Ellacuría, like assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero (killed in 1980), was part of an empathetic clergy in El Salvador who spoke out against violence, who advocated peace, and who worked to improve the lives of the poor. Therefore, Ellacuría and others acted as negotiators of peace and, at times, were called in to defuse conflicts.
On September 10, 1985, FMLN rebels kidnapped President Duarte’s oldest daughter and her friend from their car while parking at San Salvador University. Kidnappers killed two bodyguards as they dragged Ines Duarte by the hair. The kidnapping was a ploy to negotiate the release of FMLN prisoners and to secure the safe passage of injured rebels. The FMLN held the two hostages for forty-four days. President Duarte asked Ellacuría for help in securing his daughter’s release. On the drive from the airport to Loyola’s campus, Ellacuría explains the process of negotiating her release.