Lima Sometimes there is real substance behind the symbols and that is the way I felt walking down the concourse in the semi-renovated San Salvador airport in El Salvador when suddenly we walked up a 5 feet tall by 10 or more feet long mural commemorating Archbishop Romero,the martyred face of repressive civil war that I could argue only really ended with the recent elected of a former FLN guerrilla as President. Part of the airport had been modernized since my one visit here some years ago and in the formulaic way that all international airports are increasingly just shopping malls with airplanes instead of trucks parked in the bays, it was refreshing to not only stumble into a very political grace note, but find the mural presiding over the transition between old and new in the airport.
Not surprisingly there was nothing overtly political in the mural at all. The message was beatific. Children hugging the Romero. Early days when he was a younger priest. Romero presiding over the stain glasses of the cathedral. The message was still hard to miss. Romero cared about people and the people care about Romero, so why was he murdered by the thug killers of the elites for his messages in support of equity and the poor?
The mural had only been dedicated in February and March of this year, short months ago, seemingly to welcome all to a new El Salvador.