The Salvadoran government, in a statement issued Jan. 5, blames "the extreme right" for the deaths of three land-reform officials. It has also extended for another 30 days a state of modified martial law imposed nearly a year ago, "because the causes that motivated the suspensions of citizens' guarantees still prevail."
Monitor Latin America correspondent james Nelson Goodsell says the government statement represents a sharp departure from previous practice, since it specifically singles out the right. Although the government claims it is centrist, most of its public pronouncements have tended to single out the Salvadoran left for criticism.
The three land-reform officials -- Jose Roldolfo Viera, head of the Instituto Salvadoreno de Transformacion Agraria, and United States advisers Michael Peters Hammer and Mark David Pearlman -- were killed in the coffee shop of the El Salvador Sheraton Hotel late Jan. 3. Both President Carter and President-elect Reagan have condemned the killings.
Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte also condemned the killings and launched a government investigation of the incident.