Tireless advocate for human rights and for the voice of the poor, Rev. José María Tojeira Pelayo, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and professor at Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA, Central American University) in El Salvador.
Born in Spain, Fr. Tojeira arrived in Central America in 1967, directing Radio Progreso in Honduras initially and coming to El Salvador in 1985 to fill the position of superior to the Jesuit theology students at UCA. He was provincial of the Jesuits for Central America from 1988 to 1995. In 1989, after the murder of six Jesuit priests at UCA, Fr. Tojeira led the legal process against the members of the Fuerza Armada de El Salvador, who were convicted as perpetrators.
From 1997 to 2010, Fr. Tojeira was rector/president of UCA, continuing the work of his predecessor Ignacio Ellacuría, SJ, in maintaining the university’s progressive voice on social issues of the day, particularly in advocating for the poor. Later he was director of the Human Rights Institute at UCA.
Fr. Tojeira has published numerous articles on ethics, theology, and politics in academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets. His authored book titles include Tipping the Scales of Justice: Perspective on El Salvador, El martirio ayer y hoy: testimonio radical de fe y justicia, Esperanzas y temores desde Centroamérica, and Los hicaques de Yoro.
He holds a PhD in theology from Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain.