Potentially important changes are afoot in El Salvador. The replacement of the defense minister by Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova and other shifts in the military could mean tougher prosecution of the war against the guerrilla forces; that is, more in line with US advice. This can only happen, however, if there is a thorough restructuring of the military command and a rooting out of corruption.Skip to next paragraph
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It can also be hoped that the changes will mean greater stress in Managua on human rights. The way to the hearts and minds of the Salvadorean people is not through guns and violence but through sensitivity to the need for continuing social and economic progress. Unless this becomes and stays central to the Salvadorean government's policy, the US-backed military effort will count for naught.