Oscar Romero

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Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980) Archbishop of El Salvador from 1977 to 1980. Romero's call for human rights and social justice led to his assassination on March 24, 1980 by right wing terrorists. The Archbishop was shot as he conducted mass. Ironically, given his iconic status as a champion of the poor and oppressed, Romero was initially regarded as a conservative by many in El Salvador. Many of the clergy associated with the so-called 'liberation theology' movement were dismayed by his appointment. However a growing realization of the grinding poverty endured by ordinary Salvadoreans and of the brutal nature of the government led him to become increasingly outspoken in his criticism. A UN report in 1993 identified Roberto D'Aubuisson as the man who ordered the assassination. D'Aubuisson founded the right wing ARENA party, currently in power, and organized death squads to carry out political assassinations and other human rights abuses.

Archbishop Romero is one of the ten 20th century Christian martyrs commemorated in Westminster Abbey, England. Other martyrs in this group include victims of both the Communists and Nazis.