Morazan, a revolution as told by its people / Morazán, una revolución contada por su gente (2015)
Country: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, UK, Spain
Running time: 117 mins (Spanish), 118 mins (English)
Aspect ratio: 4:3 SD (Upscaled version 16:9 FullHD under production)
Type: Movie, documentary
Language: Spanish, English
Genres: Documentary, war, social sciences
For those who haven’t gone through it, wars happen and are forgotten; they are accurately dated; and specific political decisions and actions explain them. Reality is far more complex. For those who live an armed conflict, war doesn’t have a clear beginning and ending; ethics behind decisions and actions are different from the general diplomatic interpretation from accommodated societies. Its roots and branches go beyond borders and dates. The human emotional factor interweaves with the cold and strategic calculations that a superficial reading offers. El Salvador suffered an eleven years long civil war during the 1980s. Join us to this journey to Morazán to understand the reality of a revolution before, during and after it happens.
Watch Morazan, a revolution as told by its people
The following is my documentary on the Salvadoran Civil War. It is an almost two hours and half film following the steps of Chiyo, who takes us to the region of Morazán to meet the people and the places that better explain a social revolution: the view from the common people who fought it.
The documentary is also available in Spanish:
I visited El Salvador for first time in 2005 during the months of July and August. I went to volunteer for the Museum of the Word and Image (El Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen). By then I was very influenced by the documentary style of recently Oscar winner Michael Moore. I think many people in the media industry were. That was also the time so many freelance journalists covered the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The BBC and Channel Four were broadcasting documentaries never shown since the Vietnam War. Films that denounced atrocities committed by US troops, the torture ring of the CIA and other Western made calamities. It wasn’t only war what those freelance journalists were looking for. There was a huge number of documentaries made in that style that looks as if the presenter is doing it all and revealing the truth about everything that surrounds us. Well, those times are over! Today there is no room for that journalism unless someone doesn’t mind facing the so many anti-terrorist laws that can fall in a well intentioned journalist wanna-be.
Anyway, that was the context. To me, being from Palestinian descent and feeling as I should learn more about peoples struggle against the powerful, I thought that learning about the revolution in El Salvador would help me to comprehend the motives that drives people to join an armed fight against a whole army.
So during my time in El Salvador, whenever I wasn’t working for the Museum of the Word and Image, I was making interviews and visiting Morazan, the region of El Salvador with the greatest opposition to the government forces during the civil war. Well, The Museum of the Word and Image was founded by no other than Santiago, the founder and voice of rebel radio Radio Venceremos. So I was pretty much in constant contact with ex-guerrilla members.
I went to El Salvador two more times during the next years. The second time I setup the digitalisation department of the museum under the CLAMA project (Cultural and Linguistic Archive of Mesoamerica) funded by the University of Indiana. The third time was in 2010 to do pure volunteering again and to look for an ending to my documentary.
Yes, this documentary took about 10 years to be finalised. The reason? there isn’t a real reason. I’d say that one of them is that I wasn’t really ready to make a conclusion to the film in the sense that my overall knowledge on war, revolutions, social movements, etc wasn’t as good as it should be before writing my signature in a movie about that. Another reason is that I didn’t have a real conclusion, an ending to the story.
I solved the first problem by studying. I studied Social Sciences and that made my ideas to be more unclear. Yes, because the more knowledge you acquire about something, the harder it is to create an opinion. But my ideas also became less radical and I learned to analyse information in a less naive way.
I solved the second problem, the ending, during my last visit. Chiyo, the protagonist of the film, was just about to finish the book about his life during the war. I filmed the last meetings between Chiyo and Sebastian Escalñon, the co-writer. That was a perfect opportunity to end the film. The end would be that there is no end! After the movie comes the book. But after the book it comes more projects about the topic. Well, you’d need to watch the film to understand this.
The film starts like an average documentary, with voice over, some music, interviews. Then it becomes a road movie where we meet different characters who explain their experience during the war, before and after. Finally, the film lets the people finish it. We forget about the empirical way to make a documentary and instead, the movie lets the audience feel what the characters we meet in Morazan feel.
