The SHARE Blog

Gang Truce is One Year Old. Can there be Lasting Peace?

March 11, 2013


Two of El Salvador’s major gangs—Barrio 18 and MS-13—committed to a truce a year ago. The potential for lasting peace remains, but gang-related violence and unrest persist. The assassination of Geovanni Morales on last week highlights this reality. On March 6th, two assailants murdered Morales outside the church of San Francisco de Asis, where he worked with the Passionist Social Service (SSPAS) in the Mejicanos suburb of San Salvador. As his family, including two children, mourns his death, so does the community working towards an end to gang-related violence.

Geovanni Morales went through rehabilitation processes with SSPAS and then worked as the coordinator of the reinsertion program, which helps other young adults and youth break free from gangs and integrate into society. We attended a forum in October 2012 during which Morales discussed the gang truce.

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This Sunday: National Coming Out of the Shadows Day

March 8, 2013

Two members of the Immigrant Justice League in Chicago come out of the shadows

Two members of the Immigrant Justice League in Chicago come out of the shadows

Written by SHARE staff and EBIYC organizer Blanca Vasquez

This year the Bay Area will be having its first Coming Out of the Shadows event in Oakland, California on March 10th at the city’s City Hall from 11am to 12:30pm. The focus will be not solely on undocumented youth coming out but for older undocumented people to do so as well. We invite and urge our undocumented adults to take part in this event and join forces with our youth to develop a stronger voice and gain more power in the debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

For the past three years undocumented youth have challenged the U.S. government by publicly proclaiming themselves “UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED!” in many different ways. Through a diverse set of actions like sit-ins, civil disobedience, rallies and even taking over legislative offices, undocumented youth have downright embarrassed the U.S. government by explicitly demonstrating that the current immigration system is broken and dysfunctional. The efforts of hundreds and thousands of undocumented youth have resulted in progressive policies like AB 540, CA Dream Act, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and even set the stage for a formal proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013.

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Creative Protest Calls for Ban to Cerro Blanco Mine

March 5, 2013

“We are calling on the Guatemalan government to stop this mining project and on the Salvadoran government to guarantee the rights of Salvadorans!”

Over 150 enthusiastic members of the Mesa (National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining) and other solidarity groups gathered outside of the Guatemalan Embassy to protest the Vancouver-based Goldcorp’s Cerro Blanco mine on Tuesday, February 26.

A group of thirty supporters dressed up and danced the Harlem Shake to bring attention to the protest

A group of thirty supporters dressed up and danced the Harlem Shake to bring attention to the protest

Led by Alejandro Labrador of the Mesa, a group of thirty staged an anti-mining Harlem shake, with participants dressed as mining company owners, gold, Mother Earth, and water. Surprisingly this is not the first Harlem Shake in El Salvador, but it was a very creative one! 

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Education is Liberation

March 1, 2013

The Ministry of Education declared Uluazapa, A volunteer teaches Alicia "Doña LIcha" to read and writeSan Miguel free from illiteracy in February. After 580 people learned to read and write, Uluazapa claims more than words: the people of Uluazapa claim independence, awareness, and the potential to learn ways to improve their lives and the dynamics of their communities. Uluazapa is the tenth municipality in El Salvador to be free from illiteracy.

At SHARE, we believe literacy is a basic right. Unfortunately, many families must choose between their children’s education and daily needs. Edgar Caballero, a youth organizer from the October 12th Popular Resistance Movement (MPR-12) who met with the Northwest School Delegation on February 18th, elaborated on the barriers that prevent literacy:

“How can you explain to your stomach that you want to study to be an engineer when you don’t have food to eat?”

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Hey Young Folks, Organize!

February 21, 2013

Northwest delegates had fun during their "Back to Back" dinamica with Edgar

Northwest delegates had a blast during their “Back to Back” dinamica with Edgar

What is the difference between a group and an organization?  

Edgar Caballero, a youth leader with the October 12th Popular Resistance Movement (MPR-12), led youth from Northwest School in Seattle, WA through a discussion of the daily reality for youth in El Salvador and the ways in which youth organizing breaks societal constructs that hinder growth while empowering young people to change their communities.

Edgar led the 30 delegates from Northwest School through a dinamica (an icebreaker) called “Back to Back”, with Q & A about youth organizing. Edgar explained that the MPR-12 is a social movement that brings together various civil society organizations, including SHARE counterparts CRIPDES and CONFRAS, to coordinate advocacy actions and projects for social and economic transformation.

