Roberto D'Aubuisson (1944-1992), a Salvadoran right-wing politician, death squad leader and a major in the Salvadoran Army, during the Savadoran Civil War, El Salvador, 1988. (Photo by Scott Wallace/Getty)
Arturo Viscarra, advocacy coordinator for the School of the Americas Watch, a human rights group organized to oppose the U.S. training of Latin American military forces used to attack civilians, was six months old when his family brought him to the United States. They fled violence in El Salvador the same year Romero was killed.
Viscarra told HuffPost he was happy to hear that the pope had declared Romero a martyr, but also said he hoped Romero's recognition by the Vatican would spur more discussion about how he died.
El Salvador never convicted anyone for Romero's killing
, but a U.N.-sponsored truth commission found in 1993 that Roberto D'Aubuisson, one of the alleged architects of the country's right-wing death squads, masterminded the attack
D'Aubuisson studied at the School of the Americas
, a U.S. military institute reviled among Latin America's left for having trained leaders of the wave of right-wing dictatorships that took power in the region from the 1960s through the 1980s.
For Viscarra, that training serves as a reminder of Romero's condemnation of U.S. funding
of the repressive Salvadoran government, which U.S. leaders justified as a means of containing communism during the Cold War.
"There needs to be further accountability for those that committed these human rights violations, including the killing of Romero -- and including the U.S., who bear responsibility for atrocities including this one," Viscarra said. "If you're going to talk about a martyr, there should be discussion of who's responsible for his murder."