A person in El Salvador told me something that I will never forget. He told me this in a time I believed in empirical data to explain events (how wrong I was). He told me “there is more than encyclopedia data. Human experiences are hard to explain. Only literature, poetry and art can explain feelings”. Well, that changed so much my interpretation of the world that it dislocated my aims to finish the documentary in some months. Instead it took years.
I a non-so-romantic line. I must say that it isn’t easy to finish a film when one is full-time employed, has a life outside work, has to study for the Open University and doesn’t have the money to stop it all and travel back to get more footage and interviews!
Morazan, a revolution as told by its people is divided in 3 parts with a total of 21 episodes. Its total length is 138 minutes.
Part 1: Death
1. The Mountain
2. San Salvador
3. Chiyo. The guide of this journey
4. Romero. The voice against oppression
5. The Memory. Struggle for the truth
6. Behind the Scenes. The Cold War
7. The Puzzle. This isn’t black or white
8. The Death Squads
Part 2: Revolution
9. America. Struggle against oppression
10. Tremor in the Mountain
11. El Mozote. The Massacres
12. Melo. Guerrilla military tactics
13. The Graveyard of the Comrades
15. Valeriano. The refugees
16. A Cave with Views of Peace
Part 3: Life
17. Perquín. Memories of war and art
18. Irma. Everyday life in the front
19. Padre Rogelio. What did the revolution achieve?
20. The Museum of the War. The legacy of the war today
21. Seven Sparrows. Chiyo’s memories captured in his book
A film by
This film wouldn’t exist without
Lucio Vásquez (Chiyo)
whose character gives shape to this documentary
and the invaluable help and presence of
Carlos Henríquez Consalvi (Santiago)
who trusted me in helping with his project The Museum of the Word and Image and gave me the opportunity to know about Morazán and its people.
Ilma Esperanza Vásquez (Irma)
who not only brought her knowledge and experience, she gave me accommodation in the most affectionate manner.
who even trying to keep herself away from protagonism, she can´t avoid being one of the strongest influencers in this work and a symbol of courage for anybody who meets her.
who not only shared his knowledge, he shared his honourable and humble manners.
Domingo Tobar (Melo)
who gave us one of the most important interviews for this film and explained what is inexplicable about war.
Padre Rogelio Ponseele
who with no doubt answered the most difficult questions.
A special thanks is to
who gave the final push to this project. He is an example of strength and energy.
This project wouldn´t have been made without those who came with me and ghuide me during the journeys:
Claudia Anay García
Georgina Hernández Rivas
Rafael Menjívar Ochoa
And all those who contributed with their words, actions, thoughts. They brightened my stay and influenced the final message of this project:
Carlos Eduardo Colorado
Oscar Campos Lara
Lorena Juárez Saavedra
Marilyn Boror Bor
And so many people who crossed my path. The destiny didn´t want us to keep in touch or even exchange names. Dozens of persons who aren´t named in this list contributed with their knowledge and experience.
A special mention to
who gave us accommodation in Antigua and gave to the world the images filmed by his team and himself. Those images fill most of this documentary.
who gave his voice and knowledge of English language to this film during all the years the production took place.
A great friend, his help in finishing the English version of this film is invaluable. He went through all the scripts, captions and subtitles providing his important knowledge.
Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (Several number of documentaries, raw footage, photographs and audio recordings produced by Radio Venceremos and collaborators)
“Trampa para un Gato” film directed by Manuel de Pedro.
“Padre Rogelio” documentary.
“El Retorno” documentary.
“The Houses are Full of Smoke” documentary directed by Allan Francovich.
Los Torogoces de Morazán
Dave Merson Hess
“Didn’t Used To Be This Way”
“Devastation and Revenge”
“The Great Giana Sisters”
“History Repeats Itself”
“Tribute to Archbishop Romero”
“La Muerte de Rutilio Grande”
This movie was filmed in El Salvador and Guatemala in 2005, 2006 and 2011.
More information about the author can be found at
More information about this documentary can be found at
Morazán, full length movie. All rights reserved © 2015 Jose Huwaidi.
Some parts under Creative Commons Licence.
Copy and distribution of this film is allowed for non-lucrative purposes as far as the author is credited and informed: