“A landmark book . . . Bonner reveals the full extent of Washington's complicity with a murderous regime bent on eliminating even its mildest critics. This story not only sets the record straight, but, as importantly, it also speaks to the future, serving as a fresh warning of the perennial perils of American engagement in secret wars.” —Alan Riding, author of Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans; former Mexico City bureau chief, The New York Times
“Weakness and Deceit vividly depicts the failure of U.S. policy to take human rights seriously in Central America in the 1980s. Its lessons are more relevant than ever today as policy-makers struggle to respond to crisis situations in the Middle East, and elsewhere. For three decades Bonner's relentless pursuit of the truth has set the gold standard for investigative journalists everywhere.” —Michael Posner, professor of Ethics and Finance at New York University, former
U.S. assistant secretary of state
“Thirty years ago, Raymond Bonner wrote a fundamental book about the United States and Latin America. Here it is again, a major work by a big-hearted reporter, with new and fascinating details about the tragedy of U. S. interventionism during the Cold War, and the lies we have been told.” —Alma Guillermoprieto, author of Looking for History: Dispatches From Latin America, and The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now
A land and culture poorly understood by analysts, politicians, and voters in the far-off United States. A regime permeated with corruption; a country in the steel grip of a few families that disdained any system which might give a voice to the millions who kept them in comfort: guarding their children, watering their lawns and putting food on their tables. A brutal and remorseless police force and army trained in America, armed with American guns, and fighting a bloody proxy war against anyone who might conceivably be an American foe—whether or not they held a gun.
This was Central America in the 1980s, at a time when El Salvador was the centerpiece of a misguided and ultimately disastrous foreign policy. It resulted in atrocities that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilized a region that has not recovered to this day. At a time when the Reagan Administration’s obsession with communism overwhelmed objections to its policies, Ray Bonner took a courageous, unflinching look at just who we were supporting and what the consequences were.
Now supplemented with an epilogue drawing on newly available, once-secret documents that detail the extent of America’s involvement in assassinations, including the infamous murder of three American nuns and a lay missionary in 1980, Weakness and Deceit is a classic, riveting and ultimately tragic account of foreign policy gone terribly wrong.