Enemies of War (2001)


The 1989 assassination of six Jesuit priests unravels the political corruption embedded in El Salvador’s civil war.


For nearly a decade, El Salvador had been experiencing the cruel intensity of civil war, a conflict reportedly fuelled by billions of dollars in aid from the United States government. Then, in 1989, an unspeakable crime occurred, one that would shock the international community and eventually lead a nation towards peace. Enemies of War examines the horrific murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter, and the subsequent political and social ramifications as seen through the eyes of a Salvadoran family, a United States congressman, an ex-ambassador, and an American priest. Enemies of War, shot on location in El Salvador, Mexico City and Washington, D.C., looks at the war from the perspective of civilians like Margarita Acosta de Alas. This Salvadoran mother of five explains how her husband Rigoberto fought with the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebels. She shares a story of high drama, a life on the run, forced separations from her husband, and narrow escapes from the Salvadoran army’s bombing and infantry attacks. She speaks of the atrocities perpetrated by her government’s army, killing citizens, pregnant women, and children.

United States Congressman Joe Moakley, appalled by the brutal murders of the Jesuits and responding to an international outcry, led a task force to investigate the deaths. His investigation began an international process that actually led to the end of the war and the beginning of a profound change for El Salvador.

Father Dean Brackley, an American Jesuit priest, travelled to El Salvador in early 1990 to fill the teaching position at the University of Central America left vacant by the murder of one of the Jesuits. He wanted to continue the Jesuit tradition of teaching the poor to demand and expect basic human rights.

Enemies of War examines the historic Peace Accords of 1992 and the findings of the UN Truth Commission on El Salvador. Enemies of War explains how ordinary people made extraordinary contributions to one of the boldest experiments in recent memory – the creation of peace in a land that for years had only known war.


  • 2000 Latin American Studies Association – Award of Merit in Film.
  • 2000 Chicago International Television Competition – Certificate of Merit.

Production & Filming Details

  • Narrator(s):
    • Martin Sheen.
  • Director(s):
    • Esther Cassidy … (co-director).
    • Rob Kuhns … (co-director).
  • Producer(s):
    • Esther Cassidy … co-producer.
    • Rob Kuhns. … co-producer.
    • Bill Kavanagh … field producer.
    • Deborah Shaffer … executive producer.
  • Writer(s):
  • Music:
    • Gary Pozner.
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
    • Rob Kuhns.
  • Production:
    • SCETV (co-production).
    • iTVS (Independent Television Service).
  • Distributor(s):
    • Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) (2001) (USA) (TV).
  • Release Date: 18 January 2001.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Awaiting video.

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