Reflections on Peace
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?
“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?
“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.”