Twenty years of peace

The signing of peace accords in El Salvador opened a new chapter of political freedom that has not been mirrored in the economic realm. Reconciliation after a civil war is a long road with ups and downs. However, at the end of the road, justice must prevail.

Monday’s act of contrition by President Mauricio Funes on behalf of the government for the massacre at El Mozote, which occurred more than 30 years ago, is one of the necessary gestures to begin healing the scars of a 12-year civil war that claimed 75,000 victims.

This does not mean those responsible for the massacre of 936 people-450 of them younger than 12-in four nights and days in December 1981 should go unpunished.

Not having the names of those who committed human rights violations be part of military altars is reasonable. It is fair for amnesty laws not to protect the human beasts responsible for El Mozote. Laws can be modified, and over the long term, the road to reconciliation also travels through justice.

The accords set the base for a solid political system that allowed for democratic rotation, so yesterday’s guerillas can become part of the government with voter support.

Unfortunately, solidifying democracy in itself does not solve economic problems or the lack of public safety that exists in this Central American country. Poverty and gangs are pending issues-two key factors to improve the quality of life for Salvadorans. This is a new front that must be conquered.