land in ord er to migrate to the Mesa Grande War Refugee Camp located in Honduras. This camp was administered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The first families arrived at Mesa Grande in 1981, and many of them came from Chalatenango. In 1988 people started to return from Mesa Grande to repopulate the community, which they found completely destroyed and abandoned. F or us it was really sad when we entered [the village]. There were no paths. We came with all kinds of people, little children, men and women adults and creeks, and we had to get up at 2am to collect water because we were afraid to do it during the day because we were afraid of soldiers shooting at us (Campos, 2004, p. 19)


29 A total of 175 families were responsible for repopulating this rural community in C halatenango. The first thing they did was to create a community based organization in order to rebuild the village with the help and coordination of multiple international entities (Campos, 2004, p. 20). Many residents are still active in community organiz ations and events, especially women. This community has an active community center where multiple cultural, health and educational programs are offered for free to the whole community. For example, there are program s that promote cultural identity through the arts among youth. The community center also sponsors multiple activities, such as workshops and informational sessions for all residents of the area including youth adults and the elderly. Many of the people working in the community center are ex guer rilla members and war refugees from the area. In addition, the most active members in the community center are women who were either guerrilla members or part of the civilian support. Rural Community in the Department of Cabaas: The department of Cabaas i s located in the northern central part of El Salvador next to the department of Chalatenango, wi th S ensuntepeque as the c apital city The entire department has a hilly terrain rather than a mountainous one. T he name of the department Caba as means hills This department has one of the coolest year ro the area is made up of deep wooded areas, agriculture, primarily grain producti on Similar to the rural community in Chalatenango the Cabaas community was a town strongly aff ected by the war. Its deep wooden areas facilitated guerrilla mobilization and clandestine activities Another reason for the milit ary persecution in this tow n was the strong influence of Christ ian Base Community


30 activities and peasant activism in the late 1970s and early 1980s Not only activists were persecuted by the military during the civil war but t he majority of the civil ian population was as well, rega rdless of their actual po litical activism or viewpoints A ll inhabitants itary government. Thus many people tortured and killed by the Salvadoran military forces. The tow n suffered heavy aerial bombardment and w as completely destroyed by the Salvadoran m ilit ary forces Consequently all the inhabitants were forced to leave their home s People from this community had few available options: they either had to move to differe nt parts of the country or join the guerrilla movement. After the signing of the Peace Accords, the residents of this community were able to return to their homes and reclaim their town. In 1993, the first groups of people started to r epopulate the town To further illustrate this point, consider Tatiana repopulation experience: was just woods. People started to clean up and then, they started to build their houses. The military ha d destroyed everything we had, so that we would surrender, but thanks to Go d, we never surrender ed interviewed 2012). According to this informant, t he families that came back to repopulate the town received land and were able to rebuild their h ouses Some of the families even built their houses the exact same way they were before the destruction of the town. Many people were able to reclaim and restore their land and restart their lives over again. Due to the impact of the war on the town and it s history of political struggle and repopulation, this rural community now has a communal approach to civil participation and governance. Community residents function collectively in overseeing the economic and political needs. Most of the m embers in this communal directive are


31 women who were involved in the guerrilla struggle. Similarly, to the Chalatenango rural community, this town also incorporates youth initiatives in the arts, especially theater and dance. Many of the women are also inv olved in the production of artisanal crafts which are specifically associated with the town for sale to visitors and tourists. Theoretical Considerations of the Study This section describes, analyzes and challenges som e mainstream concepts regarding guerr the guerrilla structure. First, the term guerrillas mus t be defined in order to understand better the context in which women played a role inside this struct ure. According to Linda Rief, uerrillas are members of political organizations operating in both urban and rural 1986, p. 147) This definition will be used for the purpose of this study to understand guerrilla warfare as a structure where members of political military organizations seek to change an existing socio political system. In this case, the goal was to overthrow the repressive military government of El Salvador. The Latin American guerrillas were highly influenced by the Cuban revolution and the writings of Che Guevara, who defined the structure and characteristics of guerrilla warfare. Che Guevara describes guerrilla an armed nucleus, the fighting vanguard of the people. It draws its great force from th e mass of the people themselves military oriented since it emphasizes military combat. In addition, he de fined specific characteristics of guerrilla warfare including military tactics, such as continuous, nomadic mobilization of guerrillas in mountainous and wild areas, political propaganda, and the distribution of all structural needs by specific individuals according to their


32 ording to this statement there is a marked difference between the people and guerrilla combatants, so who is a true The guerrilla fighter is a social reformer, he takes up arms responding to the a ngry protest of the people against their oppressors, and he fights in order to change the social system that keeps all his unarmed brothers in ignominy and misery (Guevara, 1961, p. 17) Clearly, by this definition a guerrilla member is a man, and he has t aken up arms to fight for his people to liberate them from oppressive social, economic and political systems. In addition, this definition of a guerrilla member is also limited to a military figure. T his description is heavily militaristic and therefore ma sculine in nature because question: Were there women guerrilla members? In theory, the answer is yes. However due to the nature of most of their participation in pract ice, women have not been fully recognized as guerrilla combatants mainly due to the division of labor and the value assigned to their work. Women had a significant participation in the guerrilla movement. s t hirty percent of the combatants p. 65; Montgomery, 1995, p. 123; Kampwirth, 2002, p. 17) Many of these women performed multiple roles within the guerrilla structure as co mbatants, political strategists, paramedics, radio operators and cooks. However, due to the traditional division of labor women were relegated to less visible work within the guerrilla structure. For example, within the guerrilla culture, military and com batant work was


33 highly valued while domestic work, such as cooking and the care of others was not as hi ghly reg arded. In fact, domestic work was hardly noted and valued. Many women served in more traditional female roles within the guerrilla structure, suc h as cooking, cleaning, and the caring for others (children and the wounded). However, many others also performed non traditional female roles, such as military combatants, commanders and political strategists. In some cases, there were women who also perf ormed both, traditional and non traditional female roles at the same time while they participated in the guerrilla s truggle. However, regarded with more prestigious status es as opposed to those women who per formed guerrilla structure. Therefore women who were able to function in leadership positions were also able to climb up the ladder in terms of status, respect and consideration as guerrilla members Karen Kampwirth struggle in three main categories, which she identifies as: (1) High prestige, (2) Mid prestige and (3) Low prestige positions within the guerrilla structure. According to Kampwirth, women who perfor med leadership roles in non traditional female roles, such as commanders belong to the high prestige group. Mid prestige members of the revolution were women who held some sort of leadership position in traditional female roles, such as leader of paramedic s or as p olitical educators. L ow prestige members were women who performed all sorts of traditional female roles as cooks and care givers in camps, safe houses or any other location under the guerrilla structure (Kampwirth, 2004, p. 9 12). Kampwirth explo consciousness as a reflection of personal empowerment through their revolutionary


34 participation. Consider the following quotation explaining the unique location of mid prestige women within the guerrillas: [Mid pres tige] work is much more likely to be personally empowering than making tortillas. Moreover, their position in the middle meant that, on the other hand, they were not shielded from the brunt of machismo within guerrilla ranks, as were female commanders, but on the other hand, they had the opportunity to develop political skills and consciousness that might not have been available to very low ranking female participants. (Kampwirth, 2004, p. 10) Kampwirth considers that women who performed low prestige tradi tional female roles in the guerrillas were not empowered by their participation, as high and mid prestige women were. In addition, she argues that mid prestige women are overwhelmingly represented in the feminist movement in El Salvador due to their revolu tionary experience in which they were able to learn new skills and develop soci o political consciousness. A t the same time, they experienced gender discrimination and sexism in the guerrilla camps and structure. These claims are problematic in the sense t hat it assumes that all women who performed traditional female roles within the guerrillas were not empowered by their participation in the revolution due to their low status in the structure. In addition, a class element cou ysis since most of the women she bases her analysis on are urban middle class women. Therefore, her analysis is not representative of peasant women. Furthermore, the vast majority of peasant women performed mid and low prestige roles in the guerrilla struc ture ; and consequently, it has been assumed that they lack ed exposure to gender consciousness. Many peasant women were also restricted to only participate in low prestige tasks, such as cooking and the care of others because many of them had little, if any education. They were only familiar with domestic work, so they contributed to the revolution according to their


35 nd contributions. It is not accurate to assume that all women who performed low prestige roles, who were mostly peasant women, were not empowered by their revolutionary participation. Additionally, oles and prestige u ndermines traditional female work within the guerrilla structure, which was essential to the survival and sustainability of the revolutionary struggle. Julie D. Shayne builds on the idea of women performing low prestige and traditional female roles withi n the guerrilla structure because of sexism. However, unlike the advancement of the revolution and the sustainability of guerrilla warfare. Shayne introduces the idea o She argues that women were the physical bridge between the FMLN guerrillas (organized gendered refers to femininity, revolutionary to the type of social movement of which the women are a part, and bridges implies the strategic connections women make as a result and subversion of d them to create important connections and essential bridges with the community, which led to the support and survival of guerrilla warfare by images of femininity as mot hers, teachers, and refugees while transmitting highly


36 activists in terms of mobilizing people at the micro level during the civil rights move ment in the United States. The author suggests that African American women served as between prefigurative strategies aimed at individual change, identity and consciousnes leadership in traditional social movement scholarship by arguing that African American leadership tha t had not been considered before. Usually bridge work or more community work has been rewarded as activist or community work, but the people doing this outreach have never been considered m ovement leaders. Therefore, Rob nett challenges this restrictive def inition of social movement leadership. She suggests that bridge leaders are essential to the mobilization of people, ideologic al spread, consciousness r ising, and grassroots organization, which determines either the success or the failure of social movemen ts. In El Salvador many peasant women were bridge leaders in their communities since often they were the ones in charge of finding food supplies, safe houses and other based connecti ons, local knowledge, domestic and care giving work, would have not been possible. Without this kind of work, the g uerrilla camps and combatants would have not been able to survive in the mountains, much less would they have been able to effectiv ely fight military forces that had more economic and gun power advantage. Therefore, women who worked as bridge leaders during the revolution should be


37 revolution. Their work was as equally dangerous and indispensable as that of guerrilla combatants to the success of guerrilla warfare survival and effectiveness. The above concepts will be further discussed and develop ed in each of the subsequent sections in order to pro roles, participation, identity and personal empowerment In addition, these theoretical concepts are helpful to explain methodological considerations and to further contribute to the field of revolutionary wom Methodological considerations For this study I interviewed a total of seventeen women, who identify themselves as either guerrilla The masses was the term used for the civilians that supported the guerrillas and often followed them into the mountains to escape military massacres in their communities. I was able to interview women fr om these two communities by a word of mouth or snow ball sampling approach where the women themselve s asked their friends to participate in this project. Therefore, I had limited control over the number of women reached to interview in this sample. I was able to interview eight women in the rural community located in the d epartment of Cabaas and nine wo men in the d epartment of Chalatenango. T s ranged from thirty four to seventy two years old. In addition, most of them had low levels of formal education. Some of them could not read or write and som e had recently gained literacy The ma jority had only completed one or two years of elementary school. Two women had completed their high school education, and one of them had attended college. Most women had children and were still active in their communities. All women


38 had been born in their respective communities and had come back to repopulate these towns at the end of the war. The interviews took place in the summer of 2012 when I spent a week in each of the communities, sharing meals and participating in multiple community activities. Mo st interviews range d from one to three hours. The i nterviews were recorded, coded transcribed, translated and subsequently analyzed to better identify patterns and themes. These themes and patterns were compared across narratives through the use of grounde d theory in the process of data analysis. The coded interviews have been divided into four main themes: (1) Motivation to join the guerrillas and age, (2) Roles and guerrilla activities/Gender relations within the guerrillas, (3) Identity, and (4) personal em powerment. These four main themes were compared and contrasted across all of the interviews in order to better analyze and theorize these themes. In addition, participants war names or pseudonyms are used in this analysis in some cases and in ot her cases, I gave the participant a different name in order to protect their identities. The study departs from the personal narratives of women themselves informed by femini st and oral history approaches. Following feminist research tradition, the inter views used in this study were semi structured open ended interviews since it allows for free interaction between the researcher and the participants It also allows for concept clarifications, discussion and follow up questions in order to create a sense of conversation rather than interrogation throughout the interviewing process. Furthermore feminist open ideas, thoughts, and memories in their own words rather than in the words of the


39 researcher. gh their own voices. Therefore, a topical oral history approach is taken in this work in order to further enhance oral history is a feminist encounter because it creates new material about women, 1992, p. 126). Feminist oral history has allowed this study to acknowledge the value of In addition, the feminist oral history effort is also centered on Emma Perez deoclonial imaginary, in which o decolonize our history and our historical imaginations, we must uncover the voices from the past that honor multiple experiences, instead of falli ng prey to that which is easy allowing the white colonial heteronormative gaze to reconstruct and interpret experiences and honor their stories. Aware of my position and role as a researcher and historian in this decolonizing imagery which allow s for rethink ing history in a way that give s recognition to revolutionary peasant women who have often been o n the margins of S alvadoran war narratives and history. Furthermore, ns, either traditional or non traditional, are recognized and honored


40 in Salvadoran society. The refore, I consider this decolonizing imagery key to the process of creating knowledge and contributing to history from a diff erent perspective subject positioning which is the attempt to view, analyze or study the subject [person] by trying to understand the complexity of his/her identity as attributed. This identity can be either embraced or rejected by the person. As a result, the researcher seeks to understand, rather than ignore these dynamics withi This framework highlight influence that the environment [historical period, social class, gender, family background, social belief s etc.] has in the forma tion of that identity. As a result I have acknowledged partic ipants individuality and their own paths in to revolutionary work by highli g hting their experiences and avoiding overgeneralization. Additionally I include one break s the silence about it and challenges preexisting notions, which opens new possibilities for everyone (Scott, 1991, p. 774). This concept has been applied to the guerrilla armed struggle with the main goal to honor, acknowledge, and most of all, make their strength and support to this political project visible to the Salvadoran people. Through this project, I seek to reveal something that has existed for a long time. Howeve valuable contributions to Salvadoran society more visible to everyone in order to


41 demonstrate that their strength and value has always been imbedded in Salvadoran history, but it has been continuously repressed and undervalued. Experience has been used to produce history and when only certain experiences are perceived to be worthwhile or valuable to be part of history, traditional/accepted/naturalized history represents the hegemonic p ower of normativity. xperiences visible to be taken into account to produce new knowledge and history. However, I experiences in this st udy since I recogn revolutionary paths and voices. Feminist research and oral history approaches, allowed me to connect to the peasant women I interviewed. While I am aware that I am not a peasant woman, I consider it significant to note that my race, ethnicity, gender and age facilit ated the connectivity between myself the researcher and the interviewed women As a Salvadoran myself, I was able to quickly connect to these women through a shared history and cultural knowledge. We sh ared the same language and colloquialisms, which allowed for our conversations to flow smoothly. It also allowed me to ask personal and delicate questions about their lives that they would have never shared with a stranger. In addition, my gender and age w orked to my advantage to create a safe, fun and comf ortable space for women to talk about their war experiences and life stories. As a young Salvadoran woman researc her, I did not have a threatening image, and the women were open to sharing their lives, i ncluding painful and intimate granddaughters T he younger women could quickly identify with me by talking about


42 daily life issues. Our conversations fluctuated from the most serious topics, such as the loss of a child, to unexpected laughs at funny remarks women would come up with in the middle of the interviews. Through these dynamics I was fortunate to join women in a journey of self reflection through an oral history proce ss where they were able to re think their revolutionary participation and life experiences. In addition, I was able to opinions about the revolution in El Salvador. The sense of entitlement and the ownership of their personal stories is one of the most powerful things I have been able to witness in my whole life, and for that I am grateful to all the women who were willing to share their stories with me.


43 Fig ure 2 2. Map of El Salvador emphasizing the Departments of Chalatenango and Cabaas in color red. The two rural communities included in this study belong to both of these departments. Map template was modificated by author and taken from the online resourc e at: "Plantilla: Mapa De Localizacion De El Salvador." Wikipedia Wikipedia. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. Figure 2 1. Map of El Salvador highlighting guerrilla controlled areas throu ghout the country as of 1984. The dark striped lines emphasize guerrilla territory which was mainly concentrated in the northern part of the country. Chalatenango and Cabaas were significant areas under guerrilla territory, as shown in this map. Honduras


44 Figure 2 3 Community Center in Chalatenango where they have an exhibit of multiple, eye witness testimonies of people who repopulated the village by the end of the w re population of their town. P icture taken by researcher during the summer of 2012.


