The SHARE Blog

Sustainable Agriculture and Human Rights: Northwest reflects

May 27, 2014

Northwest High School students share their impressions of El Salvador during the February elections observation delegation.  Seventeen students and five teachers made the journey to accompany their sistering region UCRES during the first round of presidential elections.

January 30th was a theme day here in San Salvador, and our delegation broke up into two groups, one going to visit representatives of the Salvadorian LGBTQIA community, and the other touring two different farming cooperatives. I visited the farming cooperatives, where we learned about the movement to educate and modernize agriculture here in El Salvador.

NWSatCIETTA_Jan2014

Enjoying fresh coconuts at CIETTA, an agricultural cooperative and research center in La Paz, El Salvador.

At the first farm we visited, we spent around an hour touring the farm, learning about the different crops they grow there, and the environmentally friendly means by which they grow them. The main cooperative, CONFRAS, emphasizes pulling away from farming giants, genetically modified seeds, and crops that require (or typically seem to require) heavy use of pesticides to grow successfully. During our tour, we got to see the production process of all-natural fertilizer, tour rows of coconut trees, dig sweet potatoes straight from the ground, and tour the not-yet-finished sugar cane press, which will, when completed, juice the sugar cane, creating a healthier alternative to regular processed sugar. After this, we had the amazing opportunity of drinking coconut water straight from the coconut, followed by ojushte (breadnut) pancakes and horchata. Read More »


Honduras: Urgent Action and Update

May 21, 2014

ACTION: TODAY IS THE LAST CHANCE TO CALL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE TO SIGN ONTO A CONGRESSIONAL LETTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DUE PROCESS IN HONDURAS. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ACTION ALERT (note in our original action alert, we had May 9th listed as the deadline, but it was extended until today, May 21st). Contact Bethany Loberg at bethany@share-elsalvador.org for a list of congress people who have signed on and key congress people to call!

UPDATE: Human rights violations continue in Honduras, even in the halls of the Honduran Congress.

PadreMelo_RadioProgreso_Nov2013

SHARE and Sister Cities delegates with Father Melo in November 2013. (Photo courtesy US-El Salvador Sister Cities)

Since the November elections, the situation of human rights violations in Honduras has only intensified.  Social movement activists, environmentalists, lawyers, campesinos, and journalists continue to receive threats and even to be murdered at an alarming rate. At the beginning of April, Carlos Hilario Mejía Orellana marketing director of Jesuit sponsored Radio Progreso was stabbed to death in his own home. The Radio station spoke out strongly against the coup and has offered a space for the voices of communities and social movement leaders, though not directly for any political parties. The radio has received many threats and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission repeatedly called for protectionary measures for 16 radio staff members, including Orellana. Some SHARE and Sister Cities delegates visited Radio Progreso last November and met with director Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno. Father Melo stated that the murder was “a direct attack not only on the life of our colleague, but a frontal attack on the work produced by Radio Progreso.”

Near the end of April, the Honduran government sent a letter to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, requesting that protectionary measures for human rights leaders be withdrawn, stating that the conditions that generated the need for the measures no longer exist, the political conflict of 2009 has been satisfactorily resolved and the November elections offer proof of this. Read More »


Targets of Repression: Case against young Salvadoran men

May 19, 2014

Geovanni leads a workshop in a marginalized urban community.

Geovanni leads a workshop in a marginalized urban community.

In a cinder block community center in front of a dusty ravine surrounded by dwellings constructed from sheets of corrugated tin, a group of women with sorrow etched into their faces gather to discuss ways to support their sons, unjustly sentenced and imprisoned in Mariona, one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons. Nearly all of the mothers of these youth are part of the community council and have been community leaders for the last ten years, and their sons have followed in their footsteps, helping them construct the community center and seek access to decent housing. Nevertheless they have been targets of repression.

On Wednesday, March 26th, the leaders and members of the Santa Cecilia and El Progreso 3 communities near the center of San Salvador received a slap in the face. Eleven young men from the communities were sentenced to four years in prison, accused of illicit association, or being involved in gangs and of enacting specific roles within gangs. This sentence came as a shock to the community, who value these youth as community leaders who have helped support and organize construction of housing, organization of health campaigns, and soccer tournaments in the community.  FESPAD worked with a team of lawyers to help present an appeal. While they are hopeful about the outcome, the process can be long and slow and meanwhile the youth remain in prison. Click here to find out what you can do! Read More »


Organized women in the UCRES region received training

May 9, 2014

Woman in the UCRES region received training on how to maintain their family gardens.

Woman in the UCRES region received training on how to maintain their family gardens.

On Thursday, May 8, 15 organized women in the UCRES region received training on how to maintain their family gardens. Three women from each of the following five communities participated: San Jorge, Huisisilapa, Ita Maura, William Fuentes, y Cihuatan. A technical instructor from CORDES led the workshop. Read More »


The RED-FEMINISTA continues effort against various forms of violence El Salvador

May 7, 2014

Strengthening the national and regional mechanisms for the prevention, treatment and punishment of violence against women in El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Strengthening the national and regional mechanisms for the prevention, treatment and punishment of violence against women in El Salvador and Nicaragua.

The RED-FEMINISTA continues efforts to enforce and implement the two laws protecting women against various forms of violence in El Salvador. ORMUSA, one of three organizations that make up the RED-FEMINISTA, is doing their part by producing educational materials about the issue, building and equipping women’s attention centers, and training social service workers such as police officers, judges, social workers, health promoters, and organized women. Read More »


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Meet Saraí a student from CRIPDES San Vicente

May 5, 2014


Love and light: A delegate reflection by Victoria Mechler

May 2, 2014

Victoria MechlerHermanos y hermanas en Cristo,

(Brothers and sisters in Christ),

Love and hospitality are universal. There wasn´t a day in El Salvador we did not experience that. While some days we were getting our pictures taken by police officer noticing the big group of North Americans, or gringos a we were called, we were always welcomed with open arms and hearts.

From the moment we arrived, the love was apparent. Read More »


Wilfredo Medrano: A life dedicated to working for human dignity

April 29, 2014

Wilfredo visits with a tour participant at St. Ignatius in Boston.

While I had met Wilfredo Medrano through various meetings and events, traveling with him on tour I learned the true depth of his passion for human rights and commitment to the victims he works with. Over the course of meals, questions, and conversations with our gracious, curious hosts, more and more of his life story emerged. A quiet, humble man, Wilfredo does not talk himself up, but speaks with deep conviction.

Wilfredo grew up in Chalatenango and studied at the University of El Salvador (UES) in the early 1980s. As Wilfredo describes it, it was a time when nearly all young people, especially university students at the UES were viewed as potential subversives, supporters of the FMLN. Just being seen on the sidewalk with an UES notebook was motive enough for the National Guard to detain a young person.

One weekend while visiting his family, security forces arrested and imprisoned him. Thanks to the persistent inquiries and actions of friends and family, he was released after fifteen days – fifteen days blindfolded in solitary confinement. Wilfredo thought of the many other captured youth who had no one to stand up for them, and decided to change majors and study law.

Read More »


1991 Ambush in Zapote Chalatenango

April 28, 2014

April 11 commemorated the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of guerrilla commander Jesus Rojas “Antonio Cardenal Caldera” and 14 comrades, people who gave their lives in the ambush of the Zapote in the department of Chalatenango. The ambush is commemorated each year with a Mass in honor of the victims and survivors. The act is organized by the parish of Arcatao, nearby communities and the CCR.

Mass to honor the victims./Misa solemne para rendir honor a las victimas.

Mass to honor the victims./Misa solemne para rendir honor a las victimas.

Rojas was born in Nicaragua, was a Jesuit seminarian enlightened by Vatican II, Medellin and his uncle, the poet Ernesto Cardenal. He decided to walk the dusty villages of Aguilares, El Paisnal and Guazapa in 1973. He opened a gap to armed popular struggle, until he became a member of the Central Committee and the Political Committee of the FPL.

Read More »


International Mother Earth Day: Commemoration or Struggle?

April 22, 2014

Día mundíal de la tierraThe United Nations declared April 22nd International Mother Earth Day in 2009, even while Earth Day is already celebrated throughout the world.  It was established to create a common awareness surrounding many environmental issues faced globally, including over-population, pollution, and protection of biodiversity, underlining the importance of responsible usage of natural resources and environmental education.

According to a piece on the United Nations website, this year’s International Mother Earth Day focuses on “Green Cities” with the goal of mobilizing millions of people to work toward a sustainable and healthy environment.  The UN notes that more than half the world’s population live in cities, and while this urban population continues to grow and global environment issues worsen, cities must evolve.

In El Salvador, Read More »


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