The Salvadorian people faced political oppression for decades before 1980. Nearly all of the Presidents of the nation were officers in the army who were tied to the corrupted military and government. At one point, Bishop Romero had ordered local militaries to “stop the killing” and “disobey your superiors in the name of the higher law.” He was assassinated the next day in church. Although it was democratic by definition, the government did not listen to the voices of its people as the nation crumbled. The United States decided to involve itself because its leaders felt that basic human rights had been violated, and it wanted to avoid having another dictatorial regime besides Cuba. The United States then began training officers, soldiers and even “death squads” who were sent to El Salvador. Although they came to “protect human rights,” they began slaying large numbers of Salvadorians across the country for various reasons but primarily for not adopting the policies that the United States was attempting to implement. Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas’ Watch, even said: “I was more scared than Vietnam.” This implied that the country was an all-out war zone and it had to be horrific for people of the country. He then went on to point out an important distinction: “The people who came to the United States in spite of this turmoil didn’t emigrate, they fled.” He said this to instill the idea that they left their homes literally to save their lives, not because they wanted to originally or had the option. However, during their civil war, only three percent of Salvadorian applicants were granted political asylum in the United States. It was also very problematic to cross illegally. This led to devastating results across the country. One disturbing testimony from Maria Guarado, an immigrant and torture survivor, summarizes the worst scenes that the Salvadorian citizens faced. She tells of a story from during the civil war: “One of them [army officers] raped me…they flipped me over and shoved a stick in my rectum.” This violent tale is representative of a situation the Americans did not anticipate.
Mexico had a much different experience with the United States. This interaction began when the United States started expanding westward onto the Mexican-owned land. Although they owned the land, it was not populated enough to be protected by the Mexican government during American expansion. The Americans pushed slavery (now abolished in Mexico) into newly acquired lands in Texas and further westward. This fueled the Spanish-American war, which resulted in an American victory. Although the Americans could have taken much more land, they ended up drawing the line where they could acquire the most land with the smallest population. These events are summarized very well by a well-known Spanish saying: “We