WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas


18 Aug 2023 | WOLA Statement

Gratitude for the Life of Francisco Altschul

We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Francisco Altschul, former Ambassador of El Salvador to the United States.

During the painful years of oppression in El Salvador during the 1980s, Altschul represented the opposition parties in Washington, DC. As an exile himself, he played a central role in educating people in the United States on the causes of the violence and speaking out for the thousands of Salvadorans who were forced to flee the country. After the peace accords were signed, he returned to El Salvador and, drawing on his training as an architect, he worked with nonprofits dedicated to housing and local development. He was appointed ambassador to the United States in 2010 and again in 2014.

Throughout his career, we at WOLA admired his commitment to the cause of human rights and justice, and are grateful for his life of service to the people of El Salvador. We extend our sympathy to his spouse, Melinda Delashmutt Altschul, and his family.

Ambassador Altschul was a gentle giant of a man whose eyes were always fixed on justice for the left out and left behind.  His witness over the years as diplomat representing the  hopes of his people or insurgent  fighting for the rights of all Salvadorans, Francisco was faithful.  At his side throughout it all was wife/partner Melinda. He was a towering presence in the long and bloody struggle for basic human rights in El Salvador.  

Joe Eldridge, WOLA Founder and Senior Fellow


Ambassador Altschul with Melinda Delashmutt Altschul and Cristina Eguizabal at the 2011 WOLA Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala.