Former Minister of Defense of El Salvador Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, who was deported from the United States on Wednesday. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, public domain)
Central America, El Salvador, Latin America: Week in Review, North America, United States

US Deports Salvadoran ‘Dirty War’ General

April 9, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — U.S. authorities on Wednesday deported a ex-army general from El Salvador for his alleged role in human rights abuses during that country’s civil war, which ran from 1980 to 1992, the most prominent deportation to date under a law aimed at expelling rights violators.

Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova lost an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals on March 11, a decision which upheld the 2012 ruling that he was eligible for deportation due to his involvement in torture and illegal killings, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a press release.

Vides Casanova was deported under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which contains provisions for the deportation of accused human rights violators. The law has been used to expel more than 740 people.

Among other crimes, Vides Casanova was found by U.S. authorities to have been involved in covering up the 1980 rape and murder of three American nuns and one female church volunteer, an act committed by members of El Salvador’s National Guard, of which he was then in command. He later served as Minister of Defense.

His lawyer argued that his deportation would be unjust, since he had committed the alleged offenses as a close ally of the United States, a supporter of the Salvadoran government’s counterinsurgency campaign against Marxist guerrillas, according to The New York Times. Vides Casanova had been living in Florida since 1989, but since 1999 he has been fighting a lawsuit filed by a family member of one of the nuns killed in 1980.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • North Korea told Mexico Wednesday that it would take “necessary measures” to reclaim one of its ships that ran aground off Mexico’s coast in July, which the UN says belongs to a blacklisted shipping firm but North Korea maintains is being illegally detained.
  • Colleagues of Carmen Arestegui — the prominent Mexican journalist famously fired after investigating the real estate of Mexico’s first lady — announced they will start legal proceedings to have her reinstated, saying that censorship is “unacceptable in a democracy” and urging citizens to join their fight for justice.


  • Cuban dissidents were jeered during a civil society forum that was part of the Summit of the Americas in Panama on Wednesday, with supporters of Cuba’s government calling them both “imperialists” and “mercenaries” before marching out of the auditorium.
  • Eighty percent of Cubans have a favorable view of U.S. President Barack Obama, and 97 percent are optimistic about the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, according to an opinion survey conducted by Miami-based firm Bendixen & Amandi. However, for some Cubans change is not coming fast enough, with the vague nature of new policies and the lingering U.S. embargo remaining as obstacles.

Central America


  • U.S. State Department counselor Thomas Shannon flew into Venezuela on Tuesday to meet with President Nicolás Maduro ahead of the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama, which will commence on Friday. Counselor Shannon arrived in Venezuela on the same day that Maduro announced the promotion of two Venezuelan officials previously sanctioned by President Obama in February.
  • In an interview on April 7 with Reuters, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that the greatest roadblock to signing a peace agreement between the government and FARC rebels is to get the leftist guerrilla group to face charges for human rights abuses.
  • Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa endured a social media gaffe on Wednesday when a picture of him next to a boy wearing a T-shirt that said “I’m with Stupid” spread across Twitter, and became a trending topic in the country.

Southern Cone

  • The President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez on Wednesday said that the United States should help with the living costs of the six former Guantánamo Bay detainees currently living in the South American country.
  • Amid mounting tensions over a possibly illegal real-estate transaction made by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s son, the president on Wednesday dismissed rumors that she will be resigning, but acknowledged the corruption scandals that have recently plagued her administration, bringing her approval ratings to the lowest in her career.
  • The economy minister of Argentina announced on Wednesday that the country is suing Citibank Argentina over the deal made between the banking group and U.S. creditors.

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