People's Revolutionary Army (El Salvador)

People's Revolutionary Army
Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo
Participant in Salvadoran Civil War
IdeologyRevolutionary socialism
ERP combatants 1990

The People's Revolutionary Army (in Spanish: Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP)) was one of five leftist guerrilla organizations that comprised the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). Formed on October 10, 1980, the FMLN was one of the main participants in the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992).


The People's Revolutionary Army of El Salvador (ERP) was formed by three different groups in 1970. The first of these groups were social-Christian University Students that took part in a local campaigning for literacy. They later joined the Social Christian Student Movements (MESC), who were members that branched off from the Democratic Christian parties (PDC). The second group that helped create the ERP were members from the Union of Young Patriots (UJP) and the Salvadoran University Catholic Action (ACUS). Joaquin Villalobos and Rafael Arce Abalah were activists who came from the ACUS and were integral parts of the formation of the ERP. The last group that made up the ERP were activists from the Jose Celestino Labor Institute who consisted of members from the Union of Young Patriots (UJP) and the Salvadoran Communist Party (PCS). These activists focused mostly on teaching young members of the ERP to be future leaders. The ERP focused on armed struggle in order to promote social justice and install a more democratic government. The ERP was officially formed in 1972 by left wing Christian Democrats who wanted to inspire they wanted to inspire the common people to revolt against the government and to have complete control over the government. The ERP's area of operation was located in the regions of Santa Ana, La Guacamaya, and Progresso (Bindford). The ERP focused on Che's foquismo; this meant that the most intellectual people of the working class formed together to recruit other members of the working class. The ERP wanted to be the center of the El Salvadoran revolution while gaining support from the discontented of and to cause a violent uprising or insurrection by performing military attacks. The Campesinos were one of the ERP's main support groups, along with the Catholic Church. The close relationship between the ERP and the church is evident in the ERP's symbology. On May 10, 1975 some members of the ERP gathered together and murdered Roque Dalton, an ERP analyst and poet. Dalton's first choice was to be a foot soldier but was rejected as members thought his role during the revolution was to be a poet. Many members of the ERP including Villalobos became fearful of Dalton's true intentions while members of the ERP in 1975 fought amongst one another for power. This fight for power led members of the ERP to betray their own in fear of being spied on by members such as Dalton. Dalton was a main target from beginning interrogated by the CIA while held in prison in Cuba before joining the ERP. The murder of Dalton caused a rift in ERP as members began to leave to join either the National Resistance(RN) or the Armed Forces of National Resistance (FARN). Later in 1982, the ERP joined as one of the four parties that comprised the FMLN. The four groups within the FMLN consisted of the Popular Liberation Forces (FPL), the National Resistance (RN), the Revolutionary Party of Central America Workers (PRTC) and the ERP. The importance of joining the FMLN was to be united with other groups that shared similar ideas of overthrowing the local government.