Aug 5, Belfast
Additional events are being scheduled in Washington DC, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and other cities.
On March 24, 1980, the assassination of El Salvador’s Archbishop Óscar Romero rocked that nation and the world. Despite the efforts of many in El Salvador and beyond, those responsible for Romero’s murder were never punished for their heinous crime. Assassination of a Saint is the thrilling story of an international team of lawyers, private investigators, and human-rights experts that fought to bring justice for the slain hero more than two decades after his death. In this gripping narrative, Matt Eisenbrandt recounts how he and his colleagues interviewed witnesses and former members of death squads while searching for evidence on the conspirators and those who financed them. As the team worked towards the only court verdict ever reached for the martyred archbishop’s murder, they uncovered information with implications for El Salvador and the United States to this day.
“The assassination of Archbishop Romero was a pivotal event that had profound spiritual as well as political effects. When it happened, though, no one expected that it would set off years of tireless investigation and ultimately a spectacular court case in the United States. This sequence of events makes for a rich story that is crying out to be told.”
“It has taken Matt Eisenbrandt a decade to write this beautifully crafted volume, but it was worth waiting for. It is a timely addition to the literature on Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom…. He has produced a gripping detective story…”
“Part detective story, part historical reminiscence, it shows the reader how hard it is to prosecute such cases, and why so many human rights violators go unpunished.”
“Using the investigation as a framework, Eisenbrandt weaves the history of El Salvador with the social and international dynamics (including those of the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations) that precipitated the assassination and the subsequent civil war that spanned 1980–92…. An intriguing story filled with tragic “if-only’s” and powerful examples of courage.“
“[A] fast-paced, often heartbreaking look into a uniquely depraved period of the Cold War.”
“Eisenbrandt’s book includes interviews with other witnesses and accomplices of the crime, as well as previously unknown information from the investigation which led to the 2004 lawsuit…. One of the book’s most gripping sections is the testimony of a mole from a leftwing guerrilla group who during the 1980s worked at the Arena party headquarters.”
“A web of lies and obfuscation by U.S. and Salvadoran officials, murdered witnesses and the passage of time have blurred the possibility of finding the truth. Yet this book strives for that hidden truth, a vital, missing link in understanding not just the death of Romero, but the history of Central America and the role of the United States in shaping that history.”
“In my opinion the Saravia case bids fare to become a landmark in the history of human rights law and, as such, its story needs to be told with all the care and credibility one close to the case could muster.”
“Much of Eisenbrandt’s Assassination of a Saint is a detailed account of the complex process of tracking down Álvaro Saravia and the various witnesses needed to prove the findings by the UN truth commission that he took part with Roberto D’Aubuisson in the murder of Archbishop Romero. It is a tale told well that provides valuable insights into the motives and modus operandi of the death squads in El Salvador, and of the financiers who commissioned and facilitated such crimes.”
“Assassination begins like a crime thriller, complete with a criminal manhunt, before transitioning into a courtroom drama. Ultimately, however, the book’s lasting value is as a work of history…. [A] well-resourced and well-written work that offers a unique perspective on one of the great crimes of the late 20th century and the pursuit of justice that remains, regretfully, mostly denied.”