The SHARE Blog

Remembering Romero: Interview with Father Fredis Sandoval

January 24, 2014

romeropic1Usted conoce quien es Oscar Romero? Que conoce de él?  Hay una conexión entre él y la democracia?// Do you know who Oscar Romero is?  What do you know about him?  Is there a connection between him and democracy?

“Sobre la tema me llama la atención su pasión y compromiso por el pueblo.  Su nivel de contacto de la realidad—personas, sectores sociales, comprensión de la complejidad y totalidad del país. Un ejemplo de esto es el diario pastoral de Monseñor Romero.  Es el mejor ejemplo de diversidad de contactos e interacciones que tuvo el—la versión del pueblo que trato de enseñar e impulsar al pueblo es interesante—como sujeto histórico y protagonista de su desarrollo.  Lo quiso como un pueblo consiente, informado, crítico, liberado y liberador. Él dijo, “…sin las raíces en el pueblo, ningún proyecto histórico tendrá éxito.” Él desarrolló mucho el tema del protagonismo del pueblo. Valoraba y analizaba el proyecto de la izquierda, la derecha y de la junta de gobierno surgido del último golpe de estado de 1979…”

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Why to Observe Democracy in El Salvador

January 22, 2014

"the ballot is stronger than the bullet" -Abraham Lincoln

“the ballot is stronger than the bullet” -Abraham Lincoln

One week remains until SHARE´s 2014 Elections observation delegation arrives. SHARE has brought observers to El Salvador for every presidential elections since 1994 – the first elections following the peace accords. What´s so important about observation in El Salvador?

One reason for observation is keeping tabs on how democratic the electoral system is. One of the factors that contributed to the war in El Salvador was the lack of a true democracy – from the absence of freedom of expression reflected in repression of those who critiqued the status quo, to the inability to effect changes through elections.

While the Salvadoran government has held elections since El Salvador was established as a republic and has long had constitutions granting the right to vote, control of the electoral process throughout the 1900s was extremely authoritarian, marked by fraud and manipulation. The official government party and the military typically coordinated to maintain control. In six out of nine elections between 1920 and 1970, a single candidate ¨competed¨ in the elections.

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A River of Memory

January 18, 2014

2014-01-15 22.58.21On the 22nd anniversary of the peace accords, youth activists, indigenous Salvadorans, Christian Base Communities, human rights organizations and victims of human rights violations joined together for a creative march: Let us Be a River of Memory: Truth, Justice, and Reparations. Inspirationally, extremely involved youth activists led this march as well as spearheaded two major protests after the closure of Tutela Legal. The youth clearly demonstrated the importance of historical memory for the younger generations while accompanying the generation that lived through those horrific injustices, working towards a united Salvadoran pueblo.

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First Press Conference Announcing Elections Observers

January 15, 2014

 On Tuesday, January 14th, U.S. solidarity organizations in El Salvador held the first press conference announcing electoral observation missions’ arrival in the country at the end of January.  SHARE, along with the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (CIS), Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities, and Cristosal, shared details regarding their respective delegations, including observation sites, meetings, and other planned events during their short-term visits in San Salvador and surrounding departments.  Media present included TVX, Channel 21, Radio Mayavisión, and Channel 10.  Reporters were curious to know about recent observations regarding the Voto en el Exterior (new absentee voting process) and observers’ expectations for the 2014 elections.

Representatives of the five solidarity organizations at the Press Conference on Tuesday.

Representatives of the five solidarity organizations at the Press Conference on Tuesday.

The text of the press release, translated to English, is below:

We represent five international solidarity organizations: SHARE Foundation, The Center for Exchange and Solidarity (CIS), Solidarity Committee with the Salvadoran People (CISPES), Sister Cities, and Cristosal.  We come together today to inform you about the missions of the international electoral observers who will be monitoring the Salvadoran presidential elections on February 2nd, 2014, and working to ensure the transparency of said elections.  Between these five organizations we will bring more than 295 observers to the country, including representatives from National Lawyers Guild, CARECEN, Veterans for Peace, SOA Watch, England Environmental Network for Central America, and various churches, universities, and other institutions.  The groups will be distributed in the departments of San Salvador, La Libertad, Cuscatlán, Santa Ana, La Paz, Usulután, Cabañas, Chalatenango, and San Vicente in more than 30 municipalities.  They will be installed in dozens of voting centers, both rural and urban, including the Center for Exterior Voting, to guarantee the success of the electoral process.

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New Electoral Reforms with TSE President Eugenio Chicas

January 8, 2014

Eugenio Chicas, President of TSE

Eugenio Chicas, President of TSE

The 2014 elections swiftly approach. Elections have a colorful history in El Salvador, long marked by manipulation and corruption. The blatant fraud in 1970s elections broke the Salvadoran peoples’ faith in the possibility of creating change through elections, contributing to the outbreak of civil war.

 While the electoral system has improved dramatically since the peace accords, it is still continually in a refining process. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the government institution responsible for overseeing the elections, has had its hands full preparing to implement two significant reforms to the Electoral Code:  residential voting throughout the country, and absentee voting for Salvadorans in the U.S. and Canada.

In 2013, SHARE had the opportunity to participate in a meeting with Magistrate Eugenio Chicas, President of the TSE, as he explained the process of implementing these reforms.

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Celebrating 2013!

December 30, 2013

Here are just a few highlights of what SHARE Donors made possible in 2013.

You can ensure these important programs continue in 2014. Donate today!

There is still time to donate in 2013!

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Honduras Delegation: When will the peoples’ will be respected?

December 22, 2013

2013-11-22 21.04.52

November 17th – 26th SHARE and Sister-Cities led a binational delegation of Salvadorans and U.S. Americans in solidarity with Honduras to learn about the current human rights situation and observe the November 24th General Elections. Both U.S. and Salvadoran delegates shared that going together to Honduras marked a very special aspect of the delegation, adding another layer of richness to the cultural exchange and learning.

Part of the delegation began the journey in Tegucigalpa. We got a whirlwind snapshot of Honduras – first visiting communities struggling for the right to self-determination and respect for their land as the government promotes foreign IMG_3019investment in gold mining and hydro-electric dams and sends in the military when they protest, meeting with LGBT activists excited to be included in the social movement and LIBRE party, while aware of the long struggle ahead, then meeting up with the rest of the group and members of the Honduras Solidarity network for observation training, and traveling to the Bajo Aguan to learn about the struggle for land access and observe the elections.  We observed a variety of irregularities, as did the SOA Watch, National Lawyers Guild, and the various organizations that observed with the Honduras Solidarity Network. Join us in calling on the U.S. State Department to stop legitimizing the disputed and fraudulent election.

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Give the Gift of Solidarity

December 21, 2013

1012736_10151991332369301_872577260_n-1Are you looking for a last minute Holiday Gift for a friend or family member?

A SHARE Solidarity Gift is a great way to honor a loved one with a present that supports communities in El Salvador.

You can give a gift to support a high school scholarship in honor of your favorite highschooler, plant fruit trees to honor your green thumbed friend, or provide a counseling session for a mother whose child was forcibly disappeared.

Just visit our Solidarity Gift page to select the amount you wish to give and the program you want to support. You can even include a personalized note to your friend and ask SHARE to mail them the gift.

SHARE will send a photo and card acknowledging the gift  to you or directly to the recipient depending on your preference.

Please contact Sarah at sarah@share-elsalvador.org for more information.


Celebrations of the American Churchwomen

December 16, 2013

The week of December 2nd dozens of women religious, lay leaders, college students, and people in solidarity from across the country gathered to remember the five martyred churchwomen: Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy Kazel, Jean Donovan, and Carla Piette.

Altar Commemorating the American Churchwomen

Altar Commemorating the American Churchwomen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the San Francisco Bay Area Lyn Kirkconnell, a former Maryknoll Missioner who was serving in Peru at the time of their deaths, shared the following reflection:

 It is not easy to paint a picture of the horror and brutality experienced and witnessed daily by the people of El Salvador in 1980.  Indeed, why should we keep looking at that fateful year 33 years later?  And why look at events in such a tiny country in the middle of Central America?

 It is because El Salvador is a microcosm of our world; it is because what happened there, several decades ago, represents the worst and the best of humankind.  During my brief, but poignant 10-day visit last year with the SHARE-LCWR delegation, I was reminded over and over again of a monument I saw when I was a young student in Paris.  This is the Memorial of the Deported Martyrs behind Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cité.  This memorial was dedicated in 1962 to the 200,000 Jewish people deported during WWII, handed over to the Nazis to be used, abused and thrown away.  You descend the stairs to the entrance to this memorial.  Inside a small room, you view a long tunnel-like structure with the names of the deported and with a light symbolizing each life.  As you leave, etched in stone over the doorway, are the words: “Pardonne;  N’oublie pas…”  “Forgive;  Do not forget…” Read More »


SHARE Visits a Local Farmer’s Market

December 13, 2013

Farmers Market

The Local Market in the UCRES Region

Every 15 days, local farmers and artisans come together to sell their produce and simple crafts in the UCRES region of La Cabaña, just north of El Paisnal. You can find most anything at this colorful market, including: homemade candies, limes, homemade cheeses, cream, papaya, pineapple, spinach and other greens, loroco, squash, green peppers, ornamental plants, and a variety of fabric crafts, such as small thin towels called mantas, used for storing hot tortillas. An assortment of food is also available for purchase: coffee, homemade pastries, pasteles, and a cinnamon, rice, and milk snack known as arroz con leche.IMG_1909

Many of the women who participate in the farmers’ market received training in agricultural techniques and small business practices through SHARE’s partnering organization, UCRES.  The 2013 women’s empowerment project, supported by SHARE’s Grassroots Partners, provided opportunities for women to learn to plant and manage their own home vegetable gardens, among many other skills.  FECORACEN, a local agricultural cooperative affiliated with another SHARE partner, CONFRAS, facilitated workshops on organic fertilizers, garden set-up and management, soil types, and vegetable types and diseases.  

Rosa Delia Pinto

Rosa Delia Pinto

Rosa Delia Pinto from San Antonio Grande was kind enough to share her experience as a vendor in the farmers’ market and participant in the garden workshops.  Aside from tending her small garden, in which she grows eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers, green onions, jicama, and jalapeño peppers, she is also very active in local organizations.  She serves as the legal representative for the local women’s association, is a member of the Nonviolence Committee, and a literacy promoter with MINED (the Ministry of Education) in San Antonio Grande.

(This project) has helped us immensely … even though it’s a small amount (that we sell in the markets) we almost always sell everything,”  Rosa sells pineapple, loroco, homemade cheeses and cream, and arroz con leche at her small stand.  She makes the cheese and cream herself from fresh local cow’s milk that she gets from El Verdío, a small community nearby.  

Rosa’s story is just one small testament to the impact of regional women’s projects in El Salvador.  SHARE is looking forward to continued support for 2014 projects, including additional home vegetable gardens in the UCRES region.  Consider supporting women’s empowerment in El Salvador by purchasing a solidarity gift or making a donation.

 

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