Farabundo Martí

Agustín Farabundo Martí Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [faɾaˈβundo maɾˈti]; May 5, 1893 – February 1, 1932), popularly known as Farabundo Martí, was a Marxist-Leninist activist and a revolutionary leader in El Salvador during the 1932 Salvadoran peasant massacre.

Early life

Martí was born in Teotepeque, a farming community located in Departamento de La Libertad, El Salvador. After graduating from the "Salesian Secondary School" of Saint Cecilia of Santa Tecla, he entered the University of El Salvador in San Salvador. Early on, Martí believed the exploitation of the country's poor was for the profit of the rich, and he became known as a Salvadoran revolutionary and a martyr for the Salvadoran people.

Revolutionary activity

Categorized by Miguel Mármol, in his testimonio, an intellectual but a proletarian-like young man,[1] Martí decided to drop out of his Political Science and Jurisprudence program at the University of El Salvador to fight for his community and nation. In 1920, he was arrested for taking part along with other students in a protest against the Meléndez-Quiñónez dynasty, which was ruling the country. His arrest subsequently led to his exile from the country, and he took up residence in Guatemala and Mexico until his return to El Salvador in 1925. Returning from exile, Martí was appointed as a representative to go to the conference of the Anti-Imperialist League of the Americas in New York City. Upon arriving in New York, he was once again arrested and then released. In the meantime, he also worked with Nicaraguan revolutionary leader Augusto César Sandino.[2]

Martí became involved in the founding of the Communist Party of Central America, and he led a communist alternative to the Red Cross, called International Red Aid, serving as one of its representatives. Its goal was to help poor and underprivileged Salvadorans by the use of the Marxist-Leninist ideology. In December 1930, at the height of the country's economic and social depression, Martí was once again exiled because of his popularity among the nation's poor and rumors of his upcoming nomination for President the next year.

Uprising and death

Once the new president was elected in 1931, Martí returned to El Salvador and, along with Alfonso Luna and Mario Zapata, began the movement that was later truncated by the military.[3] They helped start a guerrilla revolt of indigenous farmers. During that time he was acting as the Interim General Secretary of the Party.[4] The Communist-led peasant uprising against dictator Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, fomented by collapsing coffee prices, enjoyed some initial success, but was soon drowned in a bloodbath, being crushed by the Salvadoran military ten days after it had begun. Over 30,000 indigenous people were killed at what was to be a 'peaceful meeting' in 1932; this became known as La Matanza (The Slaughter). President Hernández Martínez, who had himself toppled an elected government only weeks earlier, had the defeated Martí shot after a perfunctory hearing.


Martí remains a martyr figure for El Salvador’s Left. His legacy is invoked in the name of the Salvadoran political party Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional or FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), which fought, during the 1980s, against the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military government. In that war, grave human rights violations were disproportionately committed by the military government and linked paramilitary death squads, as well as by members of the FMLN, according to the Truth Commission of El Salvador.

The FMLN remains one of El Salvador’s major political parties.


  1. Roque Dalton, Miguel Marmol (Bogotá: Ocean Sur 2007), p. 186.
  2. Roque Dalton, Miguel Marmol (Bogotá: Ocean Sur 2007), p. 160.
  3. Página Oficial de la Juventud Farabundo Martí Archived 2008-03-07 at the Wayback Machine at jfarabundomarti.org
  4. Roque Dalton, Miguel Mármol (Bogotá: Ocean Sur, 2007), p. 186.

See also

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