US steps up effort to stop Salvador's death squads

Following months of subtle effort by the Reagan administration to pressure El Salvador into stopping right-wing death squads, US Ambassador Thomas Pickering has used a public forum and blunt words to warn prominent Salvadoreans that failure to end the terror endangers efforts to foster democracy.

Speaking here Friday to a group of businessmen, Pickering said El Salvador's government had failed to take action against right-wing death squads, despite knowing who was involved and despite losing US aid as a result of the violence.

Meanwhile, the Salvadorean military has carried out a shake-up giving tough right-wing officers key commands aimed at boosting the government's flagging campaign against left-wing guerrillas. The list of 20 changes was the biggest shake-up since Defense Minister Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova took command of the armed forces in April.

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