The Latin American Studies Dept. will host US Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) on March 18.
Assoc. Prof. Douglas Marcouiller, SJ (Economics), the program's director, said the Worcester congressman was instrumental in persuading American lawmakers to end military assistance to the ruling dictatorship in El Salvador following the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests and two women at the Jesuit university in San Salvador.
At that time, McGovern was chief aide to the late US Rep. J. Joseph Moakley (D-Mass.), who headed a congressional investigation into the slayings.
"In spite of stonewalling by both the Salvadoran government and our own State Department, the Moakley Commission eventually proved that the murders at the Jesuit university were committed by regular Salvadoran army forces acting under orders from the high command," said Fr. Marcouiller.
The cutoff spurred the negotiation of a 1992 peace accord, ending a 12-year civil war during which 75,000 people died, Fr. Marcouiller said.
More recently, he said, McGovern has championed the cause of ensuring the constitutional rights of all citizens in the wake of last fall's terrorist attacks.
"In September, October and November, Jim McGovern was one of the few members of Congress to ask whether there is any limit to what can be justified in a war against terrorism," Fr. Marcouiller said.
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