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The Zona Rosa attack was a guerrilla attack that took place in the Zona Rosa nightclub area of San Salvador, El Salvador at approximately 21:30 on June 19, 1985. The attack was conducted by gunmen dressed as Salvadoran soldiers, and in total twelve people were killed: four United States Marines, two United States businessmen, a Guatemalan, a Chilean, and four Salvadorans. A left-wing guerrilla group, the Central American Revolutionary Workers' Party (PRTC), and its terrorist arm, the Mardoqueo Cruz Urban Commando (CMC) claimed responsibility for the attack.

In July 1985, as part of the Combat Terrorism Act, the United States offered a reward of $100,000 U.S. dollars for information leading to the conviction of the attackers. By September 1985 the Salvadoran government had arrested four men, one of them was Américo Mauro Araujo, a high-ranking Salvadoran Communist Party official. Seven others who were involved in the attack, however, were never apprehended.[1]

Contents

The attack

The four Marines sat down at an outside table at Chili's restaurant in the area known as the "Zona Rosa" in the San Benito district. They were regular customers known to the owners of restaurants and cafes in the area and to those who worked there. They used to go there in groups whenever they were off duty.

The four marines were Staff Sergeant Bobby J. Dickson, Sergeant Gregory Weber, Staff Sergeant Thomas T. Handwork, Sergeant Patrick R. Kwiatkowski, who were with two other Marines, were responsible for security at the United States Embassy. The Marines, although not in uniform, were easily identifiable as United States Marines by their haircuts, clothing, and security radios.[citation needed] There is no evidence that they were carrying weapons. After a while, two of them left the group and went to sit down at a table in the Flashback restaurant a few yards away from their companions at Chili's. One witness said the Marines were approached by a young man who briefly spoke with them and then bicycled away. Ten minutes later, at about 9 p.m., ten men—wearing camouflage shirts and caps and riding in a light-colored pickup truck—arrived in front of a group of four adjacent sidewalk cafes. The patrons of the cafes dismissed the group as a military patrol conducting a search or a document check.

The truck parked on the street in front of Chili's where the Marines were seated. The attack element jumped from the truck and turned toward the customers while others from their group deployed to adjacent security positions. The attackers moved directly toward the table where the Marines were seated while firing on full automatic with U.S. M16s, German G-3s, and Uzi submachine guns. Fire was initially directed at the Marines but was then turned against other patrons. One Marine was reportedly chased into "Las Pizzas" cafe and killed. Several other armed men provided security by directing gunfire towards the Brazilian Embassy across the street.[citation needed]

On June 21, 1985, a juvenile delivered an envelope to the Salvadoran National Police containing a communique he said he found in a telephone booth. The envelope contained a note from a Salvadoran guerrilla group called the Central American Revolutionary Workers' Party (the Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores Centroamericanos or "PRTC"), which was one of the guerrilla groups constituting the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). The communique stated that the FMLN claimed responsibility for the "annihilation attack against American military advisors".[citation needed]

Attackers

In 1992, three men were convicted of taking part in the gun attack. They were released the same year, having served their sentence.[2] The mastermind of the attack, Pedro Antonio Andrade, was arrested in 1989 but was allowed to remain in the United States after giving help to authorities until 1997,[citation needed] when he was deported to El Salvador.[3]

References

External links

See also

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