The SHARE Blog

Members of Congress call on Obama to support environmental protection and trade reform in El Salvador

March 22, 2011

A press release from CISPES regarding Obama’s stay in El Salvador.

Members of Congress, policy experts call on President Obama
to support environmental protection and trade reform in El Salvador
Washington, D.C. & San Salvador – As President Obama travels to El Salvador, leaders in Congress and national policy organizations are calling on him to support the Salvadoran government in protecting the country’s environmental and social rights rather than succumbing to pressure from multinational mining corporations.

Nineteen House Democrats and over 140 environmental, religious, and human rights organizations signed letters to the President asking him to amend investment rules in U.S. trade policy, to prevent corporations from challenging other countries’ regulations through private arbitration.  The letters also ask Obama to denounce a $100 million lawsuit by a Canadian mining company, Pacific Rim, against the government of El Salvador for allegedly violating the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

“I urge President Obama to offer support for El Salvador’s legitimate right to develop policies protecting human rights and the environment,” said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who co-sponsored the congressional letter.  “The U.S. should applaud El Salvador’s commitment to promoting the health and well-being of its citizens, and the protection of the environment.  Instead, our trade policies enable North American mining companies to sue the Salvadoran government for upholding its legitimate right to protect its air, water, and soil.  This is unacceptable; I’m grateful to my colleagues for joining me in calling on the President to raise this issue during his upcoming visit to El Salvador.” Read More »


Social Movement Presents Demands to Obama


 

Protest in front of the Salvador del Mundo monument

The MPR-12 Movement along with a number of other groups in the social movement held a march this morning to present their demands to President Obama during his visit to El Salvador.  Those demands include:

-Close the U.S. military bases in Central America-Close the ILEA (U.S. run police training academy in El Salvador)-Revoke CAFTA-Respect the rights of immigrants-Freedom for the 5 Cuban political prisoners in the United States-Not allow the reintegration of the Coup Government in Honduras into the OAS-Stop the military agression in Libya Read More »


Letter From El Salvador: Day Three- Return to Huisisilapa

March 21, 2011

During the delegation, Northwest students and teachers participated in two one-night homestays in the community of Huisisilapa. Families returning from refugee camps in Honduras in 1991 founded the community, starting with a swath of overgrown land, and the few belongings they had brought with them. In the initial years, community members taught students to read under the trees. Today Huisisilapa has elementary school all the way through high school, a dream few rural communities have realized. This next excerpt describes returning to Huisisilapa for the second homestay.

The next day we arrived earlier than usual, around 9:30 am, after a decent distance traveled to the soundtrack of “The Sound of Music”. We got off the short bus, throats hoarse from a good group sing-a-long, and dispersed to go to our various home stays. That morning the plan was to participate in the Polaroid photography project, in which each family, as well as those who were staying there, had their picture taken. Then each person photographed was asked to attach their image to a piece of paper and write about their personal hopes and dreams, as a form of intercultural and personal exchange within the household. For this morning activity, however, we were only taking the images. Read More »


First Success Against Commerce Group!

March 16, 2011

Great news everyone! The ICSID (International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) has discarded one of the suits filed against El Salvador by Commerce Group! This is a small but important success for the government and people of El Salvador in keeping mining and its negative health and environmental effects out of its country. We want to send a huge thank you to all of those who called, sent letters, e-mails, and faxes to the Commerce Group- you have helped the Salvadoran people win one part of the battle, but it still not over! The urgency against other mining companies like Pacific Rim continues! Please continue your support as we continue our support of the Salvador people against mining.

For more information see the Decision here


Letter From El Salvador: Day Two- Sihua Batucada


In the afternoon of the 26th, Northwest students and teachers met with an empowered group of young women receives trainings in sexual and reproductive health from the Institute of the Woman, IMU. These young women have also formed their own drum band, the Sihua Batucada. SHARE supports these women with partial high school scholarships.

After a full morning of exchange, we continued to Suchitoto,where we shared a particularly good lunch with a group of youngSalvadoran women who, not only go from town to town talking about sexualand reproductive rights in the face of criticism, but also have theirown drum and dance group called Sihua Batucada. We got to know a littlebit about them through intermingling between chewing at the lunch table,but even more so when they presented their cause through a presentation.This was a particularly interesting meeting, primarily because ElSalvador is a notoriously religious country; the country’s name means“The Savior”, or Jesus Christ.

In such a strong presence of religion,talking about sexual and reproductive rights, as well as sexuality, canbe considered “taboo”. Abortion is illegal here, and re-emphasized assuch many times in the national constitution. The women talked aboutthis challenge, and how they have been criticized on numerous occasions.At one point, the criticism and lies being spread about them were sostrong that they thought the group would have to stop meeting.Fortunately, they overcame the negative attention, and now pride in informing women (and men) all over about their sexual rights, pregnancy prevention, sexuality, and the issue of violence toward women. At one point, a member of our group brought up the question ofhomosexuality: Is it illegal? If not, is the gay lesbian population asmarginalized as it is in the US? Read More »


Letter from El Salvdor: Day One- Scholarship Youth Assembly

March 11, 2011

February 20th to March 4th, twenty-four high school juniors and seniors along with five teachers from the Northwest School in Seattle Washington joined SHARE for a thirteen-day delegation. The Northwest School has strong roots in social justice, and has been in partnership with SHARE and our sister organization UCRES for several years now. For the past two weeks, Northwest students had the opportunity to interact with Salvadorans their age who are active leaders in their communities, to meet with members of various organizations working towards justice in many areas, to visit the community of Huisisilapa and stay with families, and to travel to Cabañas to learn the latest in the struggle against mining, amongst other things. During the delegation, the teachers wrote home to the students’ parents every couple of nights to share events and emotions. One night, one of the students wrote the letter home. Over the next few days we will share excerpts of her letter.