For Edgar, the difference between a group and an organization is the level of commitment, participation, and vision of the members. Edgar works to help youth form their own organizations, analyzing the reality in which they live and defining goals and alternatives. Edgar shared the difficult economic situation many youth face, including limited academic and work opportunities, which lead many youth to join gangs or to dream of migrating to the U.S.  ¨How can you explain to your stomach that you want to study to be an engineer when you don’t have food to eat?¨

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In the Land of Flowering Trees

February 11, 2013

A letter from one of the December 2012 HWR Delegates, Bette Ann Jaster, OP.

Bette Ann prays with the congregation during mass in Puerto de la Libertad

Bette Ann prays with the congregation during mass in Puerto de la Libertad

Dear Ones,

The sights and sounds of El Salvador linger with me still as I travel back to NY in the middle of this year’s Advent journey. This land of volcanoes and lush green valleys with coconuts, papayas, mandarin oranges, avocados and flowering trees, plants and bushes,  is on one hand, a magnificent paradise. The occasional cattle accompanied by white egrets, the roaming chickens and goats, foraging pigs, strong horses, loud parrots, soaring hawks, lizards, frogs and skinny dogs, invite one to look and listen closely. December is the dry season. In the midst of such beauty, this land of the martyrs and her people have tales to tell, stories of desperation and death, memories of waiting, longing and yearning for the Disappeared to return and for new life to come again.

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Do you love SHARE? Like us!

February 7, 2013

LIKE us on Facebook!

LIKE us on Facebook!

Even though we keep you updated on happenings in El Salvador through this blog, if you want more updates and interesting stories and news, go to our Facebook page, hover over the “LIKE” button, and click it! 

We’ll show up in your news feed and you’ll be so happy about it. 


Accompanying the Lives of the Lost

February 6, 2013

Sr. Ann Braudis, MM, took part in the December 2012 Honoring Women Religious Delegation. As a Maryknoll Sister herself, this is her reflection on the role of religious women in El Salvador and her experience during the Delegation. 

Honoring religious women: In the current period when U.S. American religious women have found themselves cast under a harsh and scrutinizing light, the motion to pay tribute to what they and their lay companions have given their lives to, resonates forcefully in the hearts of many people. This is captured in the following words adapted from the writings of the SHARE Foundation:


Delegates pray at the Maryknoll sisters’ grave site in Chalatenango

For more than three decades, women religious and lay women have accompanied the people of El Salvador. Women religious responded to the cry for help during and after the war, traveling to El Salvador and working side by side with communities at the highest risk. They gave sanctuary to Salvadoran refugees in the U.S., fought for fair immigration policies, and pressured the U.S. government to cease military aid in order to end the war. Religious congregations provided material aid for the reconstruction of El Salvador in the aftermath of the war and countless natural disasters and continue to support women’s projects around the country. Theirs has been a labor of love infused with the spirit of our sister martyrs – a spirit of justice, compassion, and a willingness to speak truth to power.

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Mining: Stop Contaminating My Home!

February 5, 2013

Representatives want to see long-term change in mining practices, not temporary solutions

Representatives want to see long-term change in mining practices, not temporary solutions

The National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining (Mesa) and the International Allies Against Metallic Mining held a press conference at the CRIPDES offices yesterday morning. The Mesa spoke out in solidarity with Honduras and Guatemala, and the Allies spoke in solidarity with the Mesa. Alex Early, a representative of Sister Cities, presented the International Letter of Support for the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador. As members of the International Allies, SHARE staff attended the conference to show their solidarity with the Mesa. The press conference highlighted several important issues:

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“Partnership for Growth” or Destruction?

February 1, 2013

When El Salvador privatized electric energy in 1999, electricity rates rose an average 47.2% for the lowest-level consumers and 24.3% for the highest users, hitting the poorest sectors of society the hardest and illuminating problems associated with privatization. During the past two decades, privatization has trampled through El Salvador’s economy. In 2007 the government attempted to privatize water under the thinly-veiled “decentralization” effort, but a passionate social movement response halted the potentially devastating law. With the newly proposed P3 law, an even stronger offensive is needed to block the menacing attempt at privatization.   

Salvadorans protest the bill that would destroy progress with labor rights.Photo credit: Eric Draitser

Salvadorans protest the bill that would destroy progress with labor rights.

With the Public-Private Partnership (P3) law, the government is again attempting privatization; this time the P3 law threatens to destroy labor conditions, including unions and wages, and disempower Salvadoran institutions and workers. 

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