When the subject of our lastest episode told me that he had worked with Oscar Romero, I became emotional, excited and wanted to capture his story on camera. Oscar Romero, if you aren’t familiar, is the Salvadorian equivalent of Martin Luther King. He was elected as Archbishop of El Salvador during a time of political turmoil and was expected to fall in line with government policy. He slowly shifted from being a conservative pawn of the repressive government, to the spokesperson for the impoverished people of El Salvador. He was shot in the heart while performing Mass the day after one of his most famous sermons, which ended with:
“…In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cry rises to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you: stop the repression.”
I had studied abroad in Nicaragua and El Salvador learning about the revolutions in the 70/80s that were so famously undermined by the US, so I was curious to hear what our episode subject, Nelson Escobar, had to say. He didn’t want to talk much about the time period. He alluded to his work with Romero, and how he left the Catholic service after the bishop was shot to fully engage in the revolution. He wasn’t a “guerillero” (guerilla) per se, but suggested that he was fully involved with the liberation movement.
Despite Nelson’s unwillingness to expound on his past, the ideas of Romero and the Latin American faith in the cooperative model, still rang true in his words and the work that he was doing in Louisville. I was inspired by him and his passion as well as that of his friend and co-worker Elmer.