For the first excerpt, on February 26th, the delegation spent the morning with high school and college students who SHARE and sistering groups like Northwest support in their studies and leadership development lead by UCRES, one of SHARE’s counterparts. Read More »


Amicus Brief: Environmental and Human Rights Impacts of Mining


Dear SHARE community,

We continue our support of the anti-mining groups in El Salvador. Many of our delegations have witnessed first hand the health risks, human rights violations, and environmental impacts that mining can cause. We realize the importance this issue has to our base of supporters and would like to share with you all what could be a very helpful case against mining in El Salvador.
(If you would like to read this and other articles in Spanish, please visit our Spanish Blog)

Amicus Brief Highlights the Environmental and Human Rights Impacts of Mining in $77 Million Investment Arbitration Case

Washington, DC: On March 2, 2011, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), on behalf of civil society organizations of the Mesa Nacional Frente a la Minería Metálica (Mesa), filed an amicus curiae brief in the Pac Rim Cayman LLC v. Republic of El Salvador case, currently being heard at the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The Mesa is a coalition of human rights and environmental organizations working to ban metals mining in El Salvador. Read More »


Romero Justice Week 2011

March 1, 2011


Dear friends,
As February comes to a close and we enter into March, here at the SHARE Foundation we remind ourselves to pause, to fully appreciate the living, breathing legacy of Archbishop Oscar Romero. We invite you to join us by planning an event or space to come together in solidarity with the Salvadoran people in celebration of Romero’s life, his dedication to the poor and marginalized of El Salvador and the world, and his untiring denouncement of the structures of injustice and oppression. To offer ideas and materials for commemoration and reflection, we have created the Romero Week Packet, They Must Be Educated for Love; Romero’s Legacy and the Right to Education. (click the link to download the packet)

On this 31st anniversary of Monseñor Romero’s death, we have an opportunity to honor his legacy and recognize those that continue to walk in his footsteps. In honoring the incredible example of love and justice that he laid his life down for, we can celebrate Romero’s life by raising awareness around one of the keys to creating sustainable development in El Salvador today: access to education. The Romero Week Packet includes information on Romero’s legacy; the struggle to access quality education; examples of transformative education in El Salvador today, a sample spiritual service; quotes, prayers, reflections, discussion questions and ideas for action. Read More »


Sugar Cane Burning, Pesticide Use and Organizing in the Bajo Lempa Make the International News!

February 22, 2011

Dear SHARE Friends and Community,

 

As many of you know, years of chemical pesticides and sugar cane burning in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador have put the health and lives of thousands of families at risk.  Renal failure is a serious problem that has taken the lives of countless community leaders and friends and until very recently, this situation wasn’t national news in El Salvador, despite community organizing against chemical pesticides and alarming rates of dialysis and death.  The Bajo Lempa is one of the areas most devastatingly affected by flooding on an almost yearly basis; a two-decades effort for prevention and mitigation projects has finally resulted in concrete actions on the part of the government, but the struggle continues.

Given this situation, we’re excited to share with you all this great in-depth article on Al-Jazeera English about the situation in the Bajo Lempa.  While the article is focused on one of the many community-based organizations working for environmental protection, advocacy for public works, healthcare rights, education, and organic agriculture, it does a great talking about the general situation in an area where SHARE has worked for many, many years: with the Women’s Cattle Cooperative and CRIPDES San Vicente.

Following is a short excerpt; please read Climate: Putting People Over Money for more! Read More »


Public Opinion Poll in El Salvador

February 10, 2011

The University of Technology in El Salvador has conducted its public opinion poll through the Center of Investigations covering political, economic, and social aspects (February 4-6, 2011)


According to the opinion polls taken this month in El Salvador, about 70% of the population agrees that the most typical forms of crime are juvenile delinquency, theft, and extortion. However, even though a large portion of the population believes the country is dominated by crime (82.3%), only 30% of the population has ever been a victim of such crimes. Another pressing issue for the Salvadoran community is their economic situation. 58% of families have at least one person of age that is currently unemployed, and of those 58%, 58% have not held a job in over a year. Most Salvadorans agree that crime and their economic status are the most difficult situations they currently facing.
When dealing with these crimes, the Salvadoran community chooses to trust more in the Armed Forces for protection that the PNC alone. 60% of the population agrees that either the Armed Forces alone, or the Armed Forces patrolling along side of the PNC is more favorable to the PNC patrolling on their own. This shows that the Salvadoran community is responding well to suggestions made by President Mauricio Funes.
As to who Salvadorans will vote for in upcoming elections, 70% of the population agrees that Mauricio Funes is popular due to his style of governing. However, when asked whether he is taking the country in the right direction, almost half say yes and the other half say he is not. When looking at who the population will potentially vote for during the elections for mayor and other representatives, there is about a 10% difference in favor of FMLN over ARENA.

To read this opinion poll and for more information, please visit the Center of Investigations for the Public Opinion of El Salvador


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