The single shot from a rifle that hit Archbishop Oscar Romero straight in the heart as he was saying mass at San Salvador’s Church of the Divine Providence on the evening of March 24, 1980, was to send shockwaves through El Salvador and the world. Even in a country where murder had become a way of life, this was considered a singularly wicked act.
Few Salvadorans were in doubt as to the identity of the killers. Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, a military intelligence chief, widely perceived as the godfather of the Salvadoran death squads, had publicly railed anyone perceived as supporting left-wing guerrillas in Salvador’s civil war. Romero and like-minded liberation theologists were at the top of his hit list.