Abducting Children in El Salvador’s Civil War: An Approximation to Luis Mandoki’s Voces inocentes 2004

stephanie Orozco, University of South Carolina Aiken

Luis Mandoki’s Voces inocentes 2004, provides a gruesome reality, in the midst of firearms and warfare of children, namely that of young boys 12 years and older, during the Salvadorian government’s civil war with the leftist guerillas (1980-1992). Mandoki’s strategy of exploring the war from a child perspective begins with a terrifying image of a distressed 11-year-old boy, Chava, and his friends marching along the riverbanks in the pouring rain escorted by fellow classmates and other teenage boys only to be executed by the military. The film explores the common practice of abducting children to forcefully join the government armed forces to fight the civil war or otherwise be killed or taken by guerrilla fighters. And though, Latin America has had a long history of civil wars and dictatorship, it is almost impossible to forget the influence and toll that American politics took in developing countries such as El Salvador—and the reasons why such abductions took place in the first place. Though partly based on the memories of Oscar Torres, the film intertwines the U.S. contribution to the political conflict in El Salvador, through subtle and critical images of U.S military men and their hoovering influence in the film. The hidden images are partially intertwined hidden with the much greater scope of government officials abducting young boys to become part of the armed struggle. The aim of this paper/ presentation, therefore, is to highlight the atrocities not only against young boys and children in Voces inocentes, but more importantly to provide a closer approximation to the image of American politics involved in Salvadorian politics as seen in the film.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 129. Childhood in Times of Turbulence