The SHARE Blog

Reflections on Peace

January 18, 2012

SHARE recently interviewed Isabel Hernandez, Director of SHARE El Salvador and Madre Guadalupe of the Committee of Family Members of the Disappeared (CODEFAM) to reflect on the peace accords and what it means 20 years after a war that took more than 75,000 lives. Below are just some of the powerful responses we received from these women:

Is the transition of the country to democracy durable and irreversible?

Madre Guadalupe

Madre Guadalupe-

“There has been a transition because now we have the space to speak up and say how we feel, however we are living in the same conditions. To have peace people need to be able to fulfill basic needs, like food. If you are hungry, you are not at peace. If you are scared of violence, you are not at peace. If you are under economic stress, you are not at peace. When you have been a victim, you are not at peace.  When these conditions exist you cannot speak of peace.”

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Chapultepec Peace Accords, what are your thoughts on the state of peace in this country and the extent to which the state has complied with recommendations of the Peace Accords/Commission on Truth?

Isabel Hernandez-

Isabel Hernandez

“For the Salvadoran people, the peace agreements meant an end to 60 years of military dictatorship and space for the construction of a new democratic system that respects freedom of thought. The main achievements were the dissolution of the ill named security forces (Treasury Police, National Police and National Guard) that were used to repress the people, the armed forces assumed its role of protecting the state and ceased to engage in political affairs. Also, there was a great reduction in  military personnel. Some constitutional amendments were made, including the legalization of the FMLN as a political party, the National Police was created with a new doctrine of  civil service to the public and the Humans Rights Ombudspersons Office was created to ensure that the state does not violate human rights.

There are areas of the peace agreements that are pending compliance and others that have not advanced at all. For example:

In the economic sphere there was a social and economic forum created, consisting of employers, workers and the government to discuss and propose economic changes. That initiative did not work.

The governments of Cristiani, Calderon Sol, Francisco Flores and Saca did not promote or support policies to improve the agricultural sector. Therefore, there has been no progress in Argarian reform. Another debt of the Peace Accords is the lack of justice for victims and their families.”

Read More »


Cinquera Historica

December 28, 2011

Out of a past of horror and violence, Cinquera shines as a beacon of hope for the future.

A mere thirty years ago, nearly unspeakable atrocities were common place in this small, mountainous town. Don Lito, a historic leader of Cinquera, shares gut-wrenching tales of torture, rape, massacres, and incredible, cruetly against humble farmers whose greatest sin was to organize for land to work to feed their families. But today, Cinquera has become a model for locally-led, sustainble development with an emphasis on youth, historical memory, and environmental preservation.

In 1991, the civilian population returned to repopulate Cinquera from the refugee camp in Mesa Grande, Honduras. Like so many places in El Salvador, people returned to find a town destroyed. They began to rebuild from the rubble, starting with makeshift homes, then permanent houses, then roads, a school and potable water. Read More »


Celebrating 2011!

December 15, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, we look back on all of the amazing achievements that your solidarity has made possible.  Thanks to you, and the support of hundreds of others, SHARE and our counterparts in El Salvador were able to: 
  • Make the high school graduation of 23 young leaders possible! In a country where only 15% of the rural population reaches high school, this is a major achievement for young people and their families. 
  • Support communities like San Simon and El Corozal  in preparing for and adapting to climate change, including the creation of risk-prevention and disaster mitigation maps and plans, which helped prevent loss of life in the October 2011 deluge.
  • Provide over 50 micro-loans for women’s economic initiatives, including a pig project with the Mujeres Ganaderas. Watch a video about their work here! Read More »

Civil Society Demands Justice on the 30th Anniversary of the Mozote Massacre

December 14, 2011

The Monsenor Romero Coalition and the signatory organizations and persons call on the national and international community to remember that December 10th we celebrate the 63rd Anniversary of the Universal Declaraion of Human Rights and that on the 11, 12 and 13th of December of this year it will be 30 years since the Mozote Massacre.  These two commemorations invite us to continue with efforts to denounce impunity and demand that the Salvadoran government provide the truth, justice and reparations for the crime against humanity committed in El Mozote and surrounding areas. For this reason:

1.  We declare to never forget this cruel, inhumane and aberrant extermination. Read More »


Youth and Theater: Another Sign of a National Unified Mining Resistance

December 12, 2011

Last week, fifteen high school students from Carasque, Chalatenango piled into a van and made the six hour trek from their home to Santa Rosa de Lima in La Union.  For many of them it was the first time they had ever traveled outside of their department (the Salvadoran equivalent of a state) as well as the first time that any of them had gone as far as La Union, the most eastern department in the country.

These rambunctious youth, part of the Nuevas Estrellas Juveniles theater group, traveled all that way to participate in the music, arts and culture week organized by the Santa Rosa de Lima Parish.  Since the beginning of last year, the theater group has been traveling around the department of Chalatenango presenting a play called La Mina Contamina (The Mine Contaminates).  The parish priest in Santa Rosa de Lima invited the group to perform their play as way to continue to educate his community about the dangers of mining and also so that the theater group could leave a copy of the script for the parish theater group to reproduce. Read More »


Spain Demands that El Salvador extradite military personnel processed for the massacre of the Jesuits

December 9, 2011

The Council of Ministers also resolved to request that the United States of America extradite the two other military personnel accused in the killing who reside in that country. One of the defense lawyers said that the call for extradition does not worry them because they are certain that the Supreme Court of Justice will deny the request.

Ignacio Ellacuria, SJ

By Efren Lemus
elfaro.net / Published December 2,  2011
Translated by Bethany Loberg.  Original in Spanish here

This Friday the Spanish Council of Ministers agreed to request that Salvadoran and U.S. authorities extradite 15 Salvadoran military personnel accused of participating in the assassination of six Jesuit priests and two of their collaborators, a crime which occurred the 16th of November of 1989. 

Europa Press stated that in accordance with the proposal of the Spanish Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamaño, the Spanish government has emitted 13 requests for extradition from El Salvador and two from the United States. Caamaño presented the application for extradition at the request of the Supreme Court, the institution prosecuting the military personnel for the crimes of assassination, terrorism, and crimes against humanity.   Read More »


El Mozote: Seeking Justice in Spite of the Amnesty Law

December 6, 2011

December 11th, 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the El Mozote massacre – one of the largest, most brutal massacres in Latin America. As part of the military’s scorched earth campaign to remove any possible source of supplies for the guerrilla by killing entire rural villages, members of the armed forces entered El Mozote and the surrounding villages in December of 1981, rounding up, separating, and systematically killing men, women, and children. Through investigations including exhumations and testimonies, Tutela Legal, the San Salvador Archdiocese’s human rights office has identified 819 individuals killed in the massacre – over half under the age of twelve.

Thanks to Rufina Amaya’s tireless efforts to tell her story, as the sole survivor of the massacre, international news coverage, several rounds of exhumations of human remains, and the work of human rights organizations like Tutela Legal, the massacre can no longer be denied. El Mozote has become a well-known symbol of the brutality of the armed forces during the war.

 

The Salvadoran government, however, has not taken actions to investigate or bring to trial the intellectual and material authors of these brutal murders. To the contrary, since the peace accords, the army and government have paid homage to Colonel Domingo Monterrosa, a key leader in the massacre, on numerous occasions. As Gisela León of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) stated in a recent interview, “The massacre of El Mozote represents the absolute impunity that all cases from the conflict are in.” Efforts at truth-telling and investigation, necessary elements in reaching reconciliation, have come solely from civil society.

Read More »


Thanksgiving Day Protest in Solidarity with the 99% Global Occupy Movement

November 26, 2011

On Thursday, November 24th, as people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, US citizens in El Salvador and Salvadorans gathered outside of the US Embassy to stand in solidarity with the global “Occupy” and “Indignados” movements.  Their demands include an end to neoliberal, capitalist free trade policies, the militarization of the Central American region, and environmental destruction that has led to climate change. Tedde Simon, SHARE staffer, (right) said of the morning: “This is a symbolic event to express our solidarity with the millions of people around the world that have stood up to say, BASTA!, enough.  We believe that a better world is possible, and we are working together to create it, every day.”

Read about How the Occupy Movement Came to El Salvador here!

The group published the following press release:

Capitalist globalization has forced governments all over the world to prioritize the economic interests of the richest 1% of the global population over basic needs such as education, health care and employment for the other 99% of humanity.

Faced with a corrupt democratic process, staggering social inequality and an ecological crisis which threatens life itself, the 99% has risen up against this injustice in over 1,500 cities all over the world, through the Occupy Movement in the United States and the Indignados Movement in Spain and other European countries, and through a wealth of local and national alternatives in Latin America and around the world. Read More »


Steadfast, Resilient Witnesses: St John Fisher Chapel and Detroit SHARE Committee

November 22, 2011

The Detroit SHARE Committee and St John Fisher Chapel: A History

It is 1987. The civil war in El Salvador is at its height. Ground war, helicopter war, massacres, mayhem. In the midst of these horrific conditions, Salvadoran refugees housed in Honduras say, “Enough is enough.  We are going home!” And they do.  Refugees from Mesa Grande, Honduras are returning to their home country in spite of fear and displacement to begin new lives and new communities.  The atmosphere is threatening, and those witnessing this homecoming sense the deep profoundness of this courage.

Detroit Delegacion 1989 5 2Under the leadership of Bp. Tom Gumbleton and a group of three others, the Detroit Going Home Task Force began sending delegations to El Salvador to accompany these faithful refugees home.  In 1990, the committee accepted a covenant to support Ellacuria—a small, struggling community in rural Chalatenango— and have faithfully continued this relationship for 21 years.  Kudos to Bishop Gumbleton, Sue Sattler IHM, and Mary and Bill Carry who opened this journey to many others in the “Detroit SHARE Committee.” Read More »


The National Roundtable against Mining Rejects the Public-Private Partnership Bill

November 21, 2011

In the context of the discussion surrounding the Public-Private Partnership Bill and the recent ratification of the Partners in Growth Agreement with the United States, the National Roundtable against Mining rejects these new efforts to privatize public services and states:

The proposals made in the Public-Private Partnership Bill and Partners in Growth Agreement with United States seem, clearly, to be the continuation of neoliberal policies that promote the privatization of public services and which would affect the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of the Salvadoran population.

The participation of the private sector, as established by the bill, happen through concessions of goods and projects that are public domain or through concessions for the execution of an activity of public interest. The proposal also allows for the possibility that a company can use its own goods to sell a public service. As part of the organized social movement we ask ourselves: What is the difference then-if there is one-between public-private partnership contracts and the privatization of services? Or is this actually a disguise that attempts to hide the plans of institutions like the International Monetary Fund.
Read More »


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