The SHARE Blog

From conquest to liberation: 2014 Presidential Inauguration

June 9, 2014

Eileen Purcell, former SHARE board member and executive director, visited El Salvador with SHARE’s first presidential inauguration delegation earlier this month.  She shares this beautiful reflection.

Presidential Inauguration in CIFCO, San Salvador.

Presidential Inauguration in CIFCO, San Salvador.

We were afraid it would pour rain!

But Madre Tierra watched and waited as thousands gathered for the historic presidential inauguration of Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Vice President Oscar Ortiz!  The first, a former school teacher, trade unionist, and peace negotiator.  The second, a former student. Both former commandantes in the Salvadoran revolution!

Outgoing President Funes, the Salvadoran National Assembly, and the Supreme Court took their places in the front of the gathering.  The Archbishop, the Nuncio, the generals, diplomats, dignitaries and the media sat just behind them. Civil Society filled in the rest of the grand pavilion:  workers, educators, private enterprise, human rights advocates, and the Mothers of the Disappeared.  Madre Guadalupe and her daughter, Tula, came. The locked out workers from the Lido Bakeries, wearing white t-shirt and red caps, were there!  Thousands more gathered around televisions, radios, computers, ipads and phones.  

Guatemalan indigenous human rights leader and Nobel Peace prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu sat proudly in her traditional indigenous dress. Deposed Honduran President Zelaya’s daughter was there. M*A*S*H star and human rights activist Mike Farrell stood tall. U.S Congressman and immigrant rights advocate Grijalva attended. Former Ambassador William Walker came. And the International Solidarity movement was there in force, including the SHARE Foundation’s 22 person delegation! Read More »

U.S. demands conditions for acceptance of Millenium Challenge Funds

June 6, 2014

This morning, we as solidarity organizations based in the United States – Committees in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), U.S.–El Salvador Sister Cities, the SHARE Foundation, and Joining Hands El Salvador Network (RUMES) – will deliver a petition signed by 1,000 U.S. citizens denouncing the manipulation of Millennium Challenge Corporation funds by the U.S. Department of State against the current policy of purchasing Salvadoran non-transgenic seeds distributed as part of the Family Agriculture Plan by the Ministry of Agriculture.

CIETTA seed bank_april 2013We share the concerns of our Salvadoran allies against this intrusion of the Embassy in the sovereign politics of this country and we declare our solidarity in their struggle to defend the purchase of native Salvadoran seeds. The purchase of these seeds is a fundamental component of the Family Agriculture Plan, which has generated employment and income for the Salvadoran cooperatives and has increased crop production significantly. This year, the program is benefiting more than 400,000 small farmers and their families, and has been applauded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.S. government itself.

Without this program, thousands of small and medium farmers would be excluded from the opportunity to sell their seeds to the government just because of being small businesses. Thus, the decree to promote domestic production of maize and bean seeds has also managed to break a monopoly maintained for many years by two companies, Semillas Cristiani Burkhardt, importer of Monsanto, and Fertica. The seeds currently distributed also have the advantage of being native, resistant to the climatic conditions of El Salvador and are a fundamental part of Salvadoran culture. Read More »

Stand with the Mothers of the Disappeared: Call for a day honoring the victims of forced disappearance

May 30, 2014

Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales with Pro-Memoria outside the Legislative Assembly.

Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales with Pro-Memoria outside the Legislative Assembly.

This week, as part of the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared, relatives of victims of forced disappearances and members of the Pro-Historical Memory Commission (Pro-Memoria) gathered at the Legislative Assembly to present official correspondence requesting that August 30th be named the National Day of the Victims of Forced Disappearance. Legislator Jaime Valdez, president of the Commission on Education and Culture received the letter. Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales accompanied the event, telling reporters, “Forced disappearance has been recognized as a form of torture. These mothers have been living in a condition of torture for two to three decades. The state has a responsibility to repair this historical debt.”

Pro-Memoria and the relatives of the disappeared have demanded that the government dedicate August 30th to commemorating the victims of forced disappearance since 2003. The initiative has been brought to vote four times but has yet to get enough support to pass. The first time it was taken to the floor of the Legislative Assembly in 2006, a legislator from the right-wing Arena party actually ripped the petition to pieces in front of the mothers of the disappeared.

For the relatives of the disappeared, having a day to honor their loved ones is deeply important because it means the government acknowledging the truth of its involvement in forced disappearance and recognizing the dignity of the victims.

Stand with the mothers of the disappeared in calling for a day to honor the victims by signing the letter below. We will collect signatures between now and June 28th, so Pro-Memoria can present the letters during follow-up meetings. They will be carrying out an ongoing campaign between now and August 30th.  Our support can help make this dream a reality.  


Stand with the Mothers of the Disappeared: A Day for the Victims/Un Día para las Victimas

This petition is now closed.

End date: Sep 25, 2014

Signatures collected: 213

213 signatures

Read More »

From suffering, hope and strength

May 29, 2014

This week the Salvadoran Pro-Historical Memory Commission (Pro-Memoria) commemorates the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared with various educational events and advocacy actions. The Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared (FEDEFAM) first designated the last week in May as the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared in 1981, with the intent of bringing attention to the involvement of governments of many countries in forced disappearance and calling for truth, justice and an end to forced disappearance.

Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales (Photo courtesy Pro-Memoria Histórica)

Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales
(Photo courtesy Pro-Memoria Histórica)

In El Salvador, government security forces detained and disappeared over 10,000 civilians during the civil war. Their relatives still seek to know what happened to their loved ones, unable to have closure without truth.  At Sunday’s commemorative mass, Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales recognized the terrible impact of forced disappearance. “It means permanent mourning, and this suffering is a form of torture. The mothers and children of the disappeared continue to feel like it just happened yesterday. The disappeared are not an occurrence of yesterday, they are with us today. Forced disappearance is an ongoing crime, repeated every day the remains are not found.”

Join us this Saturday for a webinar to hear directly from members of Pro-Memoria and relatives of the disappeared about their struggle for justice. Register here!

One of the mothers of the disappeared, Marta María Martinez, shares with us what the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared means to her:

Monumento_Mayo2014“It is something very deep. The government collaborated in forced disappearance. One doesn’t know where the disappeared are, or what they did with them. It is very painful, never to know. One’s loved one is left like an animal. They don’t recognize the value of Christian burial. Because one is poor, they look at you as less, treat you like garbage. We are humans, the disappeared are our loved ones, and not knowing what happened to them hurts. We have faith that this government will act to clarify what happened to so many children, youth, and elderly forcibly disappeared. It isn’t just. They disappeared six of my relatives – my niece along with her husband and son, my other niece, my brother, and his son. We looked for them everywhere. One remembers, thinks, and doesn’t know what to do, where to look. Not knowing is horrible.”   Read More »

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.


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 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.


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 »


Meet Saraí a student from CRIPDES San Vicente

May 5, 2014

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