The SHARE Blog

“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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Video Memoir: Celebrating Ita, Maura, Jean, and Dorothy


This past December, over 50 women and men, religious and lay, came to El Salvador. They came to celebrate the lives of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan, who were martyred during the civil war. During the ten day delegation, we traveled by yellow school buses all over the country; we filled our days by exploring the National Cathedral, wandering to Ita and Maura’s gravesite at sunset in Chalatenango, and resting with their beloved Salvadoran brothers and sisters in the countryside, surrounded by torchlight and welcoming embraces. For a look back at our time in El Salvador, walk with us through the Honoring Women Religious Delegation Video Memoir


A Look at the Drew Theological School Delegation

January 27, 2013

“We didn’t just visit tourist sites…the things we study in theory have been enriched through this experience. This is not a superficial visit to El Salvador and I really appreciate the great lengths SHARE and Drew [University] went to to expose us to such powerful people” – Susan Goodman

Throughout the past two weeks, students of Drew University Theological School accompanied Salvadorans through the sharing of their past and the realities of their present. The students met with Salvadorans who opened their hearts, engaging the students in their everyday lives and El Salvador’s history. Homestays in Pequeña Comunidad allowed the students to live and work alongside Salvadorans and become a part of their families for a brief time. After visiting memorial sites, such as the Monument to Truth and Memory, and connecting with human rights groups like the Romero Coalition, the students implemented the theories they learned in the classroom during their short visit to El Salvador. 

The Drew Delegates decided to jump in the the women from the Mujeres Ganaderas Cattle Cooperative for a photo

The Drew Delegates decided to jump in the the women from the Mujeres Ganaderas Cattle Cooperative for a photo

At the conclusion of their stay, students positively remarked on their conversations and reflections throughout their short visit to El Salvador. Student Drew Frisbie reflected, “For me, this experience has been about widening the circle of people we care about…after talking to people who have experienced radical hardship and still share hospitality, I have widened my circle.” The memories created on this delegation will help guide these students in their ministry.  

Want to get a closer look at how Drew University students spent their time in El Salvador?  Check out the Drew Delegation Video to see and hear more!

Interested in learning more about SHARE? Looking to join SHARE on a delegation? Visit the SHARE website for details.


Torchlight in the Darkness

January 24, 2013

Diane Clyne, former SHARE Board member and Sister of Mercy, traveled with the December Honoring Women Religious Delegation in December 2012, and proceeded to visit Honduras. Diane lived in El Salvador during the 1990s This is her reflection on her visit back to these two tumultuous and healing nations. 

Diane with two of her Salvadoran comrades in Chalatenango

Diane with two of her Salvadoran comrades in Chalatenango

Finding hope this winter 2012-2013 has been bittersweet. I returned mid December after ten days in El Salvador and over a week with our sisters in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to learn of the deaths of Innocents in Newtown Connecticut. My heart seemed caught in a downward spiral.

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Will Latin-American-U.S. Relationship Endure?

January 23, 2013

Women and men from the U.S. began standing with the people of El Salvador three decades ago, and many have never waned in their devotion to those they call brothers and sisters in this beloved nation. As a staff member who traveled with over 60 Catholic sisters and lay people on a delegation this past December, I have witnessed the enduring love so many people demonstrate to Salvadorans every year through SHARE and our partners.

SHARE works with Madre Guadalupe (center) and the Mothers of the Disappeared with Promemoria Historica for the Campaign for Truth, Justice, and Memory

SHARE works with Madre Guadalupe (center) and the Mothers of the Disappeared with Promemoria Historica for the Campaign for Truth, Justice, and Memory

According to an article from America Magazine, however, concern for Latin America seems to be dwindling for the U.S. churches and greater society as a whole. The lack of the Church’s attention to Latin American issues indicates a greater problem: the current U.S. solidarity movement with Latin America is significantly less powerful than it once was.

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Still seeking “a strong and lasting peace”

January 18, 2013

This 16th of January, we commemorate 21 years since the signing of the Peace Accords.  After 12 years of armed conflict, Salvadorans finally arrived at an agreement between the two parties, and ended a war that originated from social injustice, repression, and lack of personal liberties.  The consequences of this war included more than 75,000 people assassinated, thousands of people disappeared, children orphaned, refugees and displaced persons, and much destruction.

1992 Peace Accords_Chapultepec

Signing of the 1992 Peace Accords in Chapultepec, Mexico.

The signing of the Accords brought many important advances in the democratization of the country, such as the disbanding of the repressive forces, reduction of the armed forces, and the creation of new institutions like the Human Rights Ombudsman and the National Civil Police, among others.  However, the same cannot be said in terms of the economic situation.  El Salvador continues as one of the countries with the highest levels of economic inequality, where a small group of families receive more than half the country’s income, while the majority of the population lacks the resources to meet their basic needs.  The lack of economic opportunities has greatly influenced Salvadorans’ decisions to immigrate to the United States.  The Social Economic Forum created by the Peace Accords to address these issues produced no results.

