El Salvador president Mauricio Funes

In his acceptance speech after being elected as El Salvador’s latest president, Mauricio Funes said, ‘In the name of the Salvadorean state, I recognise that agents belonging to the state, including the armed forces and public security bodies, committed grave human rights violations, including massacres, forced disappearances, torture, and other forms of repression, carried out mainly against defenceless civilians unrelated to the conflict. I recognise publicly the state’s responsibility for these deeds, as much as by action as by omission, given that it was and is the state’s obligation to protect its citizens and guarantee human rights.’

‘In the name of the Salvadorean state, I ask for forgiveness from the boys and girls, men and women, old and young, religious, farmers, workers, students, intellectuals and human rights activists and all those who have been unable to stop grieving because they do not know the whereabouts of their loved ones. May this forgiveness serve to dignify the victims and contribute to the healing of the country’s wounds and the building of a future filled with hope.’

He ended his speech with a reference to Romero:

‘I reaffirm today my preferential option for the poor, as it was expressed by our martyred bishop and the spiritual guide of the nation, Monsenor Oscar Arnulfo Romero.’