From 1980 until 1992, El Salvador’s military government battled the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in a bloody civil war ignited by disparities between the social classes—particularly farmers versus the nation’s wealthy landowners. This landmark 12-year period was characterized by civilian massacres and a draft that recruited child soldiers, with the final death toll estimated at 75,000, not accounting for the 8,000-plus citizens who vanished without a trace.
Museo de la Revolución Salvadoreña, also known as the Museum of the Revolution, commemorates the events, heroes, and victims of the Civil War from Perquín, a Salvadoran municipality in the country’s northeastern hills. The one-story museum houses a collection of wartime artifacts and memorabilia, from the gunned-down helicopter that killed Domingo Monterossa—the colonel responsible for the infamous El Mozote Massacre of 2011, in which over 800 civilians were murdered—to the studio of Radio Venceremos, the leftist radio network that broadcast its mission throughout El Salvador’s rural regions.
Outside, visitors can see the gigantic crater left by a 500-pound bomb funded by the United States military, and crawl through hillside tunnels dug by guerrilla rebels.
Former guerrillas offer guided tours of the museum, lending an imperative first-person context to the artifacts on view. Their profession as tour guides is an attempt to activate so-called alternative tourism, which endeavors to draw North American and European visitors away from the capital and to important historic sites such as this across the country.