1932: Farabundo Marti

On this date in 1932, legendary Salvadoran revolutionary Farabundo Marti was shot after his peasant uprising against the military government was crushed.

Marti’s visage watches over two generations of guerrillas. (From the University of New Mexico)

La matanza had erupted just 10 days before against dictator Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez. The communist-led rebellion, fomented by collapsing coffee prices, enjoyed some initial success but was soon drowned in a bloodbath.

Hernandez Martinez, who had himself toppled an elected government only weeks earlier, had the defeated Marti shot after a perfunctory hearing.

Marti remains a martyr figure on El Salvador’s left, and certainly presents a favorable contrast to the half-century of military rule that followed his death. He is the namesake of the leftist Salvadoran party FMLN — the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional — which fought a guerrilla war against the country’s U.S.-backed oligarchy in the 1980s. The FMLN is today one of El Salvador’s two major political parties.

On this day..