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Radio Victoria Broadcasts for the People, despite Threats

January 17, 2013

The National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (the Mesa) needs international support in order to make demands of the affected populations of El Salvador heard by policy-makers. Please help us support the fight against mining by signing this petitionThe petition calls on the Milwaukee-based mining company Commerce Group (1) to cease further mining pursuits in San Sebastian, El Salvador, (2) to take responsibility for the environmental contamination, and (3) to drop its court case against the Salvadoran government under CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement).

Radio Victoria's programming coordinator sat down with Drew Theological school students and SHARE's Sarah Hall (left) to talk about the Radio's history and presence in the anti-mining struggle.

Radio Victoria’s programming coordinator sat down with Drew Theological school students and SHARE’s Sarah Hall (left) to talk about the Radio’s history and presence in the anti-mining struggle.

With Canadian mining company Pacific Rim threatening to invade El Salvador’s countryside, Radio Victoria wants to bring awareness to Salvadorans about the potentially fatal effects of mining. Radio Victoria, a member organization of the Mesa, broadcasts to the rural communities surrounding Ciudad Victoria within the Cabañas region, using their presence to spread awareness on a global level.

On Tuesday, January 15th, students from the Drew Theological School delegation met with Radio Victoria’s programming coordinator to discuss the beginnings of Radio Victoria and its current role in society. According to the coordinator, refugees founded Radio Victoria upon their return to Santa Marta in 1987 after fleeing to Honduras during the war.

Because many guerrilla fighters occupied Santa Marta, there were rumors surrounding the community that these members of Ciudad Victoria were “people of a different kind”, and therefore unworthy of having their city rebuilt. To dispel these rumors and bring a voice to the marginalized rural populations, members of the community created Radio Victoria and made their first broadcast on June 15, 1993. According to the programming coordinator, “it was a magical experience to hear family and friends send out their messages”.

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Youth Leaders Arrested

January 14, 2013

Police showed up dressed in all black, pulling young people out of community centers to arrest "suspected gang members". Photo from The Guardian: Sri Lanka

Police showed up dressed in all black, pulling young people out of community centers to arrest “suspected gang members”. Photo from The Guardian: Sri Lanka

For six youth leaders from the economically poor community of El Progreso 3 in northeastern San Salvador, they did not have the opportunity to spend the holidays playing games or eating pastries with their families; no, they were spent in an overcrowded jail in inhumane conditions.

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Reflecting the Martyrs: HWR Delegation 2012

January 10, 2013

A reflection on the Honoring Women Religious Delegation from the Sisters of St. Joseph in Boston, MA., after their return from El Salvador in December 2012:

Procesion2_Chalate4dic2012_zpsf61d0f45

In Chalatenango on a procession to the martyrs’ grave site. (Lois Connors, middle right)

On the 32nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan, SHARE and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) led a delegation to El Salvador. The theme was “Honoring Religious Women” who have dedicated their lives to peace and justice in El Salvador and in our world. Sisters Lois Connors and Claire Morrissey as well as CSJ Associates Judy Swett and Mary Rita Weschler were privileged to join in this delegation. From November 29 to December 6, 2012 they journeyed to El Salvador to retrace the route of the martyrs, visit nearby communities, participate in a forum on women’s issues, and hold a special event honoring women religious who continue the work for peace and justice across the world. They met with Salvadoran women religious and theologians working with those at the margins, and reflected together on hopes for our Church and its future. Lois, Claire, Judy, and Mary Rita are eager to reflect on their experience with others and plan to do that over the next few months. Their comments below are the beginning of this sharing. 

“It was a humbling experience to come to a church of martyrs and stand on Holy Ground in solidarity with a people of strong committed faith.” -Lois

“I was eager to touch the solid ground of the men and women of El Salvador…I desired to ‘widen my tent’. That has been realized. The colorful environment, the joy and welcoming spirit of all whom I encountered touched me! I have a new mosaic etched in my mind.” -Claire

“The entire program and process was liberating! The women and men I met on the camino shared their testimonies of the organized repression and oppression … having been inspired and challenged I will work and continue to ‘speak truth to power’!” -Judy

“The ‘preferential option for the poor’ has never made so much sense to me, and likely, never will. What a gift to be away, and to return with a fuller heart and a wider perspective. How grateful I am for all of this!” -Mary Rita


ADVOCACY ALERT! Petitions Against Mining in El Salvador

January 9, 2013

We challenge you to stretch your activist muscles now that those hazy holidays have come to a close by signing two petitions, one for organizations to sign and the other for individuals, to fight against metal mining in El Salvador.

Protesters at the anti-mining  march in Sensuntepeque in October 2012

Protesters at the anti-mining march in Sensuntepeque in October 2012

As the debate around mining in the Salvadoran National Assembly heats up, the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (the Mesa) is calling for international support as they struggle to protect environmental and natural resources. As the Mesa declared, “If [the] government really cares about guaranteeing sustainability and improving the quality of life for the population, instead of looking for a superficial solution […], it should promote a ban on metallic mining through a new Mining Law that explicitly reflects the profound socio-environmental crisis we are suffering in El Salvador.”

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