45 CHAPTER 3 W HAT WERE THE FMLN GUERRILLAS? I decided to join the guerrillas because the m ilitary killed my daughter. She was 17 years old. She was a catechist who taught children. When the military took her out of the house, she was already incorporated in the FPL. They [the military] came around 7am. She was a youn opposed them? I found her four days later. They cut her breast s insert a stake in her part [vagina], and they bur ned her alive. They took out her finger nail s They tortured her. I was 40 years old. I was furious because they killed m guerrillas throughout all the war [12 years]. (Luz ; interview 2012 ) I decided to join because there was too much repression against the civil ian population. They [the military] took us out of our houses and burned them. They killed my father. He was only a peasant man who s hared G with everyone. ( Chila, 55 ; interview 2012 ) motivations for joining the guerrilla movement in El Salvador have capture d many scholars attention due t o the fact that women challenged their traditional gender roles by joining the guerrilla movement Most women in El Salvador previously had been limited to only the private and domestic sphere However, through their participation in the revolutionary war efforts, many women were able to move into the public sphere as politico military guerrilla members. Some scholars have pointed out two major motivations for w omen to join the guerrilla p ersonal an d/or familial networks and p revious involvement in Ch ristian based communities (Kamwirth 2007, Shayne 2004). These motivatio ns have been prominent in Latin American revolution ary peasant and workers unions. However, these n arratives have failed to elaborate further on


46 articipation. The se two prominent m otivation al factors have been used across social class and ethnic groups. The data collected for this study supports and further elaborates on these two ma in motivational narrative s. P ersonal and family networks and Christian based organizations were among the two most prominent motivational triggers reported by respondents in my study However, they also reported personal and/or social repressio n and politica l ideology as major motivations as well. In the context of motivational factors for peasant joining the revolutiona ry guerrilla it is important to understand these four repeated patterns as intersecting wi th one another instead of vi ewing them as separate motivations. Thus the major motivations that peasant women from the two rural communities in Cabaas and Cha latenango identified were: (1) p er sonal and family networks, (2) p articipation in Christian based organization, (3) military repression, and (4) d evelopment of socio political ideology. A detailed analysis of thes e four categories will be developed in C hapter 3 Importance of Family Networks and Revolutionary Tradition T he two open ing quotations for this chapter exemplify the i mportance of family networks and the influence of these family ties in incorporate into the guerri lla movement. Luz guerrillas was the persecution and murder of a close family member. M an y other women experienced this situation as well. P ersonal and family prosecution forced many peasant women to incorporate in to the guerrilla as a means to save their own and their and repression was common during this period, especially in communities controlled by the FMLN guerrilla because the military did not draw any distinctions between guerrilla members and the civil ian pop ulation. Family members of


47 individuals who were involved with or even suspected to be in the guerril las were killed even if they were not organized or supporters There were secret branches of the military whose main purpose was to persecute and kill people who were labeled as m s great deal of power, and they abused it in many ways without any fe ar of repercussion Additionally some women stated that they joined the guerrillas because their husban ds had joined previously. Consider the following statement my husband, to be w 2012). This statement represents the immediate factor that led Ana to join the guerrillas. Howev er, it is not the only one, because later in the interview she revealed her church activism through the Christian base This is h ave been solely attributed to husbands, fathers or other male family member who have however, complicates this assumption by demonstrating that a deeper understanding of s motivations reveal complex and intersecting motivational factors. Another major motivation for women to join was family traditi ons of resistance. Consider Rita ll my family was in this struggle. Some of my sibl ings had died already. A nd w e were always taught we had to work for it, to be part of the process, and to be involved [in the motivation reflects the importance of family influence in ideology and commitment t o the revolutionary effort. Rita


48 stru ggle since she was a young child. S o when she got older, she felt a commitment to her family historical tradition to continue their revolutionary work and their tradition of resistance Consequently, she found herself deeply committed to the revolution. Similarly to Rita joined, the war was almost over. I t was 1989. I joined because of family tradition. All my family had been involved [in the guerrilla] and they both [mother and fa ther] died as guerrilla members. T (Roxana; interview 2012) importance of family ties. E ven if she n ever had the opportunity to really know her parents because she was a young child when both of them died, she still held this strong commitment to her revolutionary activist family tradition. Roxan be a result of her grandmother alive the person who raised her, maintained the memories and revolutionary sacrifice Therefore, this indir ect family revolutionary tradition and participation, rei nforced by her grandmother Similarly to Rita and Roxana many others were motivated to join the guerrillas due to their fa either through family traditions or through ideological familial influence However another prominent and even c omplementary reason provided by interviewees was the influence of the Christian based o rganizations in each of their communities.


49 Communiti es Influenced by Christian Base Organization s and Liberation Theology Liberat ion theology and Christian base organi zations (CBO) were prominent in both rural communities included in this study. Out of the seventeen women interviewed ten of them stated that they ha d been part of a Christian base organization before joining the guerrilla, and that this involvement was t heir primary mot ivat ion to join. The remaining seven women highlighted other primary motivat ions for joining, but religious beliefs were articulated through the liberation theol ogy concepts of justice and solidarity for the poor This fact, demonstrates th eir exposure and fami liarity with liberation theology philosophy through community churc h base organizations. As a result peasant participation in Christian base organizations seems to be one of the most important motivations for joining the guerr illa struggle. Liberation theology spread throughout La tin American in the 1970s and is most associated with Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez who is c redited with developing the concept (Berryman, 1987, p.24) D uring the late 1970s and early 1980s th e spread of liberation theology was prominent in multiple areas of El Salvador, mainly through Jesuits priests who strongly identified and promoted liberation theology philosophy and religious practice. Jesuits priest were strongly committed to liberation theology, one of the most well known Jesuits priests who dedicated his life to liberation theology philosophy a nd pedagogy was F ather Ignacio E llacura. A s a matter of fact, Ellacura was one of the six Jesuits priests who died in the University of Central America UCA campus massacre in 1989. The military branch known as death squads was responsi ble for this massacre as a response to the Jesuits outspoken opposition to the military repression used by the government ( Bur ke, 2000). Ellacura was a S panish


50 p riest who had been assigned to work in El Salvador. Over time, he became radicalized personal experiences of and witnessing of political repression, poverty and injustice. Liberation Theo logy the revolutionary Salvadoran context, but also with the larger Latin American multi nation struggle for economic freedom and social justice. Liberation theology so ught to apply religious faith both to critique unjust economic s ystems and to motivate the poor a nd oppress ed to create awareness about soc io economic systems that create unjust social inequalities thus justifying social activism to change such structures (Berryman 1987) Liberation T heology was part of a change in the in which specific action was taken in order to promote social justice This practical application placed a n emphasis on life experiences and connected through biblical study group s the biblical t 40). During t he late 197 0s and throughout the 1980s in El Salvador there was a period of intense persecution of the church focused on those inspired by Liberation Theology Many Jesuit priests, reli gious women and even catechists were singled out and murdered by military forces It is important to highlig ht the fact that Christian base organizations started to be ac tive before liberation theology. For instance, the existence of Christian base organi zations in El Salvador has been traced as back as far as 1968 under the leadership of a priest named Father Jose Alas. According to Jenny Pearce, Jose Alas was one of the first priests who tried to implement techniques of consciousness raising among his fol lowers, and he established the first Christian base organizations in El


51 Salvador in 1969 (Pearce, 1986 p.104) According to Alas, peasants who participated in motivated peas ants to work towards land reform and become more critical about their situation as a poor and landless peasantry (Pearce, 1986, p. 103). Church base communities or Christian based organizations [Comunidades Eclesiales de B ase] are led communities, motivated by Christian faith, that see themselves as part of the church and that are committed to working together to improve their Therefore, these organizations serv ed as a space to promote consci ousness raising in which peasants were able to create a new way of thinking about themselves and their communities through biblical study groups. Christian base organizations were mainly present in the rural parts of El Sa lvador. T he two rural communities included in this study might exemplify this fact. For instance, the great majority of women interviewed in this study reported being active in Christian base organization within their communities In these groups, they wer e exposed to the concepts of liberation theology and political theory through consciousness r a ising practices and exercises. Biblical study was popular in both of these rural communities Through the process of Bible study, participants were able to develo p critical thinking skills and share everyday l ife problems with one another as means to develop and achieve solutions to community concerns and structural social problems Many women became active in politico military organizations through C BOs which wer (Berryman, 1987, p. 63) Christian base org anizations further enhanced a prac ticed liberation theology. Most


52 interviewed women reported a stro ng commitment to Christian base organizations, which demonstrate d the pivotal role that these organizations played in This mig ht suggest that Christian base revo lutionary mobilization and long term participation. To further illustrate this relationship, c onsi s history of her participation in the FPL, which was one of the five politico military organizations that constituted the FMLN guerrillas She connection to her revolutionary mobilization as follows : We joined bec ause we saw that it was necessary. First, I thought it was personal help, to help one self to get away from the ignorance we were at, t o see the reality we lived in. W started with biblical reflections. My husba nd gave biblical reflections and guidance from the documents of Medellin where they made pamphlets to repression came. They [the military] did not let us have our meeting s because they said we were Marxists and Leninists. They said that we were teaching Marxism. We were excommunicated from the church, and after that we created the FPL (Bella; interview 2012) story illustrates, her participation in the FPL sta rted through the C hristian base community organizations. The base membership for the FPL was mainly created by the members of CBO in this particular community This was true for many other women from both communities who were radicalized in Christian based organizations and later one participated in the FMLN guerrilla. In addition, her story also represents the fact that the religious approach was highly depen dent on the priests in charge of the communities. In this case, t he previous priest embraced liberation theology in t his community, and he supported and further enhanced the Christian base communities. However, he was persecuted by the military, and forced to leave. Due to this fact, a new priest came to the community. This priest was conservative in his


53 doctrine so he excommunicated all members of the Christian base community groups and banned the practice of liberation theology. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge the role that the church played under liberation theology to provide women with a space to parti cipate in political and philosophical debates, which ultimately radicalized their ideologies or viewpoints. It i s well known that the most active participants of many Christian, religious movements and churches have been women. As a result, the church has been perceived as a proper place for women to meet or work together. However in this case, the church and the biblic al study groups became an avenue justice issues and political consciousness raising. Therefore, is useful to further understand rural cipate in the revolution They were heavily influenced by their previous knowledge, activism and radicalization gained through their involvement with Christian base organiza tions in their respective communities. Christian base communities and liberation theology were a strong influence that motivated many men and women to join the revolutionary struggle in both of the rural communities included in this study. Similarly to B ella illustrates the importance of CBOs in rural communities and its influence on conviction to join the revolution. To tell you the truth, the majority of people from this community who joined the stru ggle came out of Christian base h ere our formation started. We started creating consciousness about our reality. We had Bible studies circles, and we were around sixty young people. Every week five nuns and a priest would come v isit us. We all were committed to udies helped us understand the B ible and apply it to our reality. That way, we realized how we had our eyes


54 closed, only praying, praying and praying without realizin g that we were being exploited. (Irina ; interview 2012) As this qu otation reveals, Christian base communities were crucial to peasant this community made reference to their religious beliefs of justice for t he po or and equality, which they developed through liberation theology and the Christia n base communities. Furthermore all women interviewed with the exception younger women stated that t hey were part of Christian base communities during the 1970s and 19 80s. The younger women interviewed were not part of Christian base communities because they were young children during this pe riod. Therefore, Christian base communities wer e a major motivational guerril las since it provided a space not only to develop socio political consciousness through biblical studies, but also to radicalize their beliefs and ideologies of equity and justice This contributed to these women in joining and supporting the guerrilla mov ement The two communities stud ied in this thesis confirm the p ivotal role that Christian base organizations play ed motivation and participati on Regrettably, these motivations have been long ignored. Most scholars have ch allenged the notion of women as apolitical beings. However, they have only placed their attention on urban women who were union members, teachers, and/or students (Luciak 2001, Kampwirth 2002, and Shayne 2004). Often, these w omen were able to develop their polit ical consciousness through their access to higher education participation. However, this narrative ignores peasant women and their paths towards


55 political consciousness deve lopment and guerrilla participation. In addition, Viterna (2006) argues that peasant women in El Salvador were pushed or force d into activism due to their social location as peasant women, but they had not develop ed a strong ideology or c ommitment to the r evolution prior to their mobilization Her study found that mostly circumstantial which ignores the influence of social and political ideology in their guerrilla mobilization In contrast, Viterna explains factors were changing contexts, biographical characteristics, and personal networks were the most important factors determining their participation. She states these women were mainly pushed or persu aded into guerrilla activism due to the intersection of multiple social character istics and situational contexts While this analysis into guerrilla movements, this approach is also limiting in the sense that it ignores As a result, t his narrative political commitment to the FMLN guerrilla, which has further silenced an important aspect of peasant wom for mobilization The narratives shared by the women in these two rural communities challenge e by demonstrating the significant role of Christian based communities in rural area s W omen were able to develop socio political consciousness and radicalized their views and beliefs to the extent that they were committed to join the revolutionary struggle. A nother important aspect in the creation of strong personal and politic al convict ions that influenced many


56 peasant women interviewed in this study to join the guerrilla movement w as their experiences with governmental repression by Salvadoran military forces. State Repression State repression was a major motivation identified by wome n from these two communities in Chalatenango and Cabaas Many of these women reported state or governmental repression as the main reason for their involvement in the FMLN guerrillas They eith er experienced it directly themselves or witnessed it at the l ocal community level. Military repression and persecution against the civil ian population was prominent in both rural communities in this study. As it has been mentioned before, these two communities were impacted by the close location of guerrilla camps; so they by the Salvadoran armed forces. This meant that military repression was equally applied to the residents of the entire village E veryone who lived in these two communities was considered a national threat. The mili tary discourse at the time. A subversive was anyone who did not agree with the military regime, and therefore, a threat to national security. Due to this extreme repressive con text, military forces targeted e ntire villages where houses and agricultural acreage, primarily corn fields were burned and destroyed. As a result, many people could not subsist in thes e communities. In addition, these actions and government strategies we re a village people and resources to maintain their basic needs, su ch as food and water. Many women shared their experiences of persecution by the military forces by explai ning that in their communities almost all civil population was targeted by milit ary forces. C


57 had to leave our houses because they persecuted every interview 2012) T his quotation demonstrates the fact that military troops persecuted everyone, regardless of their association with the FMLN guerrillas. Due to this repressive environment, many women decided to join the guerrillas after witnessing govern leaving because of bombs, military attacks and threats. When Monsignor Romero [the guerrillas ] because you could s testimony illustrates the repressive conditions under which people had to live during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. This experience influenced her decisi on to join th e guerrillas because she did not want to keep running away from military repression, and she also committed herself to working for social justice. Many women interviewed identify state repression as a major personal motivation to join the guerrillas. Many women experienced repression directly where a relative had been violently murdered by the military, as in the case of Lucia whose quote opens this chapter. L year old daughter was raped, tortured and killed by Salvadoran military forces. Luc for the guerrillas throughout the entire twelve years of the civil war. State repression against civilians was cruel, especially against women. Consider the following testimony, In the village where I lived, they [the military] killed five women. They took them out of their houses at 5am naked, naked, naked. They took them to the river and threw water in their gen ital parts. After that, they raped them, and then killed them. A ll that just because they were wo men. We went to see them afterwards when the dogs were eating their bodies. All my mom did was to bring a blanket to cover their bodies. A nd that was normal back then. Women were worth nothing. The y [the military] could follow and kill women. (Francisca; i nterview 2012)


58 A deeper anal ysis of this testimony and Luz s the way in which military repression could be gendered based women who were raped and killed demonstrates the gender dimension of repress ive military actions. It is well known that military forces used cruel methods of torture and public intimidation during this period. However, there has not been an in depth analysis of government initiated gender base d violence. As Francisca states: that just M ilitary repression against women was gendered since it promoted sexual and general violence against women. These women were not guerrilla members according to Francisca, but they still ex perienced government violence, as a way to intimidate people, but especially the women from the village. Many women related cases in which they witnessed violence against women from military forces where rape and sexual violence were common testi monies showed how rape and sexual violence against women was normalized in Salvador an society during the civil war There were women who even joined the guerrillas because they felt their involvement offered them protection and they felt safer there. Consi killed in the mountains fighting [with the guerrillas], instead of being taken and raped [b y 2012). The gender dimension of military repress ion is important to highlight since repression is often taken as a uniformed experience, when in reality men and women from different social locations experien ce it differently. For example according to interviewed informants, cases of public tort ure and r ape were exclusive to rural areas where peasant women were the primary victims of this from of


59 state gender violence and repression. Many similar testimonies of peasant women can be found in rural communities where the military forces were espe cially crue l due to extremist nationalist ideologies and the belief that these actions supported national security. One of the main reasons that fueled the revolutionary war in El Salvador was extreme government repression against almost all sectors of Salvadoran so ciety. However, it must be recognize that women were more vulnerable to sexual abuse and violence because of their ge nder status. Similarly to Luz quotation from Maria Serrano in the film which illustrates the extreme levels of sexual violence against women and the use of it as a mean not only to generate fear among the population, but also to demoralize the guerrillas. I had never felt that much hatred against the enemy until they killed my daughter. Not only because they killed her, but because after she was dead they undressed her and cut her into pieces. They inserted a knife inside her and cut her up into two pieces. If y ou could know the rage I feel. (Serrano, 1992) y women who were victims of atrocious acts of sexual abuse and violence. These experiences can be understood as an Symbolically, rape and sexual violence against women by the military represented the violence and subjugation of the Salvadorian people by the repressive military state. In addition, many women who shared these testimonies also mentioned that this type of state repression was not only enacted by military forces, b of civilians or people from various nearby communities who joined and/or supported the Salvadoran military forces for protection. These civil defense groups were made up of men from th e community, and


60 their role was to identify people who were involved in the guerrillas or supported the guerrillas. Civil defense groups were as repressive as military soldiers, and they were especially involved in many cases of rape in rural co mmunities. This fact, demonstrates gender inequalities in Salvadoran society strongly rooted in patriarchal systems, where rape and violence against women was used as a weapon of war, and it was even normalized. Therefore, state repression played a crucial role in wo the guerrillas due to civil population repression and gendered based violence, as well. Additionally, many women expressed that they had witnessed military repression in their communities and economic disparities in the country This further contributed to the developed of their political ideology of opposition to the government Personal and Political Ideology incorporation in the guerrilla movement. These ideological beliefs generally include land the FMLN guerrillas: I joined when the organization first started in 1973 I was part of FECAS [Peasant Workers Federation] W hat motivate d me to organize was because here [her community] has always been an agricultural society. The vast majority of people did not have their own land, and they all had to work as temporary workers for other people [the land owner s ]. The popular my family had land, but I felt bad that most people had to go really far to I joined when I was 39 years old. rom 1977 until 1991, full time! (Iliana; interviewed 2012) the FECAS organization, where peasant s organized themselves to achie ve land reform. Therefore, before she joined the guerrillas, she already had activist and organizational


61 experience through FECAS w h ere she learned multiple leadership skills. In addition, she was also part of a Christian based community in her town. Simil arly to Iliana, there were many women who stated that they were already part of either FECAS or the FPL before joining the FMLN guerrillas. Consider this quote from Ros ibel: FLP in the 1970 We wanted land to work on, we started the mo vement interview 2012) Thus many women from these two communities were either aware of or part of land reform movements during the 1970 demonstrates that many peasant women were politically active bef ore joining the FMLN guerrilla s. This disproves the dominant notion that peasant women joined the revolution because they were either forced to due to the circumstances as Viterna suggest s, or they simply joined without having a political or ideological cause to join the struggle. In terms of political ideology, many women also made insightful comments during the interviews regarding their ideological motivations to join the revolutionary planation of her involvement: ause the country needed changes. H ere [El Salvador] poverty has always been terrible. The decent quality of 2012) Similar to Roxana, many women alluded to their experiences of poverty and social inequalities as a major motivational factor. Many women from these two communities grew up experiencing injustice and repression, and they consciously decided it was time to do something about it. Women, like men, developed a sense of social consci ousness and responsib ility. As Linda Rief suggests, t his fact disproves the idea that women are rendered apolitical by patriarchal attitudes


62 as Schmidt had argued before (Rief, 1986) Once again the notion that women are apolitical, and especially peasant C hapter 3 has highlighted the major motivations women in both rural communities identified as important decision factors for their participa tion in the FMLN guerrilla movement All the motivations discuss ed above should be understood as multiple intersecting forces, as opposed to single motivations that are independent from one another. In most cases, all of these motivations were intertwined through out the dimensional personal journeys into guerrilla participation.


63 CHAPTER 4 WHAT WERE Women played a determinant role in the revolution because I think that the objectives that we had as a movement, without women, they would have been unatta ina ble. Tell me, what would they have done without women? They needed the involvement of both [men and women]. Even if there was tortilla or fry a n egg, Dios guarde! Only women! (Ro xana; interview 2012 ) Women were important in the war because they served as cooks, as paramedics, and as radio operators. In everything! There were women fighting with their rifles. When I saw this, it made me feel good because it showed that women were abl e to do the same things men do. (Chila; interview 2012 ) Wom en demonstrated their capabilities as combatants and leaders. We show ed those abilities that were hidden. It was a great lesson to men who always used to think that women were weak. They would say, damn it! We are always talking about how women are weak and now they [women] are showing us the o pposite. (Irina; interview 201 2) The above quotations and images provided at the end of Chapter 4 in Figure 4 1 and Figure 4 2 represent the multiple areas in which women participated in the FMLN guerrillas. Figure 4 1 represents guerrilla women performing traditional female roles, as paramedics within the organization. In contrast, F igure 4 2 depicts guerilla women performing non traditional female rol es, as military combatants. Much of the literature has focused on revolutionary women who performed non traditional female roles and/or held high level leadership positions withi n the FMLN guerrilla structure, either as combatants or leaders [politico mili tary comm anders] (Luciak 2001, Kampwirth 2002, Roggeveen 2003, Sajjad 2004). In addition, the literature which describes guerrilla


64 women personal account s are also dominated by urban women who held important leadership positions in the FMLN guerrilla stru cture. Ex amples of these urban women are Nidia Diaz and Lorena Pea who have been able to write their own books about their war experiences (Diaz 1991, Pea 2009). These three women exceeded expectations in their leadership roles within the revolutionary s truggle, and th ey are also urban women who functioned in high statu s level/roles within the FMLN. Therefore, their experiences are not representative of the majority of women who participated in the FMLN guerrillas. in the guerrilla organization has not be en deeply discussed by scholars. T o this date, peasant women have not produced literature of their own war experiences with the exception of Maria Serrano who participate d in a documentary in collaboration with Cath erine M. Ryan, Pamela Cohen, Monona Wali, Alma Martinez, and Edward J. Olmos T his famous documentary titled Serrano from Chalatenango, in which she narrates her story as a peasant guerrilla woman (Serrano, 2010) Throughout the film, Serrano for this study. However, it is important to note that there was a fundamental difference in communities studied in this project. D ue to her talent and revolutionary commitment Serrano was able to achieve a leadership position as a political military strategist within the FMLN guerrilla movement. As a result, she enjoyed significant authority, r espect and recognition within the guerrilla organization which most peasant women who performed domestic labor or traditional female roles did not Therefore Serrano s not representative of


65 most peasant women, much less those wome n who performed domestic and traditional female roles in the FMLN guerrillas. The experiences of peasant and their work in the FMLN guerrilla have s important to acknowledge roles and participation in the revolution was influenced by women ntersecting factors, such as class and gender often determined the roles they performed within the guerrilla organization Women c ontributed in different ca pacities and extent according to their skills and degree s of commitment. The important intersection of class and gender has been often ignored by movements. However, Linda Reif, br iefly alludes to the importance of gender and class while assessing barriers that women from different classes experience in guerrilla education, low income, few marketable skills and major domestic responsibilities (Reif, these factors since most of them did not have the opportunity to attend school either due to patriarchal norms or due to t he lack of economic resources. Many of the women interviewed for this project did not know how to read or write during their participation in the guerrillas, and some of them are still in the process of learning. In addition, they were highly responsible f or domestic tasks and the care of children. Therefore, peasant women were significantly disadvantaged compared to urban women, who had more access to resources such as education, and peasant men who held higher status than peasant women in all areas of lif T he double disadvantage of gender and class, is


66 reflected in studies of conventional politics that show that low socioeconomic status Due to the intersection of gender contributions to the revolutionary struggle have often been ignored and undervalue d Women challenged their traditional gender roles by stepping out of their homes, the private sphere, and into the publ ic sphere by joining the guerrillas. However, women performed traditional and non traditional female roles during the revolution. Tradit ional female roles include jobs such as cooks, care givers either as paramedics or as family care givers. In addition r adio operators and general educators were often associated as more gender appropriate for women. Non traditional female roles usually include military and political work. Many women performed traditional and non traditional female roles, and sometimes even both at the same time during the revolutionary struggle. Due to patriarchal ideologies and attitudes strongly rooted in Salvadoran society, the subordination of women and their relega tion to the domestic sphere was prominent within the guerrilla structure This le d to the unde r valuing their contributions to the revolutionary struggle. rtance in the revolution, Chapter 4 mainly focuses guerrilla structure and their contributions to the revolution. M ost women in this study performed traditional female roles within the guerrilla structure. Table 4 1 provided at the end of Chapter 4 summarizes the roles performed by women from both commun ities in order to better understand the multiple areas in which women participated during the revolution.


67 T able 4 1 shows that most women who participated in this study performed jobs as cooks, as paramedic s and as political cadre/activists Even though p olitical cadre or activist work could be classified as a non traditional female role since it deals with political knowledge and strategy, this job was also see n as appropriate for women because they had to interact with people and entire communities in or der to increase civilian support for the FMLN guerrillas. It also included political education to different sectors of the civil population and to guerrilla members, as well. It is important to highlight the fact that peasant women were more likely to be part of the masses or guerrilla bases, and to perform traditional female roles within the organization Most of them did not have much education and the skills necessary to occupy leadership roles within the structure. However, there were many peasant wome n who were military combatants an d leaders of political cadre hey were the majority functioning in this in the majority were women. T here were only two men in the kitchen. The leader of the one making the tortillas interview 2012) M ost wo men interviewed stated that many women worked as cooks or as paramedics in the guerril las. Four women interviewed shared their experiences as cooks themselves. In addition, almost all women interviewed described a time when they were cooks in the guerrilla camps even if they had another job in the organization. Most of them stated that they solidarity, because it wa s a hard job that did not receive any recognition. Most participants mentioned the fact that being a cook was a difficult job given that the g uerrilla camps did


68 not have the mean s to cook and feed large groups of people. Also, women who were cooks had to constantly move around and find creative ways to cook wit h limited resources. Als o it is important to note that the guerrilla camps were always moving and changing locations in the mou ntains or woods. T he cooks had to carry all the pots and pa ns and other cooking utensils all the pans, but sometimes the combatants would help t with kitchen stuff 2012) A s expressed by Rosibel, cooks were responsible for carrying all cooking supplies and for finding food p rovisions. Even though being a cook was not a prestigious position in the guerrillas, it involved a lot of creativity and sacrifice to feed people in guerrilla camps. There were women who were in charge of feeding large groups of people he guerrilla cam to get up really early to make tortillas, and when we [guerrilla camps] took over villages, we had to cook all night long [for guerrilla members an interview 2012). According to all the women interviewed, the vast majority of cooks were women which shows the gendered distribution of labor where women were assigned to traditional domestic duties. Another major role performed by women in the guerrilla structure was as paramedics o r nurses. This position was crucial to the health and survival of guerrilla members and people who were part of the masses, as well. Paramedics or nurses performed multipl e roles. In combat, they were charge d with attending wounded guerrilla members. They were also in charge with carrying medicine and the guerrilla


69 camps first aid kit everywhere they wen t. Consider the following statements the wounded in combat. I cleaned them up, inject ed them and treat ed them to send them to a second place [l ittle hospital like places hidden in the mountains to treat woun 2012) T here were women who learned to be paramedics really early by watching others who mentored their interests in medicine. For example, Els y lear ned a lot from a doctor at the Mesa Grande refugee camp in Honduras. W hen she joined the guerrillas, she became one of the best combat s a nursing assistant e one that gave shots to people. They came to see me. The nurses would tell me the symptoms, like I was a doctor there. I felt so proud of She joine d the guerrillas when she was thirteen years old, and she performed the role of a combat paramedic until the end of the war. There were men who were paramedics, as well, but the majority of guerrilla members who chose this job were women. Paramedics were indispensable to the survival and medical treatment of guerrilla combatants. In addition, women who performed these roles were highly valued in guerrilla camps since they were the doctors of the groups or camps. These women were also taught how to use firearms, rifles and they had to carry th eir own, as well. I n the case of acti ve combat they could protect themselves. Therefore, they held a more prestigious status than that of the cooks because they were closer to be combatant s. Combat paramedics were essentially combatants who specialized in the medical treatment of the troops P easant women were highly present in political and community activist work. Political and activist work consisted of creating popular support for the revolution


70 through the development of social consciousness an d political education. This work was done w ithin the guerrillas and outside with the civil ian population in order to promote the revolutionary cause. Within the guerrillas expansion work consisted of organizing people and creating consciousness about the political situation in the country. Conside r I was part of political cadre work I had to organize people all around. What I did was to talk to people and let them know about the situation they were living under. I used to tell them that the only way to do something about it was through organizing [the community]. Even still now, I have that same idea that without org anization, there is no solution. (Iliana; interview 2012) Iliana was in charge of guiding p olitical consciousness groups for urban base d guerrillas S he worked with university students even though she was a peasant woman who had only finished high school. However, she was knowledgeable about political theory and the political situation of the revolution in El Salvador due to her long acti vism in peasant and guerrilla movemen ts Therefore, she was constantly asked to share her political knowledge with new members. Similarly to Iliana, Eva de Rosa describes her political cadre or activist work in Nicaragua She was in charge of raising polit ical consciousness among Salvadoran guerrilla members who were recuperating in Nicaragua. A nd at the same time, she was promoting social consciousness and support for the revolution among Salvadorans who reside d in Nicaragua, many who were refugees from th e civil war. I was incorporated in political consciousness r a ising within the guerrilla political implications of that p work because we were raising consciousness with Salvadorans that lived in Nicaragua (Eva de Rosa; interview 2012).


