Topic: Roberto D'Aubuisson

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Major Roberto D'Aubuisson Arrieta (August 23, 1944 - February 20, 1992) was the Salvadoran Army officer and political leader who founded the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), which he led from 1980 to 1985. He was known as "Chele," or "light-skinned face," and was organizer-leader of the death squads who tortured and killed thousands of civilians before and during the Salvadoran Civil War. To political prisoners, D'Aubuisson was "Blowtorch Bob" and "The Blowtorch," due to his favored torture device.

D'Aubuisson was born in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, graduating from the national military academy in 1963. He was trained in communications at the School of the Americas in 1972, subsequently joining Salvadoran military intelligence.

From 1978 to 1992, before and during the civil war, he commanded death squads. Among his victims was San Salvador Archbishop Óscar Romero, a prominent Catholic clergyman. On May 7, 1980, six weeks after Romero's assassination, D’Aubuisson and a group of civilians and soldiers were arrested on a farm; the raiders found weapons and documents identifying D'Aubuisson and the civilians as death squad organizers and financiers, and of planning a coup d’état to depose the Revolutionary Government Junta (1979–1982) governing El Salvador. Their arrest provoked right-wing terrorist threats and institutional pressures, leading to D'Aubuisson's return from Guatemalan exile. Thereafter, on right-wing television, he regularly denounced the JRG and specific enemies; these enemies in turn were often assassinated soon after the broadcasts.

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