Guided tours of El Salvador civil war sites by former guerrillas

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PERQUIN, El Salvador —- Efrain Perez moves with a slight shuffle as he escorts visitors through the Museum of the Salvadoran Revolution. His halting gait, the result of bomb shrapnel that nearly pierced his brain, has slowed the 38-year-old ex-guerrilla's body, but not his mind.

Effortlessly, he rattles off the dates of battles and assassinations, lists the names of obliterated villages and fallen comrades in arms. Then he leads his guests through narrow rooms filled with propaganda posters, Soviet-era surface-to-air missile launchers and dozens of grainy black-and-white photos of the "heroes and martyrs" who died in a brutal conflict that already has slipped into history's shadows...

Under other circumstances, the musty artifacts on display at the museum, a one-story tin-roofed building perched on a muddy hillside, might have been stashed away in private homes or left to rust in some abandoned jungle lair. Perez might have frittered away his days among El Salvador's legions of unemployed.

But today he and a number of his fellow former rebels have a surprising new profession: tour guide.

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