71 Irina also shared her experience as an expansion worker S he was in charge of promoting protest and revolutionary culture within the guerrilla camps, the masses and civil ian transfer red me to be part of expansion work. I was in charge of popular culture, and there, we were in charge of prote st music. I wrote so many songs. It is so sad [because in the process,] I lost all my 2012) T herefore, as these examples demonstrate, women were key elements to the spread of political consciousness and education. They not only worked with g uerrilla members, but also with the civil ian po pulation. In addition, they were in charge of promoting and spread ing the ideas of the revolutionary culture, port, and therefore, reproduction or ability to survive. Even though, political cadre a nd activist work was highly important to the revolutionary struggle since the guerrillas would have never been able to be as successful, much less to survive without popular support from unincorporated people, this type of work was not recognized as import ant or indispensable to the revolutionary e ffort. Women dominated this kind of work since it ople and caring more about people. In addition, this kind of work was undervalued since it was associated with femininity while masculine work such as taking up arms was glorified in guerrilla culture (Kampwirth, 2002, Shayne 2004, Murguialday 1996 ). Building on this fact ed the terms gender ed bridge leaders and bridge leaders respectively. As described earlier in the paper,


72 gender and social con structions of femininity allowed women t o mobilize more freely and take action with less suspicion during the war. (Shayne, 2004). Strong patriarch al notions of femininity, in which women are seen as submissive and apolitical, allowed women to have more freedom of movement since they were able to deceive the Salvadoran femininity and even sexism, women revolutionaries were able to create logistical (Shayne, 2004, p.44) The non threatening image of femininity allowed women to carry out multiple functions within the gu errilla structure. For instance, w omen performed multiple clandestine mission s in order to transport armament, money, food, clothes, and medicine in support to ce Con sider the following testimonies: Luz who was a messenger and t ransported armament ifficult because women raised less suspicion than men. I was really careful to not be suspicious. One has to be dynamic, and no t say what one does. I even hid armament in flowerpots that I used to sell. One had to be creativ e and plan things right Luz women had an advantage over men due to gender based feminine roles where they were much less suspicious than men. However, it was not onl y a matter of gender, but a lso age expectation s since Luz was a mature woman when she was doi ng this work. Similarly to Luz Eva de Rosa shared her multiple experiences as a guerrilla member covering up for the fabrication of explosives in an artisan store where she sold paintings. In addition, she was in charge of transporting money between El


73 Salvador and Nicaragua at the time Eva de Rosa was carrying a significant amount of money for the g uerrillas, and the Salvadoran military was checking bags at the a irport. She was nervous and thought it was the end of her revolutionary activism. However instead she t hought about asking for help from the military officer in charge I went up to him and I told him that my son was sick, that he had been vomiting. I t old him, I want to get out of here fast, so could you please check my bags fast because my h yes ma da m, I can do that. He picked up my son and my suitcase and said, He took my passpor t to immigration and he thought about that, and that ma n, he had a nice attitude towards me. Everyone was worried about me because that was the first time that the military was there [ in the airport]. B ut at the end, if it is not your turn, it is not. [Laughs] (Eva de Rosa; interview 2012) As these previous anecdotes illustrate, guerrilla women were more able to deceive military forces due to their gender and the perception of their traditional feminine within bridge leaders is especially useful to understand the role of peasant women as bridge leaders in rural controlled by the FMLN guerrilla s. These women were the ones who worked to create political consciousness in their communities to support the guerrilla movement. In addition, these women were in charge of collecting resources, such as food and clothes from the communities to send to the guerrilla camps in the mountains. through the community. If they [the guerrilla camps] needed food, I would come and organize wo men in the community [to get food] interviewed 2012). These women were not only responsible for supporting the guerrillas with food and resources, but also they promoted and nurtured popular revolutionary culture in their communities. Many of the women interview ed stated that they worked in


74 consciousness raising activities to gain su pport for the guerrillas, especially women working on political activism For example, Irina always enjoyed working with the people, the masses, as they were called. W hen Irma was doing her political work, she would go to the villages and talk to people th ere, help them out with their domestic chores and gain their trust. She worked to build positive relationships with the people, so that they would have a good concept of the guerrillas and support them when needed. There were ladies that made flowers out of dry corn leaves, and we brought it to the people in the villages to show them that up in the mountains, there [part of the] the civil ian po pulation, and this is what we did With thing s like that, little by little we were gaining popular support and that was our work of expansion. (Irina; interview 2012) In addition, Irina mobilization since people from local villages and communit ies were the best resources political and activist work served as a bridge betw een the FMLN guerrillas and the unincorporated civil ian popula tion This work was extremely important since t he support from commun ities and villages was indispensable to the survival a nd success of the guerrillas in conflict zones Popular support was essent ial to the revolutionar y effort. Regrettably, this type of work has been long ignored and unappreciated due to its invisibility because pr imarily women were the ones who w ere often performing it. As Irin a relates: M any comrades started to realize the importance of our work with the masses, with the people. Some of them would say, now I understand how important your work is. I only have to worry about myself and my rifle. I le, pregnant women everything! (Irina; interview 2012)


75 Irin a was not only in charge of expansion, but also of the mobilization of the masses in her a rea The masses were people who followed the guerrillas in to the mountains because if they stayed in their communities, they would be killed by the military. These were large groups of people including men, women, children and elderly people. According to Irin a her group consisted of approximately four hundred people This number was considered a normal size for a group of masses, all forced to flee their communities and seek refuge with the guerrillas in the mountains. Therefore, the work of women as brid ge leaders was extremely important to the protection of civil ian population, as well as the guerrilla population. It is important to acknowledge guerrilla women, especially the roles of peasant women as bridge leaders because their work was often invisibl e Women as bridge leaders performed multiple integral roles to the revolutionary effort by transporting messages, armament, money, food and other kind of resources to the urban and rural guerrillas. In addition, they performed a lot of work with local com munities and within refugee camps outside of El Salvador such as those in Honduras near the Salvadoran border They were able to successfully achieve all these goals and take action due to the accepted societal interpretation of traditional gender roles T hese accomplishments were in part because they were expected to do this kind of work by the FMLN guerrilla leadership and on the other hand they were more able to deceive the Salvadoran military forces at the same time. A s noted earlier, a relevant framew ork female roles is Karen Kam p prestige, mid prestige and low prestige members within the guerrilla structure (Kampwirth 2001 an d 2004). Using


76 Kampwirth high prestige membe rs were women who held leadership roles within the guerrilla structure, such as commanders; mid prestige members were women who performed traditional female roles, but held some sort of leadership or decision making position, such as head of paramedics or head of political expansion work; and low prestige members were women who performed traditional female work and did not have any sort of leadership position, such as cooks and care givers (Kampwirth, 2004, p.10). While Karen Kampwirth is a feminist schola r, her classification of high, mid and low prestige guerrilla membership still reproduces patriarchal values in which certain prestige participants were much less intensely so cialized [in revolutionary culture], probably because the leaders of the organization did not believe they needed to be socialized in such ways in order to effectively carry out their work 11) H owever, previous examples have demonstr ated that this is not the case. Women who served as cooks, paramedics and expansion workers were all polit ically aware and even introduced revolutionary ideals within their families and within their communities. All the women I interviewed studied politic al ideology and sometimes were introduced to gender equity ideals All guerrilla members had to go through training w h ere they were taught multiple skills, according to their role within the structure. Many women reported that within the context of this tr aining, they learned how to read and write and sometimes public speaking. In addition throughout the interviews all of the women demonstrated significant political understanding about their partici pation in the revolutionary war. T hey also showed high leve ls of gender awareness when asked


77 in these two communities were also currently recognize d leaders in their respective communities for providing leadership and direction for different community based prestige roles within the Salvadoran guerrilla structure did not d evelop a gender and political consciousn ess is not supported given the statements by th ose interviewed for this study. How was the revolution different for men and women? There were some differences in the ways in which men and women experienced the revolution within the FMLN guerrilla due to gender based power relations. Multiple scho lars have explored unequal gender relations in the revolution by highlighting the 1996, Rodriguez and Montoya 1996, Vazquez 1997, Kampwirth 2002). Some of the most prominent themes explore d within these works are with motherhood experiences, sexuality issues inside t he guerrilla structure, and gender discrimination within the organization. experiences in the two rural communiti es in northern El Salvador Most of the women who participated in this study identified differences between male and female guerrilla members in the war. According to their testimonies, g uerrilla women faced different experie nces than guerrilla men due to motherhood, sexual harassment and organizational discrimination. Ideologically in the guerrillas men and women were equal since they had the same rights and responsibilities within the structure. Many of the women interviewed stated that there were no g ender differen ces between male and female guerrill a


78 members For example consider Bella we were all equal [men and women]. We were really united because we were in the same struggle and 2012) I n this description of gender relations, the ideals of equality, unity and justice are cle These revolutionary ideals were the core of guerrilla ideology, and theref ore, male and female militants tried to promote and implement such ideals in their personal relations within the structure Many of the women interviewed stated that during the war, men and women were treated the same and that they loved and respect ed each other like brothers and sisters. Most of the women alluded to the experience of solidarity among guerrilla members, no matter their gender. The great m ajority of the interviewed women in these two communities held positive memories about their relationshi p with male and female guerrilla comrades Furthermore, they noted that men respected them much more during the war than before the war because women were seen as guerrilla comrade s within the organization Thus, as guerrilla women, peasant women were bett er treated and had higher status within the guerrill a structure compared to before the war The strong ex perience in the guerrilla camps: The war was the same for men and wo men. There were men and women combatants, and it was like that in everything else. They both participated equally. It was really nice, we were all like siblings. Men respected women. We slept together, and we all respected each other. We shared everything. If a person had one candy, everyone go t to lick that candy. (Rosibel; interview 2012) Additionally, often women based their notions of gender equit y through the way jobs and roles were assigned to men and women within the guerrillas. For example,


79 consider ement: women, at least where I was ; the job they gave men, the sa (Elsy; interview equal gender relatio ns based on the same distribution of labor that she was able to experience within her own guerrilla camp. However, l ate r in the interview she recognized the fact women mostly served as cooks and paramedics S he provides insight about this fact by clarifyi ng that women were more drawn to these jobs because men only wanted to be combatants and the roles and social expectations from men and women, but she considers both kinds o f most people sin c e of cooks has been widely over looked and undervalue d Some women stated that there were efforts within their g uerrilla camps to promote gender equity and to help women bet ter integrate into the struggle. A lso many of them stated that women and men were treated equally. gender eq uity efforts seemed to vary in terms of areas and local leaderships, as well. I t is important to acknowledge the tendency of many guerrilla members and revolution scholars to romanticize gender relations among male and female combatants during the revoluti onary period. here is a tendency among some protagonists and students of Central American revolution s to glorify male female relations during the war (Luciak, 2001, p. 10) T his acknowledgment or rem inder is not meant to undermine the fact that many guerrilla leaders and camps might have tried to promote fair and


80 equal treatment of men and women within the organizational structure. As discussed earlier many women experienced great levels of respect, solidarity, and unification with th eir male counterparts. However, it is important to recognize that not all women had the same positive experiences in their gender based relations with male comrades. Under a patriarchal society where machismo has been deeply rooted in men and institutiona lized in cultural practices, there was a constant struggle between revolutionary ideology and actual practice. Justice and equality for all was assumed to be implemented across social classes, but gender was never directly addressed in the revolutionary pr ocess well articulated explanation of this phenomenon, FMLN commanders experienced great difficulties when forced to reflect on desired for the future existed already in the revolutionary nuclei, where all types of differences were decreed eliminated, for example, those groups rejected the validit y of an analysis [focusing] on the different situations of men and women within the group. (Luciak, 2001, p. 11) As this analysis reflects, there was a significant gap between revolutionary ideology and reality, in which unequal power gender relations were avoided. As a result the re were many instances in which gender inequality was detrimental to some FMLN guerrillas, especially, those who did not have prestigious roles within the organization. To illustrate further the magnitud e of this problem, c onsider the following statement from Facundo Guardado, a well known FMLN


81 revolutionary leader: play the same rol (Luciak, 2001, p.1) This assertion demonstrates the pat riarchal and machista sphere of politics and warfare. T hus patriarchal expectations and behaviors heavily within the FMLN guerrilla organizations by stressing notable boundaries and differences of gender performativity and relations in Salvadoran society The women who noted differen c e s experiences highlighted motherhood, sexual harassment and gender discriminatio n within the guerrilla organization as the main forms in which unequal power relations were translated into their experiences as guerrilla women. When a sked about the different roles of male and female participation in the war, often motherhood was the fi r st issue noted in terms of influencing and/ or supporters. Motherhood Family separation and motherhood were some of the most prominent obstacles women faced when they joined the guerrillas. There is a variety of mo therhood experiences since women who joined the guerrillas could be either married or single. Some wome n were already mothers and other s became mothers during their guerrilla were one of the most imp ortant differences between male and female combatants in the guerrillas. Women have always been perceived as the base of the f amily because they are the ones responsible for taking care of the children, doing household chores and assuring the well being of the family. Thus, the absence of women from the home is often considered


82 more kids. The real responsibility is always taken up by women; f r o m the time the child is in the womb, until he/she is an adult i nterview 2012) A s Irin a stated in this quotation, many of the women interviewed were responsible for domestic work and the care of children before and during their participation in the guerrilla struggle Peasant women w ho lived in conflict ive zones, such as the rural communities highlighted in this study, hardly ever had the opportunity to leave their children at home or with a relative since these communities were completely destroyed by the military forces. Therefore, motherhood had profound implication for all women because of their social expectation to care for their children Some women had to separate from their ch ildren. Some others had to keep their children with them u n der the worst conditions of the war. M other hood was experience differently by many of the interviewed women because they were mothers either before they joined the guerrilla movement or they became mothers while actively participating in the guerrillas. All women who experienced motherhood during t he revolution expressed hardship since they had to leave their children to do their work as guerrilla members or take them with them while performing their jobs. Co nsider the following statements of women who took their childr en to the guerrilla fronts bec ause they did not have another option available at the time of the intense persecution: I was with four kids during the war. It was h ard because we had to run with the kids in to the woods. One time in the woods, the military rounded us up, and we ran away I lost three kids the, was able to bring her siblings back to us! When we [husband and interviewee camps with my mothe r [ interviewee began to cry]. (Chila; intervi ew 2012) A shows, she was forced to take her children with her in to the woods while escaping military repression.


83 also w a s guerrilla member, but he did not take care of the kids all the time they were in the mountains /woods because he was a guerrilla combatant. S o she had to take care of a baby and her other three children by herself During the time described she was only part of the masses There were cases of women who were forced to suffocate their own babies to avoid being killed by the military forces. People from the masses would often hide in the mountains with the guerrillas to protect their lives, so when the military was close, babies could not cry because their cries would alert the mi litary forces and everyo ne There was one time, I had m y baby, and I was with other ten women who were nursing too. We were in the middle of an attack and the babies were crying. The people said, close those bab ies mouths because they [the military] will find us, and so all of the women did it. All babies died was very sad. (Chila; interview 2012) Many women lost their children during the war in different ways. As this case shows, these women were forced to suffocate their babies trying to make them stop crying in order to save other es. In addition there were cases in which the Salvadoran military forces stole babies of guerrilla parents that were found in the mountains. In the case of Sil via the military took her six month old baby S he was able to find him twelve years later thanks to the help o f Father Jo n Cortina and international hum an rights organizations (Silvia; interview 2012). Other women lost their children in combat because they were force to keep them with them rather than find a safe place for them to reside The re are cases of childr en who grew up within t he guerrilla str ucture Once they turned thirteen or fourteen years old, they would join the guerrillas as combatants and die d in armed conflicts. For example consider Bella


84 I had nine children, five were killed in the war a nd four survived. We went to a house without anything, not even a chair. When we got into a house where we were goin g to stay in San Salvador, I looked around and wondered how many of my children will I be left when I get back home [ interviewee began to c ry]. (Bella, interview 2012) In Bella ed the guerrillas as combatants, and t he four children that survived where the youngest ones. Most of the women I interviewed had lost at least one chi ld during the war. Also, when women were asked to talk about their experiences of motherhood this was the most painful subject for them M ost of them cried while re liv ing these memories. This fact demonstrates the dee p emotional effect of war experiences on motherhood for guerrilla women or women who were part of the masses There were also cases of women becoming mothers while particip ating in the guerrillas. As Irina states, give birt h in the lines of fire [in combat], and women did, so it was different. Men saw and even had to help women give birth sometimes, so they would realize how hard it is. They would say, damn! This shit is not easy, so men understood that asy thing. (Irina; interview 2012). This fact is especially true for peasant women since women who were part of the urban guerrillas or were commanders did not face the hardships of giving birth in caves, in primitive encampments in the mountains or in th e middle of a combat P easant women on the other hand were must more likely to experience these hardships. There were multiple cases of women having spontaneous miscarriages because they were in the middle of a firefight and the ballistic concussions affe cted t heir pregnancies. Elsy who served as a combat paramedic narrates how she lost her baby girl during her first pregnancy. She did not know she was pregnant and while she was in combat, she started to feel strong cramps, but she thought it was her per iod. However,


85 when she went to check, she was blee this experience: It was raining really hard and the pain got stronger and stronger, so I went to my boss and I told him that I felt really bad. I told h im about the cramps and he knew about health. I told him, I have my period and it is really down there [by th e river], and I think it is an abortion what you are having. I said yes, I think so because I could feel the baby coming out of me. (Elsy; interview 2012) er baby because she did not rea lize she was pregnant since she had symptoms S he was also inexperience d given it was her first pregnancy There were other women who gave birth in caves while they were hiding from the military forces, and there were some women th at were able to give birth in the middle of combat. There were cases of women who were ra ped and even to rtured while they were pregnant. F or some of them the fetus survived and for some others it did not Motherhood and stories of being pregnant are difficult to imagine under the conditions peasant women lived during thei r participation in the guerrillas. These were factors that men did not experience n or could they identify with such hardship. These experiences s have often been ignored because they are ofte n seen as guerrilla militants only and their social and biological roles as women are often ignored This viewpoint ignores their biological and sociocultural roles as mothers. Sexual harassment Another sociocultural expectation that shaped many many guerrilla camps was the objectification and sexualization of their bodies in a male


86 dominated environment that lead to aggressive sexual harassment behaviors from male comrades. Many women were subject to sexual harassment due to their disadvantaged position as a numerical and gender minority in the guerrilla camps. Sexual harassment in guerri lla camps was reported by some women in this study Even though this fact was avoided or ignored by guerrilla ideology that claimed equal ity for all, many women suffered sexual harassment and even rape in guerrilla camps. It is important to highlight that not all guerrilla camps or guerril las organizations were the same. O ften, the promotion of gender equality depended on local lead ership s according to most informants T wo works that further illustrate this point are the testim onies of women who participated in the FMLN guerrillas in which women analyze their experiences with gender discrimination, sexuality and motherhood ( Murguialday, 1996 and Vazquez, Iba ez and Murguialday 1996). These testimonies were compiled with the in tention of address ing gender relations and sexuality issues faced by women during their guerrilla participation. Out of all the women interviewed in this study only two made reference to sexual harassment in guerrilla camps. Furthermore, o ne interviewee r eported that she had seen and experi enced multiple forms of sexual harassment and even a rape attempt during her participation in the guerrillas. Consider Rita The majority of the boss want anything to do with him, he [the boss] would not give you permission to do certain things or he would punish you by denying your permission to leave the camp and go see your family. They would abus e their power over the women subordinate. You [as a woman] had to sleep with them to hav e permission to see your family (Rita; interview 2012)


87 This example d emonstrates how some male leaders would abuse their power over female subordinates. This is a clea r example of sexual harassment since women were forced to comply with their bosses sexual desires if they wanted to visit their families or have som e benefits within the camp. Rita expressed that many women could not handle the pressure anymore and they wo uld comply with their bosses sexual demands in order to have certain privileges with in the guerrilla camps. Another form of sexual harassment was described by Rita as a hostile environment for women where they would be objectified and se xualized at all ti mes. Consider her following statement: We were few women [in the camp]. T here was an awful environment of sexual harassment. This is an ugly comparison, but I will make it anyway. Have you seen when a female dog is in heat? It was like that. It was haras the (Rita; interview 2012) As she describes it there were few women in her camp, and it was really hard for women to ignore the sexual harassment imposed by their male comrades. In addition, Rita also experienced a rape attempt by her boss while serving in the guerrillas as a radio operator. As she narrates her story, she was sleeping by herself that night since she usually shared a tent with another female fr iend. However, her friend had gone to visit her lover, so Rita had to spend the night alone. She was alone sleeping when she felt something heavy on top of her, so she woke up, and he w as trying to unbutton her pants. But he could not achieve his goal, so she started yelling ho ping that someone would come to help her. Nobody came, but she kept yelling and he got scared that someone would come to help her, so he ran away. She further states: ]. Then I came back into the room and I started to cry and cry until the next day. I


88 day] he said, someone scared you last night huh? And so I told him, you son of a bitch, I know it was you! And he just laughed. With that I confirmed it was him. He never tried to do it again, but ever since then, w e were enemies (Rita; interview 2012) In this testimony, the inequalit y of power relation between Rita and her boss is obvious since he even laughs in her face after attempting to rape her H e does not think that what he tried to do was wrong, much less would he get punished for such action due to his power as a male an d as her boss. In addition, Rita also mentioned that she knew many w omen who were rape victims in guerrilla camps. It is important to acknowledge that there were women who suffered multiple kinds of sexual harassment and even rape due to gender inequality and gender power relations within the guerrilla structure, e speciall y those who did not hold any leadership positions. Gender discrimination Some women also pointed out gender discrimination as a nother expression of gender inequality within the guerrilla structure This gender discrimination was noticeable in terms of the division of labor within the guerrilla structure. Many women reported to have experience d discrimination in the division of labor since women were often relegated to domestic activities traditionally associa ted with their gender. Interviewed women identified gender discrimination as a significant difference between men and women in the guerrilla s structure and from comrades, as well The most difficult thing for me was the discrimination in the FMLN towards not educated, at the most they went to third grade, and they were always sent to the kitchen, and men no! They [the men] co uld never even make a tor tilla! (Roxana; interview 2012)


89 As Roxana narrates, she witnessed discrimination against women in terms work distribution within the guerrilla structure. Women who lacked education were often sent to the kitchen without considering the ir work preference. Furthermore, Roxana was disappointed about the FMLN structured since she also experienced gender discrimination. She intended to be a combatant, but the local leaders did not allow her to do so. She became involved in marketing, propaganda and education instead. Roxana also takes her frustration to a broader level where she acknowledges the fact I think we are still discriminated agai nst within the FMLN. After the Peace A c think women have shown that they are capable within the FMLN. The hardest thing for me was that discrimination because I still remember, they t wanted us to make tortillas for them. (Roxana; interview 2012) FMLN organizational structure because recognized and their contributions were undermined due to the patriarchal based regime. In addition to organizational gender discrimination, interviewed women also exp ressed gender discrimination fro m individual guerrilla members who had their own gender biases For example, many men were not willing to work with women since they thought women were not capable of doing certain things within the FMLN structure. Consider Eva de Rosa experience with a comrade and co worker: There was a man that I had to work with, and he made negative comment s working with a woman! He had a lot of experience working with unions and university marches, so he thought he was better than me because I had never part icipated in any of that bef ore. (Eva de Rosa; interview 2012)


90 As this quotation demonstrates, many women experienced gender discrimination from their peers in the guerrilla movement while trying to perform their assigned jobs. When their jobs were not traditional female roles, thei r abili ties were doubted and resisted by some men. For example, Eva de Rosa experi enced rejection from her coworker because he thought women were not good at political work. However, women were never doub ted when they performed traditional female roles in the organization as cooks or care givers. In addition, gender discrimination was not only perpetrated by guerrilla men, but by guerrilla women themselves omen had to overcome fear because we were raised to be afraid. The strugg le helped us overcome our fears and it liberated us 2012) W omen themselves also had to strug gle with their own gender biases and conceptions in order to perform their jobs within the guerrilla structure. Many women challenged t raditional gender roles and socio cultural expectations by becoming guerrilla members. They transition ed from the private to the public sphere where they performed multiple roles and jobs in the guerrilla organization. The testimonies provide d above demons trate that the ideal of gender equality was not implemented in practice since gender discrimination prevailed in multiple instances and areas in the guerrilla despite some efforts to incorporate women and avoid gender discrimination. The experiences provi ded above demonstrate the multiple ways and areas of life in which g not the same as that of male guerrilla members due to unequal gender based power relations. Thus, it is important to highlight evolutionary participation impacted their personal identity and thei r own understanding of gender identity


91 Tabl e 4 rural communities in the departments of Cabaas and Chalaten ango. Name Role Performed Luz Messenger [carrying armament] Bella FECAS Secretary and propaganda. Also worked on cooking and making reports Rita Radio communicator/operator. Tatiana Cook Ana Cook Iliana Political educator, activist work, and secreta ry of FECAS. She was part of organizing and expansion during her entire time of participation. Roxana Marketing, propaganda and education Eva de Rosa Political education messenger, and cover up. Rosibel Cook Chila Leader of AMES women's organization [ popular support organization leader] Jessenia Activist work within the community and paramedic Elsy Combatant paramedic Herminia Cook and political/activist work Silvia Masses paramedic Maritza Combatant paramedic Francisca Combatant paramedic Iri na Po litical and community activist, and masses conductor


92 Figure 4 1. Paco Metzi picture tenderness, the worry of the compa Text translation] (Me tzi, 1987, p. 129) As we can infer from the quotation, women were This view reinforce d their traditional gender role as care givers within the guerrillas while performing medical care. In this picture, these women are taking c are of a wounded guerrilla soldier. Me tzi, Paco. Hay Que Caminarlo: La Lucha Por La Salud En Una Guerra Popular San Salvador, El Savador, C.A: Editorial Universitaria, 1987. Print


93 Figure 4 2. The author of this picture is anonymous by choice and has granted direct permission to the researcher. In this picture, men and women are depicted in guerrilla military training. This picture is an illus tration of women performing non traditional female roles within the guerrilla organizational structure. Photo courtesy of C.K.


94 CHAPTER 5 IDENTITY: HOW DID WOMEN UNDERSTAND THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR? A revolutionary is someone who does not agree with something that is unj ust and wants to ma ke a change to make things just. I n that aspect, I c onsider myself a revolutionary. ( Ev a de Rosa; interview 2012 ) rank and files, and I was there twelve years without leaving a day. I am a guerrillera because I know why and how the war started, and I was there throughout the whole d knowing one can do anything! (Rosibel; interviewed 2012 ) Yes, I feel that I am a revolutionary, and I will never stop being one. What they [the military] did to me, to my husband, and to my sons, I will never forget while I am alive. (Francisca; interview 2012 ) Much attention has been given to guerrilla women who functioned in leadership po sition s within the FMLN st ructure. T hey are automatically labeled as due to their visibility as leaders W omen who performed non traditional female work as military combatants are also automatically perceived as revolutionary agents due to the glorification of military action in Latin American guerrilla warfare structures However, women who performed traditional female roles in the guerrilla as cooks or care givers are rarely included in the discussion of revolutionary identities The image of a revolutionary is often limited t o a male combatant holding a ri fle and wearing military style clothes. This limited image or version of the revolutionary might be due to Che his writings he always described a you ng guerrilla man holding his ri fle (Guevara, 1961). I mageries of guerrilla combatants as an armed male figure are limiting U nder guerrilla culture combat and military activity is glorified These areas were mainly dominated by men


95 with the exception of a few women who were deemed exceptional ly talented as combatants and commanders. Even though many feminist scholars have sought to identification as revolutionaries and their own articulation of this adopted identity. Chapter 5 understanding of their participation in the revolution, a nd their own articulation of their identity as revolutionary women. O ut of the seventeen women interviewed in this study only two resp onded that they were not sure if they consider ed themselves a revolutionary. They later explained their own definitions and understandings of a revolutionary In the course of their intervie ws, they concluded that they try to be one, but they were not sure if they fulfill ed the idealistic definition of a revolutionary. These two women had more complex understandings of what a revolutionary should aspire to be, but they both considered that th ey worked every day to become one. In addition, when all of the interviewed women were asked if they all stated that they never regret their participation in the guerrillas. When women were asked if they consider themselves a revolutionary, the vast majority would respond with an energetic : I am a revolutionary because three main reasons that women included in their identificatio n as a revolutionary were: (1) T he f act that the struggle continues and they continue to fight against injustice; (2) T he fact that they suffered as guerrilla members, and they do not forget about military repression and its repercussions; and (3) T he fact that they dedicated their lives to the


96 revolutionary struggle. Consider the following responses that illustrate these three majo r understandings and descriptions of their revolutionary identity: Yes, I am a revolutionary. I am always a revolutionary. The word revolution is u niversal. We were revolutionaries because we did not agree with the government back then. Now, if we see that again, we will oppose to it. The might not fig ht with weapons, but we figh t at the table with politics. T here is w here the revolution conti nue s (Iliana; interview 2012). esponse demonstrates her personal explanation of why she adopted a revolutionary identity durin g the war, and why she continue s to identify herself t hat way today. In the past, she was a revolutionary because she did not agree with the government and she was an activist throughout the entire revolutionar y process. In the current context, she considers that the revolution changed from a violent state of armed struggle against the government to a more ideological and political based approach Iliana continues to be active in politics and her political ideology continues to be present in her life and in her public work similar to others in her community. I liana understanding of revolutionary action goes beyond superficial understandings of r evolutionary participation because she acknowledges that revolutionary changes are a continuous process In addition, many women when interviewed also alluded to the notion that they cont inue to be revolutionaries because they keep their revolutionary principles alive and try to live by them every da y of their lives. Consider Irina tity as a revolutionary woman: There are still ma ny of us wh revolutionary roots from weaker in terms of my social consciousness and political ideo logy, bu t no. I cannot do that. (Irina; interview 2012)


97 Irin is a powerful reference in terms of revolutionary participation Her statement reflects the power of ideology and political conviction in her life and actions. interviewed related to this point, and mentioned that the ir current social consciousness and political and community activism is strongly tied to their revolutionary identity. A nother common response pro vided by women was the fact that they will not forget and do not forg ive the S t ate repression against them and their communities. Many women also referred to the death of their children or family members that died in the revolutiona ry struggle The women t hat provided these responses understood their revolutionary identities in the context of their own life experience s and life principles They strongly expressed that revolutionary ideals must be followed in order to honor the memory of t heir relatives kill ed in battle or as a result of conflict during the civil war. regarding her revolutionary identi ty: Yes I am a revolutionary until death! We worked in the struggle, and it was keep working to that my od will not be spilled in vain! (Maritza; interview 2012) This quotation demonstrates Mar revolutionary ideology Even today, she remains strongly committed to following and further fight ing re revolutionaries because only they personally, can understand how much they had suffered under military repression as civilians and as guerrilla members. Finally, a nother prominent response to this question was that women considered themselves revolutionaries because they had dedicated their lives, youth a nd efforts to the revolution. Consid of her identity as a revolutionary:


98 Yes, I consider myself a revolutionary because I left my youth there. The truth is that I do not agree with everything that happened [during the revolution], bu t I tell my kids, if you ever have to fight for a real change, do war and its consequences. I want them to have an open mind, to think about why certain things take place. One must ha ve objectives in life. (Silvia; interview 2012) identity due to her life time dedication to the guerrillas even if she did not agree with everything the leadership or the structur e represented. In addition, many women also mentioned the importance of sharing their revolutionary experiences with the future generations, their children. Most women brought up the point of educating new generations on revolutionary ideals T hese women f elt that most revolutionary values are being lost in the present because nob ody is interested in talk ing about the Salvadoran civil war. Most women said that they constantly remind their children and grandchildren about where they come from, their r evoluti onary roots. This dem onstrates two main things; (1) W rooted revol utionary culture that continues to be passed on to future generations, and (2) T he importance of oral history at the personal and community level. Peasant women from these two c ommunities demonstrate deeply engrained protest or revolutionary culture at the personal level, within their own families and at the community level. According to Linda Klouzal revolutionary women in Cuba were able to sustain themselves in the face of si gnificant trauma in three main ways: (1) Embracing a sense suffering similar to (2) The importance of community and s ecure relational ties; and (3) T he memory, through stories, of empowering acts (Bhavnani 2003 p.259 ). These three main observations provided by Klouzal


99 revolutionary identities and the effect of this claimed identity in their families and communities. One is able to witness such personal and community pr ide in terms of the revol utionary history. T he women interviewed for this study, shared their revolutionary experiences with a sense of pride and nostalgia. The fact that these women own their stories, value their exper iences and share them with family and revolutionary women dealing with trauma and daily life issues. Furthermore, I would suggest that this personal transformation shared by these women, also influences the transformation of their communities as a whole. To illustrate further the previous point consider the reflection of this revolutionary id eology in private and community physical spaces. Most of their homes display revolut ionary icons, such as Che Gue vara, Fidel Castro and C ommander Camilo next to pictures of their relatives who died during the revolution. In addition, many of them referred to revolutionary icons in casual conversations, and reported that they enjoyed liste ning to revolutionary music. At the community level, both communities demonstrate d case, this is reflected in the infrastructure T he y have kept the bombs and parts of destroyed hel icopters artifacts from the war, on display in common areas in order to The town has a mural the Salvadoran military d uring the r evolution. Most of them were guerrilla members, political activists and/or supporters of the revolution. The bomb s are located right next to a image painted on it, as a further reminder of the

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100 volu tionary past. T his town has its own local museum with historical documents and weapons that belonged to the guerrilla organization from this particular area. Similarly, the other community included in this study displays a strong revolutionary culture whi ch can be seen in the community center where there are free worksho ps and classes for the residents. Primarily young people receive art and cultural classes that include Protest Theater workshops dance and poetry performances and other forms of art. In ad dition, this community cen ter primarily promotes different kinds of activities for the elderly and youth, it is not restricted to these two age groups. When viewing the community center, every room has been named after a guerrilla member from the community who died during the conf lict as a means to honor their memory and sacrifice. In the main entrance, there are large posters on display with photos and the narratives of community members who returned to re populate the town when it was safe to do so, almos t at the end of the war. In summary both communities demonstrate pride in their historical and revolutionary history They continue to promote these values at the community level. Both communities have followed a strong revolutionary political and ideolo gical commitment that has been shared and to some extent passed on through oral history and co mmunity memory. M ost residents e ven the young are aware of their local revolutionary history, and they share it with visitors with pride. Based on in depth inte rviews and active participant observation, it can be inferred that women from these two communities three main observations through their personal and community revolutionary cl aimed identities. In addition, w omen from this case study

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101 als o illustrate stories. Relationship ties may be important to reducin ( Bh avnani, 2003, p.259). E ven though they suffered multiple traumatic life events during th e civil war, the women from both communities never presented themselves as victims of state repression or economic, political and social i nequalities. T hey presented themselves as agents of change and as activists. It is here, where the power of claiming a revolutionary identity and owning their stories, becomes visible. must be expanded to become more inclusive. Rather than only considering the stereotypical image of the arme d male combatant, the concept of what constitutes a as in the case of peasant women Even though none of the women interv iewed in this study served as guerrilla combatants only, they all identify themselves as revolutionaries. definition of guerrilla members is limiting and not representative of most the FMLN guerrilla. According to Kampwirth, women who performed low prestige roles in the guerrillas as cooks, care givers, and paramedics were not able to develop a strong revolutionary culture since they were not as exposed to it as those women who perfo rmed high and mid prestige roles (Kampwirth 2002, 2004). High prestige and mid prestige revolutionary activists were intensely socialized into the culture of the revolutionary organizations. This socialization involves studying the history of their own c ountries, reading major works of the international left, and participating in major discussion groups in which they prestige participants were much less intensely socialized probably because the leaders of the

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102 organizations d id not believe they needed to be socialize d in such ways to eff iciently carry out their work. (Kampwirth, 2004, p. 11) The majorit y of women in this study performed low prestige roles with in the guerrilla during the revolution. Even though most of them d id not read Salvadoran history books, international left ist literature or participate in discussion group s all of the women reported that they received some sort of political and historical education in the encampments in which they learned about Salvador an history and international left ist political ideology Therefore, these women were aware of the national and international political left ist discourse t hrough a process of oral education. about low prestige participants proves to b e inaccurate for women in the two rural communities that participated in this study. Despite the fact that m ost peasant women performed low prestige roles as cooks, messengers and other kind of jobs highly associated with traditional female roles, they st ill strongly identify themselves as revolutionaries e ven if they did not fit the traditional imagery of the guerrilla revolutionary. Regardless of the perceived prestige level of the work performed within the guerrilla, all of the women interviewed adopt ed a revolutionary identity. They have continued to value that identification and to apply those revolutionary ideals from the past to their new contexts developed after the end of the civil war. identities must be acknowledge d and honor ed in revolutionary historical accounts and literature.

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103 CHAPTER 6 GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT: W ERE WOMEN EMPOWERED BY THEIR REVOLUTIONARY PARTICIPATION? I think the fact that women participate d in the revol ution made us take a big step forward. During the conflict, there was some consciousness raising where men and women themselves were exposed to the idea that women were important. S o I think that without that process we would be much more behind. This we c an c learly see here [in my community] (Rita; interview 2012 ) woman could be equal to a man. We only thought about house work and having kids. That was all our work. Not now. Not anymore. Now we are able to see that (Maritza; interview 2012 ) As m entioned previously, p consciousness has not been discussed or mentioned in the literature of Salvadoran revolutionary women Karen Kampwirth for example does not significantly address peasant er m ultiple analyses have led to rapid assumptions and conclusions regarding peasant women not acquiring any kind of gender consciousness and personal empowerment This might be due to the fact that the great majority of peasant women performed low prestige ro les in the guerrilla with the exception of some cases of peasant women acquiring leadership roles in the guerrilla organization or not peasant women develop ed gender consciousness t hrough their participation in the revolutionary struggle. Salvador. As a result, m ost scholarly works have fo cused on the emergence of the

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104 where they were able to develop gender consciousness and organizational skills (Gonzales and Kampwirth 2001, Kampwirth 2004). However, most of the women who were mainly women from urban middle class backgrounds tend ed to domina te the discourse, and peasant women are seldom represented in it As demonstrate that peasant women from both rural communities in the Departments of Cabaas and Chalatenango were empowered through their revolutionary participation. Karen Kam argument, mid prestige women were able to develop a gender consciousness and therefore i dentify with feminist ide als because they were exposed to leadership and political ideology at the same time that they experienced sexism from the gu errilla T heir position [Mid prestige women] in the middle meant that, on the one hand they were not shielded from the brunt of machismo within guerrilla ranks, as were female commanders, but, on the other hand, they had the opportunity to develop political skills and consciousness that might not have been available to very l ow ranking fem ale participants. (Kampwirth, 2004, p. 10) As a result, according to this theory, high prestige women within the guerrilla organizational structure such as commanders, did not experience sexism as directly as mid and low pres tige women, so they did not f eel the need to advocate for gender equity. In addition, low prestige women did experience sexism, but they did not have the tools to develop gender consciousness, so they were not able to adopt feminist ideals,

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105 as middle prestige women did (Kampwirth 2004 ). I t is important to highligh t that of gender consciousness and empowerment is limited to guerrilla transformation of their revolutionary consciousness i nto a f eminist one. M ost peasant women are excluded from this th eory in two significant aspects. First, peasant women did no t have the means and opportunities to fully participate in the women in El Salvador because this movement wa s heavily dominated by urban middle class women. Secondly, peasant women were implicitly ignored or displaced in this argument since most of them performed low prestige roles in the guerrilla structure due the lack of formal education and multiple socio cultural pract ices an d expectations. Again c onsider the following statement: L ow prestige participants were far more likely to receive orders than to give them, and so once the war ended, they were likely to feel far less self confident a nd far less politically prepared than the ir higher prestige counterparts (Kampwirth, 2004, p. 11) most peasant guerrilla women, who had a significant level of participation in t he revolu tionary strugg le. It follows that women who held leadership position within the FMLN guerrilla structure were able to learn and further develop their leadership and organizational skills. However, it is in accurate to assume that low prestige women did not gain more self confidence and other kind of skills from their guerrilla participation. Furthermore, t his argument implies that only mid prestige women were able to gain gender consciousness due to their particular experiences within t he guerrilla structure. However the fact that urban middle cla ss women were the main participants in the and were able to articulate their identification with

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106 feminism, it does not mean that peasant women did not develop gender consciou sness Peasant women did develop a gender consciousness even though they did not directly or identify themselves as feminists. All the women interviewed in both communities articulated an understanding of ge nder equity based on men and women having the same value as human beings. They also provided their own analysis comparing how women have been historically oppressed under a patriarchal system that relegates them to the private sphere through domestic work and childb earing. In addition, they said that if they had not participated in the guerrilla during the revolution, they would not have been able to question traditional sion. Therefore, they would not have been able to develo p their current gender consciousness, in terms of gender relations and wo empowerment. T he great majority of the women in terviewed highlighted that women from their community were empowered through their revolutionary participation. However, they also expressed that at the structural level, women were still struggling to achieve more political representation Consequently, b perspectives on gender relations peasant women from the s e t wo rural communities included in this study were empowered through their revolutionary participation and life experiences with in the s must be first defined and clarified before expanding through revolutionary participation. Empowerment has been widely discussed in the development literature, but its meaning is s till being debated among scholars. F or the purpose of this study,

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107 empowerment i s definition of empowerment is especially useful in this case because it highlights the fact that em powerment is a process of change, an internal and external transformation Empowerment can be understood as a personal journey by which a person is able to make important life choices and act upon such choices. According to Kabe important life choices can be understood in three interrelated dimensions: resources, agency and achievements. The first dimension of this theory is resources, which represent the pre conditions that allow p eople to make choices. For example, resources include material and non material elements, such as access to economic and social assets. The second dimension of this empowerment theory is agency, which can be than observable action; it also encompa s ses the meaning, motivation and purpose Finally, achievements can be understood as outcom es of life choices shaped by a being. through revolutionary participation in El Salvador. Howeve r, for the purpose of this s theory, agency because m agency in the empowerment process.

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108 bilities to make important choices in their lives, which were previously denied to them. In the context of the empowerment of peasant women in El Salvador, this definition can be understood through two different, but complementary dimensions: (1) E mpowerme nt as access and control over resources and opportunities, such as economic, social, political, legal and cultural barriers under the patriarc hal hegemony. In addition, (2) e mpowerment also involves the ability to see one self differently and have the capa city to imag in e multiple life outcomes based on worth. It is this second interpretation of empowerment that seems to be most relevant to peasant women from these two notions and articulations of empowerment. First the not ion of imagination and the power of imagining different futures is an important aspect to understand empowerment in the context of Salvadoran peasant different future fo r themselves and their communities demonstrates the strength of their personal transformations through their revolutionary participation. The fact that a person acquires the ability to make important life choices that were previously denied, not only refer s to the material and/or concrete means of enacti ng personal agency, but also refer s to self esteem, identity, emotions, and a change of attitude towards life. Secondly with thei r sense of empowerment, it is helpful to revolutionary stories a s a prominent source of empowerment in their lives. The fact that these women survived the revolutionary struggle, openly challenge d the Salvadoran milita ry repressive forces, and were able to rebuild their entire communities from total

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109 destruction, can serve as a reminder of their personal strength and power. For empowered and to counter the horrible experience of being a victim, in whatever sense ( Bhavnani 2003, p. 260 ). from the two communities included in this study because they have demonstrated to find strength, a sense of personal worth and a sense of pride in their revolutionary and guerrilla life experiences. Finally, this dynamic does not take place at the individual level ( Bhavnani 2003, p.260). The women interviewed in this study often referred to this point bec ause they highlighted the importance of having a shared revolutionary and/or war experience with in their communities. And t h e comfort, support and strength they feel each time they have the opportunity to exchange war stories of struggle, lose, and hope am ong each other. Based on this notion of empowerment, women from these tw o communities have shown themselves to be empowered through their participation in the Salvadoran revolution. In order to illustrate this point, t his chapter explores the major themes of empowerment identified by rural women from the two communities interviewed in this study. Additionally, the w personal understanding d the importance of gender equ ity are highlighted to demonstrate empowerme nt through the ir participation in the revolution. The entire group of seventeen women interv iewed in both communities felt that they were empowered by their participation in the revolution Furthermore, they

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110 considered this participation as a strong facto r influencing their current understanding of e following the statement: first started to participate in a small group of f [person] I wa I feel like I can do anything! (Jessenia; interview 2012) submissive woman to a woman who enacts her agency shows that she attributes this to her participation in the guerrillas as a communi ty organizer and health educator Jessenia acknowledges the importance of her participation as a guerrilla woman since she considers that she would have never been able to develop her public speaking, self confidence and gender consciousness skills if she had not participated in the growth and empowerment as a woman. However, J essenia expands her description of empowerment b She acknowledges how women gained more value in society due to their revolutionary participation. Consider, this statement; Women demonstrated that we can do it too! Just like we all were brave enough to do all the things we did during the war, it is possible, too that we can do other things now, as well. Women started to value themselves more, to take their own opinions into account, to see their own importance as women, that th ey are capable of anythi ng too. (Jessenia; interview 2012 ) This quotation emphasizes the fact that women were able to demonstrate their capabilities by perf orming the same roles and making the same contribution as men did during the revolution within the guerrilla organization. T his allowed for a means for women to be recognized and consequently increased their value in Salvadoran society.

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111 a significant achievement because and contributions more visible Their participation further prom oted the recognition of women and men as equals with the same capabilities as human bei ngs. Consider Tatiana this fact: I think we have a big change in that area [gender] because now at least it has been recognized that women are as capable as men, and they have the same value that men do. Before we were discriminated against because men felt that the y were more valuable than women. B ut when they saw that women were doing the same work, t hey started to take women more into consideration because they saw that women could do the same jobs they [men] did. (Tatiana; interview 2012) H er explanation highlights the fact that men felt more entitled to dominate women since society in gene ral assigned men more value and privilege over wome n. However according to Tatiana when women demonstrated that they were capable of doing the same work men did, society started to recognize women, as well. In her opinion, the war created an opportunity for women to show that they were capable of doing the same jobs men had been doing. group empowerment, such as education, community participatio n and economic development It is importa nt to note that in development literature access to education and e conomic resources are often considered important indicator s empowerment in traditional patriarchal societies. These two indicators or in the context of this study, dimensions of empowerment are also articulated by women themselves as an important aspec t of their lives. Consider Iliana t no my daughter, if you are going to get married,

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112 what would you study for? So men were always the favorite ones and girls were ignored. (Iliana; interviewed 2012) Iliana statement exemplifies the ways in which patriarchal values limited rural areas, in this case in h er community. According to Iliana education of women and girls was n ot valued in her community because it was assumed they would be eventually married And for that they did not need an education. However as Iliana expressed, after th e war this mindset changed because women themselves started to value education more due to their exposure to it during the war. As she elaborated on this point, she explains that now, all children and youth h ave access to education because value s have changed in the community. In addition, some students have been able to go to the university because the community has received external support that provides scholarships for those who want to pursue higher education. Many women interviewed also menti oned the fact that their parents never let them go to school, so they did not learn how to write and read until they joined the that I am old, [even now] I barely know how t o sign my name 2012) Based on t heir personal experiences, these women value education, and they regret not having had th e opportunity to study. S o they promote education among their daughters. I am very sh y, but thanks to G od, my daughter, the one born during the war, has more opportunities. She interview 2012) T hese two women highlighted the fact that if they would have never been exposed to literacy efforts in the guerri lla camps, they would have never learn how to write their names, much less would have they been able to understand the value of education. Furthermore the fact that women can study now was a prominent

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113 advancement highlighted by women in these communities in their own articulation of Another factor highlighted by some women was access to economic dence from men. Consider Ana Before, women were to be at home only, washing clothes and tak ing care of the children, to make food hat was once the only role [of women] We never got out of the house. Now, it is not like that. Now if we have to attend way to contrib tied up to men anymore. Women have the right to sell something or do whatever. I feel good about this because w hen my hu sband left me, he ildren. I supported my family on my own with my small food business; I got a credit for it. I had never gotten a credit before, not even borrow ed money, but I did it anyway. (Ana ; interview 2012) An a point s out the fact that women were more dependent on men before, and they were restricted to the household. How ever, nowadays this is not the case anymore since women seem to have more freedom and economic opportunities in her community. This change in the com munity motivated her to get a loan in order to expand her foo d business In addition, An cook gave her the confidence to cook for large amounts of people, and it also provided her a clientele since she was well kn own in the community as a guerrilla camp cook. When she opened up her business, people from the community knew she was a cook during the war and they kept ordering food from her. Therefore, her networks during the war allowed for her busi ness to grow. Furt hermore, An a acknowledged that her participation in the war gave her the strength and confidence to start her own food business after her husband left her with all t he children. Similarly to Ana women who participated in this study had their own small businesses and some did their own subsistence farming. They mentioned that their participation in the war

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114 motivated them to follow these paths A primary reason was because in the guerril la camps they were exposed to the constant challenge of tr aditional gendered distribution of labor and sometimes even gender roles. Another empowerment is the fact that women currently participate in the public sphere through community work. Before women had a terrible position, still today there is a lot of that, but it has improved a little bit. For example, the fact that women have community care o f children and washed clothes. (Rita; interview 2012) As t his statement shows, most women interviewed stressed the importance of Most women reported that they enjoyed being active in the co mmunity and that working with other women made them happy. Some even mention ed that t hey could not stay only at home anymore. Many of them indicated that they felt satisfied about the fact that women had gotten out of their houses and were active in their communities participating in multiple areas of life. Some examples of women are participation in municipal community organizations and A major dimension of empowerment that has not been given much atten ti on in esteem, agency and gender relations esteem and awareness of unequal gender relations are key empowerment of women as a group In their own description of empowerment, women highlighted the importance of self self esteem, some women limited their response into explaining how their revolutionary

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115 pa rticipation was the main factor that influenced the development of a positive sense of self esteem and self worth as a group in society. In add ition, the awareness of traditional unequal gender relation s was another major factor that women pointed out while describing their own understandings of empowerment They often talked about examples from their past life experiences [before the war] and c situation in their communities, in general. In terms of self esteem, many women mention ed the fact that the war helped of men For instance, consider Bella un derstanding of gender relations: not less than men. We are the same, we have the same value. It is im portant that women know this because that way one is not submissive. It [revolutionary parti cipation] free d m ccording to Bella while she was participating in the guerrillas, she learned that men and women have the same valu e ; and this knowledge helped her create a more positive sense of self worth, something that she awareness about personal worth and equal gender relations in order to free themselv es and not keep being submissive. Similarly to Bella, Luz expressed the importance of a n equal The same rights tha t men have, the same rights women achismo still exists but women became stronger due to the war. We would have never know n

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11 6 suffered in the war gave us strength I f not, we would still be treated like a mop. (Luz ; interviewed 2012 ) Luz their rights in order to defend themselves. In addition, Lucia compares the circumstances of women before the war when she expresses that women were treated like a mop. This imagery describes the fact that women did not have any sort of status under a pat riarchal society because they were used and valued as men pleased only. According to Luz this is not the case anymore because women who participated in the revolution learned about their rights and value in th eir communities. understandings of gender relations, most women stressed the fact that the war he lped them develop improved self esteem as individuals and as part of a social gr oup as well. During the war I learned so many things. I learned to speak in public, before [against] a lot, and now I feel that it is not as much. Women are capable of doing anything. I d low self esteem, tho se women have low self esteem. (Chil a; interview 2012) she was able t o develop multiple facets of her life due to her participation in the revolution. In this case, public speaking helped her to improve her own self esteem. Furthermore, Chila also alludes to th e notion that it is not only she who has these abilities, but rather all women have them. They just need to be provided a n opportunity to explore them. She expands noting that many women, who were not organized or did not participate in the war, still have low self esteem since they were not been provided a space or an occasion to explore their capabilities. Similarly Rita esteem and empowerment through their

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117 alue themselves, to increase their self esteem and it demonstrated that we were capable too, not onl (Rita, Interview 2012) A ccording to Rit a, women themselves learn how to value themselves after they were able to realize the multiple capabilities t hey possessed. Therefore, women not only proved to themselves that they were as capable as men, but they also made it evident or visible to men, as well. This factor was important to self esteem as a social group and contributor to society Another theme mentioned by the women in terms of gender based inequalities is domestic violence. Many women noted communities before the war when they were much more submissive, never got out of the house, and they were not aware of the ir rights as citizens. Because of these trad itional female roles, they were more vulnerable to domestic violence and state repression. Consider this statement: Before, women were worth nothing. They [the military] could follow women and kill th the guerrillas. Now, women are more respected. It opened up spaces for only. Before, a man could hit you and hit you, a nd you had to stay with him. Now, you have to denounce him, and the pol ice will come get him! [Laughs] (Francisca, interviewed 2012). is r elevant to this discussion because s not tate sanctioned and family /domestic abuse. T his quotation thus psychological development of self worth and awareness of unequal gender relations th rough revolutionary participat ion in her community. Similarly

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118 participation in th e guerrillas changed her attitude and viewpoint in terms of traditional gender roles in society. remember that my dad used to say, women are for the house, and in the house must mong some women things have improved, but not all because there are some women that still get hit and treated badly, and they stay quite That hose times are over! (Silvia ; interview 2012) challenges traditional gender roles under a patriarchal value system where women were relegated to the domestic sphere U nder her pers onal world view this is not acceptable anymore since she learned new parameters to understand gender relations. According to Silvia, she would have never been able to overcome traditional gender roles under patriarchal rule if she had not joined the guerri llas where she learned new parameters of understanding. As a result, the women who participated in this analysis attribute the improvement of their self esteem and the application of the values of gender equity in their lives to their experiences in the gu errillas and their revolutionary experiences. The testimonials provided above illustrate the empowerment through their revolutionary participation. It is important to note that most women from these two communities performed what Karen Kampwirth has labeled as low prestige roles within the guerrilla structure The mid prestige members were women who either had some authority in es) or who did work that created opportunities for them to make decisions (such as student activism or human rights activism or political education work). Such work was much more likely to be personally emp owering than making tortillas. (Kampwirth, 2004, p 10) This argument sustains that only high and mid prestige women were empowered by their re volutionary participation, as o pposed to those who performed low prestige

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119 ies provided by women f rom the two communities included in this thesis prestige women were able to develop gender consciousness and adopt feminist ideals of gender equity appears to be false. It is possible that some women who functioned in lo w prestige roles were also empowered by their revolutionary participation since they might also have been able to develop gender consciousness, and improve their own self esteem through th of e mpowerment regardless of the perceived value of their participation. Consider Tatiana assessment of her participation in the guerrillas: Participating in the war made me feel more strength because we felt like we participated to the same extent that me n did. For example, we cooked satisfied that I was contributing and working towar ds the change we wanted to see. (Tatiana; interview 2012) Even though Tatian a performed the most u ndervalued job within the guerrilla structure, as a cook, she values her participation by stating that she contributed to the struggle according to her own capabilities. In her opinion, all contributions were valuable towards the end goal of the revolution ary struggle. As a result, the long standing assumption that peasant women were not empowered by the revolution needs to be thoroughly re valued. Were All Peasant Women E mpowered by their Participation in the Revolution ? There were two main observations fr om the communities included in this study participation One observation was related to women who did participate in the revolution, but decided to isolate themselves afte r the war by going back to their domestic traditional roles. The second observation highlighted the fact that women who

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120 did not participate in the revolution seemed to have never come out of their traditional domestic roles and continued their submissive s tatus at the private and public sphere s Few women mentioned the fact that they knew women who had been part of the revolutionary effort, but once the war ended, they returned to their quotidian life and performed their traditional domestic roles. I ntervi ewed women expressed their disappointment in these women who excelled as guerrilla members, but did not maintain their ideological principles and were not able to carry them out later in life Irina clarified that women from her community were exceptional ly empowered by their guerrilla participation, but that they were not representative of all women who participated in the armed struggle. Consider her observation about the women from her community, Women in this community own their stories, they are not a fraid to tell them. Together we enjoy talking about our experiences in the war. There are so many women who are proud of what they did and of their own experiences, but we are talking about these women only (Irina; interview 2012). elevant in this discussion because she clarifies that not all women who participated in the war were empowered by their participation in the guerrillas. But she believes the women from her community were empowered through their own revolutionary experience s. This point strongly relates to the previous at the personal and community level. Women from her community have created a space to continue practicing their revolution ary ideas through community activism. They also share their war experiences with one another, which has supported and continued their process of revolutionary empowerment.

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121 made by many women from the other community studied. It is important to highlight this similarity between these two communities that share a common history of forced guerrilla d uring the revolution. In the present day, the women from both communities showed significant levels of empowerment as a result of their revolutionary participation. They all possessed significant levels of gender consciousness and provided their own unders empowerment. The most prominent theme revealed in the interviews by women was their observations of women who had not participated in the revolutions. Most of the interviewed wome n noted that women who were never organized in their communities or incorporated in the guerrillas during the war did not seem empowered at all. Instead these women were significantly different from t hose who had been part of the revolutionary struggle. Ac cording to Rit who lived the [revolutionary] process or were part of the process in the struggl e and 2012) The most significant differences Rita was able to point out were sel f confidence, autonomy, community participation and public e women who did not participate in the revolutionary process were not able to develop skills and confidence to challenge traditional gend er roles and patriarchal belief s. M any women expressed that they had observed this significant difference between women who incorporated in the guerrilla

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122 and those who were not or had not lived in their communities during the war Consider There are differences between women who were organized and the ones who were not. For example, women who were organized, they are always participating in meetings. They are aware of what is going on in the community, and they work together. Those who were not o rganized are not aware of what happens and they do not organize themselves in the worth because that way they can defend themselves. If someone wants to make them feel les s [worthy] they can defend themselves. (Chila; interview 2012) As Chila states, based on her personal observations and experience s ex guerrilla women in her community continue to be active in multiple are as, and they know how to work together to solve community problems. However, women who were not involved in the guerrillas and did not live in this community before the war do not participate in communi ty activities. They are not as aware of their surround ings because they still remain confined to their traditional gendered roles in their domestic labor. They are also not free to move about and lack assertiveness to freely speak their minds and formulate their own opinions. Most of the women intervi ewed d escribed this phenomenon as revealing low self esteem and the persistence of traditional patriarchal values and practices in their lives. Elsy elaborates on this point: A t least the women who were involved [in the guerrillas] were able to get out of that mindset that men are worth more than women, just because they s also changed because we learned how to defend ourselves, and that men are not allowed to mistreat us bec ause we lve s, we would still be putting up with men. Without that experience I would not be who I am now. (Elsy; interview 2012) According to Elsy, the women in the guerrilla had the opportunity to challenge patriarchal beliefs including assumed male superiority and female subordination Also

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123 this way of thinking was challenged due to the fact that women learned how to defend themselves. In this context interpreted as women being aware of their equal value to men in society The women became aware of their own self worth and their rights as citizens and as women This became essential to women enacting their agency to be treated as equals to men According to Elsy, women were able to change their own traditional p atr iarchal belief s through their participation in t he revolution. The testimonies provided in Chapter 6 illustrate how peasant women from these two communities understand personal empowerment through their access to educational, economic, s ocial, and pol itical resources. All the participants in this study stressed the importance o f positive self esteem, personal agency and a sense of control over their lives as the most important indicator s of their empowerment The origin of this empow erment was associat ed with their revolutionary experie nces as guerrilla members. In addition, interviewed women share their observations on other women who were not empowered by their participation in the revolution and those women who were never part of the revolutionary st ruggle. According to the women from these two communities, they were able to draw distinctions between themselves and the two groups of women mentioned above in terms of ideologies, behaviors and community activism. Therefore, it can be inferred that women from the two rural communities of Cabaas and Chalatenango were empowered through their participation in the guerrilla revolutionary struggle. Conclusion The contributions of peasant women during the civil war were essential to the survival and mainte nance of the Salvadoran revolution ary struggle This study has

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124 attempted to shed light on participation in the guerrilla structure and to further understand their contributions to the re v olutionary efforts. The personal histories of the women interviewed in this study support both their self identification as revolutionaries and their feeling of empowered through their participation in the FML N guerrilla. These experiences have been expl ored in order to highlight the importance of their participation and to better understand the implications of such participation o n their personal lives. This study shows that the motivations of Salvadoran peasant women are consistent with most of the literature that explains n in guerrilla warfare. At the same time, this research has emphasized the importance of liberation theology in the process of social and political radicalization. This finding contradicts the assumption that peasant women were merely forced to mobilize withou t having developed significant levels of political social consciousness about their involvement. In different kinds of roles in the guerrillas as cooks, p aramedics, messeng ers, clandestine operators radio operators and p olitical and community activists Through these roles women were able to contribute to the revolution according to their pers onal capabilities and interests. Their involvement was essential and critical to the maintenance and success o f the FMLN guerrillas. I contributions and efforts in th e struggle by making their contributions more visible and cas e study since most of the literature has substantially heroic efforts It is also essential

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125 the guerrilla camps were not the same as that of men due to unequ al gender power relations. These inequalities are reflected in the undervaluing of the work traditionally performed by women inside the gue rrilla structure and the limitations within the traditional image of a revolutionary guerrilla soldier. As discussed before, traditional female roles and work in the guerrilla was undervalued while those jobs identified as mascu line were glorified. Furthermore guerrilla women claim their identity as revolutionaries, both, during and after the struggle. By claiming this identity, peasant women are challenging the predominate imagery of a guerrilla revolutionary soldier, who is trad itionally represented as a masculine figure holding a rifle. It is also important to stress the fact that women claim their revolutionary iden tity regardless of the role or job they performed with in the guerrilla structure based on the fact that they utilized their own understandings and definitions of such identification Moreover by claiming this revolutionary identity, these women seem to ex press a deep sense of empowerment and pride of their participation in the FMLN guerrillas. In terms of personal empowerment, this study challenges prominent narratives empowermen t through their participation in the revolutionary process with the FMLN guerrilla organizations. This prominent narrative assume s empowerment through revolutionary participation. However, t he major findings related to this area sug gest that women were significantly empowered through their guerrilla participation by acquiring high levels of self esteem and control over their lives. In addition, women have verbalized through their testimonial statements, and concretely

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126 demonstrated th rough their actual life experiences, their personal commitment to the The findings of this case study cannot be overgeneralized to the point of suggesting that all peasant women were empowered by t heir participation in the revolution. There are multiple l imitations to the study in terms of the sample size and the studies had similar historical background and present acti vist community work. Also, all the women who were willing to be interviewed were part of the same community network in which they all know each other and work with one another in multiple organizations to do community work. In addition, this research only includes the experiences of peasant women from two communities in northern El Salvador who were actively incorporated in the FMLN guerrilla movement. In order to determine if their participation in the revolution is the main cause of their sense of empower ment, it would be appropriate to also incorporate in the same study the experience of guerrilla women who returned to their tra ditional domestic roles after the revolutions and the women who were never part of the guerrilla movement. A more holistic persp ective of these three Another significant empow erment framework. Resources and outcomes are not considered to illustrate the level of empowerment experienced by the women who participated in this study. However, the main focus of this study lies on the process, in which women enact their own agency. Th e inclusion of these three interrelated dimensions proposed by Kabeer would promote a more

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127 Nevertheless I purposely decided to only focus o n the process of agency because this study has been guid ed by participants and what they have identified as important in their lives. Based on the interviews, women regarded agency as the most important dimension of empowerment. A s a result, this study highlight s their own u nderstandings and motivations for enacting that agency as an important aspect of their articulation of empowerment. Despite its limitations this case study sheds light on the fact that peasant women from the two rural communities, from which this analys is is based, were empowered by their participation in the guerrilla during the revolutionary war in El Salvador. This finding not only challenges previous notions of peasant women not being empowered by their revolutionary participation, but it also opens up a whole field for further research in terms of repopulated villages and towns. Both of the rural communities in this study are repopulated towns, which could suggest that repopulated villages might further enhance r specific circumstances. There has not been much literature produce d in this area of research However, Salvadoran repopulated village of Copapayo conducted before the end of the war found that women from this town were makin g major ndings regarding Copapayo strongly resonate with the two rural repopulated ity and empowerment through community participation and work. However, Juli does not center her study on how ex during the war influence d

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128 their empowerment and activism in their repopulated communities. Therefor e, further res earch is encouraged participation in the revolution and their levels of empowerment in repopulat ed areas in order to establish a more comprehensible argument. This research has highlighted the importance of revolutionary identity and personal empowerment through revolutionary participation to peasant women from two personal empowerment testimonies have contributed to the vi sibility of, not only their experience as revolutionary peasant women, but also to the value of their contributions to the revolutionary struggle and to Salvadoran history in general. This thesis major aim has been to provide a space to reveal and honor Sa experiences, struggles, hardship, activism, visions, dreams and hopes through their own voices. As this research has exposed has significantly impacted their lives In this process, peasant women from these two communities have developed their ident ities as revolutionary w omen and community activists. The revolutionary ideals of change, love, justice, community and a vision of a better live will forever be with the women who particip ated in this research project. I capture and emphasize people to not forget history. Do not forget what wom en contributed to the political project of this country [El Salva

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129 APPENDIX A IMPORTANT POLITICAL AND GOVERNMENT REPRESSIVE NATIONAL EVENTS TIMELINE 1930: The Communist Party of El Salvador is founded. Their work mainly foc used on Guazapa and San Salvador (Archivo Documental, El Salvador: Guerra Revolucionaria, 1980 1992). 1932: More than 30,000 peasants are killed by the military under General Max imiliano Farabundo Marti is killed by government orders. (Montgomery, 1982, p. 52 53) 1970: C abanas and San Vicente (Archivo Documental, El Salvador: Guerra Revolucionaria, 1980 1992). 1972: The Revolutionary Army of the People/Ejrcito Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP) is formed (Archivo Documental, El Salvador: Guerra Revolucionaria, 1980 1992). 1975: The National Resistance/Resistencia Nacional (RN) seeks autonomy from the ERP and it forms its own political military organization (Archivo Documental, El Salvador: Guerra Revolucionaria, 1980 1992). As a response to the increas ing organized left, the Salvadoran government responds with the creation of the Anti Communist Wars of Liberation Armed previous military branch created for the same purpose to crush political armed forces officers who operated with impunity due to their intimate connections to the oligarchy and military within which and from whom they 1980: Monsignor Romero is killed by Salvadoran death squads under the orders of ( White, 2009, p. 100 Gonzales and Kampwirth, 2001, p. 34)

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130 Four church women from the United States, Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan are raped and killed by five members of military forces, three of whom were graduates from the United Sates military institution, the School of the Americas. The women were helping Salvadoran war refugees, which made them a target for the military forces because they were helping to protect people persecuted by the military oligarchy alliance. (White, 2009, p. 101) Th e Five Guerrilla Groups: Communist Party of El Salvador/Partido Comunista People/Ejercito Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP), National Revolutionary Party/Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores Centro Americanos (PRTC) come together to form the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) guerrilla organization (Gonzales and Kampwirth, 2001 p. 34) The revolutionary civil war officially begins 1981: Massacre at El Mozote left more than one thousand unarmed civilians dead under the U.S. trained Atlacatl Battalion in Morazan province (White, 2009, p. XXIII). Only one person, Rufina Amaya, survived this massacre. She dedicated her life to serving as a witness to this atrocity by sharing her testimony and denouncing the killing of hundreds of children, women and men from the village. Rufina Amaya, as th e only survivor of this massacre was committed to and Henrriquez, 2012, p. 15 was the Atlacatl Battalion, which was supported a nd trained by the U.S. military. In fact, 10 of the 12 officers in charge were graduates of the School of the 2009, p. 102) The Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) is founded by Roberto (White, 2009, p. XXIII) 1982 The elections of 1982 further demonstrated the alliances between the United sponsored elections in Christian Democratic Party (PDC) candidate Alvaro Magana becomes president (1982 1984) through political corruption, and repression against the Salvadoran people. (Whi te, 2009, p. XXIII) 1989:

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131 Alfredo Cristiani, the right wing candidate from the ARENA political party, wins the presidential election (White, 2009, p. XXIII). Final o ffensive by the FMLN guerrilla forces takes place in San Salvador, the capital of El Sal vador. This major nationwide offensive against the military government to the bargaining table (White, 2009, p. XXIV) In November, six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her d aughter are assassinated at University of Central America San Salvador by military death squads (Gonzales and Kampwirth, 2001, p. 34) 1992: The civil war officially ends with the Peace Accords negotiated and signed by the FMLN and the Salvadoran governm ent in Chapultepec, Mexico. The FMLN becomes the offi cial opposition political party (Gonzales and Kampwirth, 2001, p. 34) The revolution in El Salvador was not only fueled by the multiple national events mentioned above in terms of the political repr ession from the government, and the political military consolidation of diverse insurgent groups in the country; but it was also strongly influenced by international events that transformed economic, political and ideological world views within the country Some of these influential international events are the following: Relevant International Events Timeline Cold War (1947 1991): The Cold War was a period of political and military tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. The main premise of this debate was between western ideology (neoliberal capitalism and democracy) and communist ideology. The United States implemented a policy of containment, which sought to stop the spread of communism worldwide. This context is relevant to El Salvado supported the military dictatorship throughout the twelve years of war by providing financial aid and other resources based on the Cold War ideological principles which mandated an end to revolutionary upheaval as a means to stop stop communism (Pastor, 1992, p. 65 never a communist revolution. Cuban Revolution (1953 1959): The Cuban revolution was led by Fidel Castro against the repressive dictatorship of Fulgencio Batist victory became a symbol of excitement and hope for many Latin American countries under repressive military dictatorships. It also became an example of ns

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132 (Write, 1991, p. 41) The Second Episcopal Conference in Medellin, Colombia (1968): Bishops from all of Latin America gathered at this conference to discuss a new approach towards religious practices in the Catholic Church. This conference was a major political event because the old alliance of the church with the military and the wealthy powerful elite was challenged for the first time (Montgomery, 1982, p. 99). The concept of Liberation Theology was born from the Medellin conference when bishops urged the church to defend the poor, oppressed and disenfranchised. Liberation theology promotes working for the poor and working towards their self Therefore, liberation theology was an essential factor to the Salvadoran revolutionary effort because it promoted grassroots organization and education of the poor. In fact, many people, especially women became active, either joining the guerrillas or supporting them, through the Christian Based Communities. emergence and sustainability during th e revolution, but also because they provided a space for common people from the general population, the masses, to engage and to participate in socio political discourse and activities. Sandinista Revolution (1978 1979): The Sandinista revolution in Nic aragua was a rebellion by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) against the Somoza dictatorship (1960s 1970s). In 1979 the FSLN overthrows the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza (White, 2009, p. XXII). The Sandinista revolution also had an importan a role model of revolutionary victory, but also as a source of ideological and success, the United States became more and m ore involved in Central America as a whole, and the U.S. policy in El Salvador strengthened from their fear of another revolutionary victory in the region (White, 2009, p. 102). Ronald Reagan takes office as President of the United States (1981): s office aids the military and right wing politicians in El Salvador until the that Soviet Cuban power was advancing in the world and that the United States must devote all its en 67). In addition to this ideological fear of the spread of communism, the United States also had multiple economic and political interests in El Salvador and other Central American countries. The United States feared that their businesses and economic investments in the region could be threatened by the wave of revolutionary struggles in Central America (White, 2009, p. 70). Thus, during this year, the United States accelerated its military and ot her aid to the Salvadoran

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133 2009, p. XXIII). Furthermore, the United States provided military training on counterinsurgent techniques that involved torture, assassination and milita ry political repression against civilians, political activists and guerrilla members for the Salvadoran military among many other military dictatorships in Latin America (White, 2009 and Gill, 2005).

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134 AP P ENDIX B LIST OF INTERVIEWED WOMEN IN BOTH RURAL COM MUNITIES IN NORTHERN EL SALVADOR Table B 1. This table lists all the women interviewed in both communities their age at incorporation in the guerrilla and the role they performed during the civil war. It also shows the women who reported revolutionary ide ntity and the level of empowerment experienced through their guerrilla participation. Name Age at Incorporati on Role Performed in the Guerrilla Structure Current Age Reported Revolutionary I dentity Reported Levels of Empowerment through Guerrilla Particip ation Luz 40 Messenger [carrying armament] 70 Yes Reported strong level Bella N/A FECAS secretary and propaganda. Also worked on cooking and marketing reports 67 Yes Reported strong level Rita 13 Radio communicator/operator 34 Yes Reported strong level Tatiana 28 Cook 57 Yes Reported strong level Ana 24 Cook 56 Yes Reported strong level Iliana 33 Political educator, activist work, and secretary of FECAS. She was part of organizing and expansion during her entire time of participation. 72 Yes Reported strong level Roxana 13 Marketing, propaganda and education 34 Not sure if she is a revolutionary, but sure that she follows revolutionary ideals, and she tries to be one every day of her life. Reported strong level Eva de Rosa 37 Political education, mes senger, and cover up. 61 Not sure if she is a revolutionary, but sure that she follows revolutionary ideals, and she tries to be one every day of her life. Reported strong level

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135 Table B 1 Continued Name Age at Incorporati on Role Performed in the Guerrilla Structure Current Age Reported Revolutionary Identity Reported Levels of Empowerment through Guerrilla Participation Rosibel 21 cook 61 Yes Reported strong level Chila 25 organization 55 Yes Reported strong level Jessenia 19 A ctivist work within the community and paramedic 44 Yes Reported strong level Elsy 13 Combatant paramedic 38 Yes Reported strong level Herminia N/A Not fully incorporated but she was a cook and did a lot of community development work 63 Yes Reported stro ng level Silvia 13 Masses or civil population paramedic 47 Yes Reported strong level Maritza 15 Combatant paramedic 58 Yes Reported strong level Francisc a 29 Combatant paramedic 62 Yes Reported strong level Irina 29 P olitical and community activist a nd leader in the conduction of masses 58 Yes Reported strong level

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136 AP P ENDIX D SEMI STRUCTURED QUESTIONNAIRE USED FOR IN DEPTH INTERVIEWS IN BOTH RURAL COMMUNITIES 1. Por Qu decidi incorporarse a las guerrillas apoyar a las guerrillas? [ Why did you decide to join and/or support the guerillas? ] 2. Cuntos aos tena? [ How old were you? ] 3. Estaba casada o tena hijos? [ Were you married or did you have children? ] 4. Era usted activa polticamente antes de incorporarse? [ Were you politically active before joining the guer rilas] 5. Qu fue lo ms difcil que vivi despus de incorporarse? [ What was the hardest thing you experienced after joining the guerrillas? ] 6. Cmo fueron afectadas sus relaciones personales durante la guerra? [ How was your family/personal relations hip life affected once you joined? ] 7. Qu rol o trabajo des empe usted durante la guerra? [ What was your role or task within the guerrilla structure (what was your job) ? ] 8. Alguna vez tuvo un puesto de liderazgo dentro de la guerrilla? Me puede explicar que haca y com o la haca sentir este trabajo? [ Did you ever perform a leadership role? If so, in what area? Can you please explain what you did and how did this your experience made you feel? ] 9. Alguna vez pens en dejar las guerrillas? [ Did you ever think ab out quitting the guerrillas?] 10. Cul fue la razn principal que la mantuvo part i cipando dentro de la guerrilla? [ What was the main thing that kept you going in the revolutionary struggle? ] 11. Usted cree que haber sido parte de la guerrilla fue distinto para h ombres y mujeres? Por qu? [ Do you think that being part of the guerrilla was different for men and women? Why? ] 12. Qu tipo de trabajos vio usted que realizaban los hombres y las mujeres dentro de la guerrilla? Hacan lo mismo o era diferente? Explique. [ What kind of Jobs did you see men and women doing? Did they had the same job o r were they different? Explain] 13. Cmo mujer, como cambiaron sus percepciones sobre el rol de la mujer y el hombre (genero) y sobre las normas sociales en cuanto al comportamient o apropiado para hombres y mujeres durante la guerra? [ As a woman, how did y our perception of gender roles ( what it means to be a men and a woman according to Salvadoran culture) and social conceptions ( what is appropriate for

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137 men and women to do in societ y) changed during and after the war? How your experience as a female combatant in the guerrillas did changed your perceptions and believes about gender? ] 14. Usted cree que la participacin de la mujer en las guerrillas/guerra ayudo a mejorar la situacin soc ial, poltica o econmica de la mujer en El Salvador? Por qu? [ social and/or political s tatus/situation in El Salvador?] 15. En general, usted piensa que la mujer realizo un rol importa nte en la revolucin? Por qu? [ In general, do you think women played an important role in the revolution? ] 16. Cules son las cosas ms importantes que aprendi de su participacin en l a guerra? (personal/social/poltica etc) [ What was the most important thing you learned in your participation in the revolution as a woman? ] 17. Basada en su experiencia como revolucionaria, que leccin le gustara dejar/pasar a futuras generaciones? [ Based o n your experience as a revolutionary, What lesson would like t o pass on to future generation?] 18. En su opinin, cual fue el mayor logro de la revolucin? [ In your opinion, what was the most important achievement of the revolution? ] 19. Debido a que el FMLN nun ca tomo el poder en el pas y se firmaron los acuerdos de paz, usted cree que la revolucin fallo/fue en vano? [ Since the FMLN never took power after the revolution, but instead we had the peace accords, do you think the revolution failed? Do you think you r work was in vain or not? ] 20. Usted alguna vez se arrepiente de haber participado en la revolucin? [ Do you ever regret participating in the guerrillas? ] 21. Cmo cree usted que su participacin en las guerrillas cambio su identidad personal (la forma en que usted se ve a si misma y la forma en la que otros la ven/perciben)?Usted cree que la mujer tomo un poco ms de fuerza despus de la revolucin/guerra? Por qu y cmo? [ A s a woman how do you think your participation in the gu errillas changed your identi ty ( the way you see yourself and the way others around you see you) ? ] 22. Usted se identifica como revolucionaria, por qu? [ Do you identify yourself or see yourself as a revolutionary? /Would you call yourself a revolutionary? Why and why not?

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138 LIST OF REFERE NCES Amaya, Rufina, Mark Danner, and Carlos Henriquez Consalvi. Luciernangas en El Mozote 10thth ed. San Salvador: Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, 2012. 15 20. Print. 2 008). "Archivo Documental: Organizaciones Politico Militares." El Salvador: Guerra Revolucionaria, 1980 1992. Ed. Juan Farjado. Marxist Internet Archive, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. . Berryman, Phi llip. Liberation Theology: Essential Facts About the Revolutionary Movement in Latin America and Beyond Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987. Print. Bhavnani, Kum Kum, John Foran, and Priya A. Kurian. Feminist Futures: Re imagining Women, Culture a nd Development Development: Sources of Well New York: Zed Books, 2003. Pg. 265 262. Print. Chant, Sylvia H, and Nikki Craske. Gender in Latin America New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers Univer sity Press, 2003. Print. Diaz, Nidia. Nunca estuve sola (Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana unidad Xochimilco, Editorial Mestiza, 1989) Gill, Lesley. Santiago de Chile: LOM Ediciones, 2005. Print. Rivera, Victoria, and Karen Kampwirth. Radical Women in Latin America: Left and Right. University Pa rk: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001. Print. Guevara, Ernesto. Guerrilla Warfare. New York: M[onthly] R[eview] Press, 1961. Julia, Maria. "The Changing Status Of Women: Social Development In A Repopulated Village." International Social Work (1994) : 61. Women's Studies International eb. Kabeer, Naila. "Resources, Agency, Achievements: Reflections on the Measurement of Women's Empowerment." Development and Change 30.1999 (1999): 435 64. Print. Kampwirth, Karen. Women and Guerrilla Movements: Nicarag ua, El Salvador, Chiapas and Cuba University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. Print.

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139 Kampwirth Karen Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004. Print. Levine, Daniel H. Po pular Voices in Latin American Catholicism Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1992. Print. Luciak, Ilja A. After The Revolution: Gender and Democracy In El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala 2001. Baltimore. John Hopkins University Press. Print. Martine z, Ana Guadalupe. Las crceles clandestinas de El Salvador First edition ed. San Salvador: UCA Editores, 1992. N. pag. Print. Mason, David T. "Women's Participation in Central American Revolutions A Theoretical Perspective." Comparative Political Studies 25.1 (1992): 63 89. Print. Melhuus, Marit, and Kristi A. Stlen. Machos, Mistresses, Madonnas: Contesting the Power of Latin American Gender Imagery London: New York, 1996. Print. Menendez Rodrigez, Mario. Voices from El Salvador. San Francisco CA : Solidarity Publications, 1983. Print. Me tzi, Paco. Hay Que Caminarlo: La Lucha Por La Salud En Una Guerra Popular San Salvador, El Savador, C.A: Editorial Universitaria, 1987. Print. Montgomery, Tommy Sue. Revolution in El Salvador: Origins and Evolution. Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 1982. Print. Murguialday, Clara. Chiapas San Salvador, El Salvador: Mujeres por la Dignidad y la Vida (Las Dignas, 1996). Print Pastor, Robert A. Whirlpo ol: U. S Foreign Policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean Princeton N.J: Princeton University Press, 1992. Print. Pearce, Jenny. Promised Land: Peasant Rebellion in Chalatenango, El Salvador London: Latin America Bureau, 1986. Print. Pea, Lorena. R etazos de mi vida: testimonio de una revolucionaria salvadore a. Osean Sur, 2009. Print. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies Volume 24, Number 2 & 3, 20 03. 122 131.

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140 Reinharz, Shulamit, and Lynn Davidman. Feminist Methods in Social Re search New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print. Rief, Linda L. "Women in Latin American Guerrilla Movements: A Comparative Perspective." Comparative Politics 18.2 Jan. (1986): 147 69. Web. American women in the civil ri ghts movement, Gender, American Journal of Sociology 101, 6 (1954 1965): 1661 1693. Web. Rodriguez, Ileana, and Rosario Montoya. "Women, Guerrillas, and Love: Understanding War in Central America (1996)." Women's History Review 8.1 (1999): 179 81. Web. Roggeveen, Erica. "Revolutionary women in El Salvador : the Farabundo Mart National Liberation Front, women's organizations, and the transformation of the position of women". 2003. Available electronically from: < >. Sajjad, Tazreena. "Women Guerillas: Marching Toward True Freedom? An Analysis Of Women's Experiences In The Frontlines Of Guerilla Warfare And In The Post War Period." Agenda 59 (2004): 4 16. Women's Studies International Web. Critical Inquiry, Volume 17, Number 4, Summer, 1991. 773 797. Edward J. Olmos. Maria's Story Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2010. Shayne, Julie D. The Revolution Question: Feminisms in El Salvador, Chile, and Cuba New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 2004. Print. Stevens, Evelyn P. "Machismo and Marianismo." Society 10.6 (1973): 57 63. Print. -De Guerrilleras Y Colaboradores Del Fmln. Madrid: Horas y Horas, 1996. Print. Viterna, Jocelyn S. "Pulled, Pushed, and Persuaded: Explaining Women's Mobilization into the Salvadoran Guerrilla Army." American Journal of Sociology 112.1 (2006): 1 45. CSA. Web. W hite, Christopher M. The History of El Salvador Wes tport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2009. Print. Wright, Thomas C. Latin America in the Era of the Cuban Revolution Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2001. Print.

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141 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Nathalia P. Hernandez Ochoa grew up in El Salvador where she enhanced her passion for histories and experiences In 2005 she moved to the United States to the State of Madison Wisconsin where she earned her b achelor s d egree in International Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison in spring 2011. Currently living in Gaine sville Florida, she received a m aster s d Studies and Certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida in the summer of 2013.