The United States made El Salvador one of its top priorities in the 1980s as the communist threat from the Soviet Union made its way to El Salvador. The Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Farabundo Martí­ National Liberation Front (FMLN), was supported by the Soviet Union via Cuba and became the target of the hard line politicians that ruled in El Salvador.

In order to combat the guerrilla movement, the United States structured its policy around national security to justify intervention in El Salvador. The three main points of the policy were to prevent a left-wing takeover by the communist-backed FMLN, to promote democracy by establishing free elections, and to reduce the number of human rights abuses that were rampant at the beginning of the 1980s.

The question of whether or not the United States was successful in its efforts in El Salvador was a very controversial one. Through the analysis of the perceptions and statements of the United States Ambassadors that were assigned to El Salvador between 1979 and 1992, this thesis will show that the three-pronged policy was successful. It is important to note that El Salvador still has many issues to address before it fully recovers from the civil war, but the policy of United States during its civil war was achieved.



College and Department

David M. Kennedy Center



Date Submitted


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El Salvador, U.S. policy, central america, communism, diplomacy, human rights, death squads, ambassadors, national security