Heaven on Earth

Dos niñas haciendo bordado
Two girls doing embroidery

In the 1970s, the peasant communities in the departments of Chalatenango and Morazán were isolated, with a high child mortality rate, and without services such as drinking water, education or health care.

It was during this time that communities began to form Christian Grassroots Communities (CEBES). They organized to unite their communities, improve living conditions and create "Heaven on Earth". The National Guard of El Salvador watched these collective initiatives warily and responded with selective repression of catechists.

Mujer bordando
Woman Embroidering

Subsequently, the first clandestine guerrilla cells appeared in those areas. In 1980, the army led large counter-insurgency military operations and carried out massacres against civilians. These events forced hundreds of people to seek refuge in neighboring Honduras in the form of refugee camps, which later came under the protection of the United Nations (UNHCR).

"Our communities were a quiet place where people were engaged in the production of sisal, coffee and sugar cane, also planting corn."