When Guadalupe Mejía began looking for her husband, a community spokesman forcibly disappeared by the Salvadoran forces in 1977, it was Oscar Romero who encouraged them to speak despite the danger.
"Unity and so I will be able to find loved ones," recalls Mejía, 75, to the Archbishop of San Salvador, who tells her and other mourning women. "He supported us and was always next to us in everything we did."
Romero earned powerful enemies because he spoke out against military death squads and advocated for the rights of the poor ̵
On Sunday, Romero officially becomes a saint
while the Salvadorans celebrate his canonization, pride and joy are tempered by anger and pain: 75,000 people were killed during the war Civil War, the majority in the hands of the US-backed Salvadoran military
An amnesty law after the end of the conflict guaranteed impunity for war crimes and was lifted in 2016. Law enforcement agencies have moved slowly
"We still have not seen justice," said Marīa Irma Orellana, 64, whose sisters and two brothers were killed during the Civil War. "We still feel this lack of justice in many cases."
Romero's assassination is no different: no one was ever convicted of planning or executing the murder – or the massacre that took place when troops shot into the crowd
A UN truth commission concluded that Roberto d & # 39; Aubuisson – an army officer and founder of the far-right Arena Party – was responsible for ordering the murder. D & Aubuisson, who died of cancer in 1992, has never been brought to justice.
Today, Romero's bespectacled face is omnipresent and looks up from stamps and posters about San Salvador.
But in life he was deeply divisive. The canonization of Rome was bitterly opposed by conservative politicians and clerics, not least because of its connection with the leftist movement of liberation theology.
Right-Wing Politicians Now publicly publicize the support for the canonization of Romero.
Arena Carlos Calleja's presidential candidate has pledged to support "a true search of truth" in this case. However, the party still denies that its founder participated in it and celebrated d & # 39; Aubuisson's 75th birthday in August.
The Supreme Court declared the Amnesty Law 2016 unconstitutional, and the following year, the María Human Rights Association María Julia Hernández succeeded
"The search for justice in the case of Archbishop Romero also means honoring all the sacrifices he defends" said Ovidio Mauricio García, the director of the association. "His case is the most emblematic, because behind his case there are more victims and people who have been murdered, abducted and tortured."
Although the civil war ended in 1992, peace never came to El Salvador. American immigration policy helped establish the street gang, originally based in California, to settle in the country. Today, gang warfare, judicial impunity and political corruption have made it one of the most violent places in the world.
Mejía is still waiting for justice in the case of her husband's disappearance – as is Orellana in the case of sibling killings.
"He died, but he left his legacy for us," Mejía said. "So that we can continue to fight and one day win what we seek – peace, justice and freedom."
Sofía Hernández, who traveled to Rome to celebrate Romeros canonization, said that no one ever was charged – let alone persecuted – with the disappearance of her daughter, two siblings and four nephews
"There are many of us victims and we want peace, justice and reparation, "she said over the phone from Rome. "We will continue to fight for our demands, so that the petitions of the victims are accepted." Romero has taught us. "