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The Legacy of Ignacio Martín-Baró

2010 November 16

The Legacy of Ignacio Martín-Baró

Exactly twenty-one years ago, during the night of November 16, 1989, a team of military assassins – many of them trained at the U.S. School of the Americas – murdered six Jesuit professors at the University of Central America in El Salvador, along with their housekeeper, and her daughter. Among them was psychologist and priest Ignacio Martín-Baró. Father Nacho, as he was known to the Salvadoran peasant communities he worked with, was a leader in and theorist of the liberation psychology movement in Latin America. In his memory, the Ignacio Martín-Baró Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights, of which I have been a board member for many years, makes small grants to activist groups throughout the world. (See a PowerPoint with quotes and images of Ignacio Martín-Baró: IMB Quotes – Final)
…..In a few days, the organization School of the Americas Watch will be holding its annual demonstration at Fort Benning, Georgia, demanding the shut down of the School of the Americas, (now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC.)
…..The only readily available source for Martín-Baró’s writings in English is Writings for a Liberation Psychology, edited by Adrianne Aron and Shawn Corne. Aron is a psychologist, author, and translator who has worked for many years with survivors of torture. She has also recently published the long-awaited first English translation of Mario Benedetti’s play Pedro and the Captain (more on this in a coming post.)

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