"We can't just start over with a clean slate, like the government says. It's never gonna be forgotten or wiped clean. We can forgive, but we won't forget." - Rufina Amaya, El Mozote Survivor
Until December 11, 1981, El Mozote was just a tiny hamlet, nestled deep in the mountains of El Salvador. Eleven days later, its one thousand people, mostly children, were dead. Surrounding villages were razed. When the elite army battalion that executed the massacre returned to base, its soldiers were sworn to silence. For the next decade, the Salvadoran and U.S. governments put up a wall of denial. Beyond the overgrown ruins of El Mozote, the official "truth" prevailed.
But now the story of what happened in the village, and the question of responsibility, have taken center stage in El Salvador's quest for conciliation. DENIAL finally puts on record an event that shaped the war, politics and media coverage of El Salvador for almost the length of the fighting. The war may be over, but not the conflict that splits Salvadorian society. The government has passed an amnesty law that closes the door on all abuses committed during the war. Feeling untouchable, those responsible for the Mozote massacre continue their death squad activities in city streets, jeopardizing the country's efforts to build a future by its failure to settle its past.