The SHARE Blog

Social Panorama of Latin America

February 8, 2011

Cesar Villalona, a prestigious international economist, gives us a breakdown of the reports done by CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin American, of the United Nations) covering the social panorama in Latin America for 2010. 

The report discusses the changing rates of poverty in Latin America, the factors leading to these changes, and the economic effects these changes are having. The growing inequality between countries is one of the biggest findings in this report. As one will notice, graph 1.2 (p. 4) shows the variation in the cost of food increase, which has been relatively low for El Salvador, and relatively high in countries like Bolivia and Chile. However, when we compare the rates of poverty change from 2002 to 2009 on graph 1.3 (p. 9), countries like Chile, Bolivia, but especially those of Argentina and Venezuela have been able to decrease their poverty levels by large percentages. In 2002, Argentina’s poverty rates were about 45%, whereas now in 2009 they are at a low of only about 11%. 
El Salvador, on the other hand, has only decreased its poverty rates by 1% (48.9% in 2002 to 47.9% in 2009); the lowest change in all of Latina America! So we can see that, even though the cost of food has not increased dramatically in El Salvador, the rates of poverty are also not changing, but are in fact staying relatively high in comparison to other countries. 

To read the report and for more information please click HERE


Action Alert: Support Anti-Mining Activists

February 2, 2011

Our allies in the Cabañas environmental movement as well as the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining (the Mesa) are very concerned about a recent wave of death threats and crimes against members of El Salvador’s anti-mining movement as well as other violent crimes recently committed in Cabañas.  Similar crimes in 2009 that went uninvestigated, including robberies, kidnappings, and death threats against members of Radio Victoria, ADES, ASIC, and the CAC – all active organizations in Cabañas’ mining resistance –were a prelude to the murders of three activists, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera and Dora Alicia Sorto Recinos. Please read more in-depth reports here and here.

Therefore, our allies are extremely concerned that the on-going state of impunity not only encourages the recent threats and crimes but could lead to more violence and murders in the near future.


Current situation:
•    In the middle of the night on January 11, a written death threat was pushed under the front door of community radio station Radio Victoria despite supposed 24-hour police security.  The authors claim to be an “extermination group” and offer large sums of money to the radio if they “stop making trouble,” including to stop reporting on mining.  If they don’t, the group says they will murder the radio’s three “loudest mouths,” Elvis Zavala, Pablo Ayala, and Manuel Navarrete.

•    On January 23, Mesa member and activist from MUFRAS-32 Hector Berríos received phone calls to his home and his cell phone from an unidentified person who claimed to have been hired to kill Hector or a member of his family. Read More »


Drew Theological Seminary in El Salvador

February 1, 2011

For the first few weeks of 2011, SHARE received a delegation from the Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey. Nine students and two professors spent two weeks learning about communities express their faith here in El Salvador.  Listed below are some of their favorite quotes taken from the various individuals and groups we met with while they were here.

“We cannot do this without people in our community.” -Radio Victoria talking about continuing their work despite recieving death threats

“People are not looking for the American dream, they are fleeing the Central American nightmare.”-Dean Brackley S.J. about immigration Read More »


Spotlighting Sisters: St. Sebastian and Teosinte

January 31, 2011

Garden of Love Deeply Planted: St. Sebastian Parish and Teosinte by Phelia Lorenzen, SHARE Supporter
To think that in 1991, a citywide delegation from Milwaukee to El Salvador planted the first seed for St. Sebastian Parish to partner with Teosinte — a small, isolated village high in the hills of Chalatenago.
At the time, Teosinte, a repatriated community from a refugee camp in Honduras, was only three years old. In great need. Fifty-two families, starting from scratch to farm the mountainous hills of the area, had begun a long journey to create a viable, sustainable, cohesive community. St. Sebastian people’s hearts were touched, and a strong, loving partnership began and continues to strengthen. The garden flourishes.
St. Sebastian immediately adopted the “three pillars of accompaniment” that were the guidelines of The SHARE Foundation (coordinator for sistering programs in El Salvador): physical accompaniment, spiritual accompaniment, and financial support.
Physical accompaniment takes form in many ways with St. Sebastian. They arrange regular delegations to the community so delegates can walk the garden — live in home stays with the families, play with the children, dialogue with the Directiva, taste new foods, hang out with the kids, and share mass, along with general community fiestas. At home in Milwaukee, the Teosinte/El Salvador Committee prints a quarterly newsletter for all parishioners that includes events in Teosinte and personal letters from community members and scholarship recipients. Read More »


Action Alert: Activist receives death threat

January 25, 2011

Amnesty International Action Alert

Hector Berríos, a community activist and human rights lawyer in Cabañas, a department of El Salvador, received death threats by phone on 23 January. Amnesty International believes he is being targeted for his human rights work, and is at risk.

On 23 January, at 12.20 pm Hector Berríos received a phone call on his landline from an unknown man who claimed to be a friend, and asked where Hector was. Around a minute later, the same person called Hector Berríos’ mobile phone, saying that they had been paid a lot of money to kill him, or a member of his family “Nos han pagado mucho dinero para asesinarte…ya sea a vos o a uno de tu familia”. The man continued by saying “We have been watching you in San Isidro and Mejicanos, we have got you close, look, we know you work for the people” (“…Te hemos estado observando en San Isidro y Mejicanos, te tenemos cerca, mira sabemos que trabajas para la gente…”). The caller made an offer to Hector Berríos: if Hector withdrew from his work, they would not kill him. At this point Hector Berríos put the phone down.

The previous day, on 22 January, starting at 10.00 pm Hector Berríos received ten anonymous phone calls. He has not received further calls. Read More »


If you can’t get through, EMAIL the COMMERCE GROUP TODAY!

January 14, 2011

It seems the ICSID tribunal has asked for more time before deciding about whether the Commerce Group case will move forward.  The decision will be issued this month. That is why it’s important to send a clear message demanding that the company to drop the suit. 

 If you can’t get through on the phone, please send email to:  info@commercegroupcorp.com

SAMPLE EMAIL
Hello.

My name is _______________(if you are a Milwaukee or Wisconsin resident, say so up front!) and I have been following Commerce Group’s lawsuit  against the government of El Salvador.

I am calling on Ed Machulak and the Board of Directors to respect the right of the government of El Salvador to protect the environment and the health of the people near the San Sebastian mine by immediately withdrawing your lawsuit against the government of El Salvador.

It is deplorable that the government of El Salvador is under attack for protecting the health and safety of its people.   If anything, it is Commerce Group who should be paying for the toxic legacy that has been left behind

I will be telling my friends and neighbors about the damage you are causing, as well as calling on my Congressional Representatives to take action.

Thank you.


Action Alert: Call on the Commerce Group to Withdraw their Shameful Lawsuit against El Salvador!

January 10, 2011

On January 13 the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank will announce their decision about whether the lawsuit brought by the Commerce Group will proceed to the next phase.

On JANUARY 14, 2011:

Let’s send a clear message to the Commerce Group: Withdraw your shameful lawsuit against El Salvador!

On Wednesday, December 29, 2010, four members (Steve Watrous, Al Gedicks, Babette Grunow and Dan Kasun) of the Midwest Coalition Against Lethal Mining (MCALM) met with John Machulak, an attorney with Machulak, Robertson & Sodos, and brother of Commerce Group’s Chairman and CEO Edward Machulak to ask him to withdraw the $100 million lawsuit against El Salvador. He refused.

As Dan Kasun observed, “It appeared obvious that the comments by John Machulak throughout the meeting either attempted to minimize culpability or prove willfully ignorant of the obvious environmental and health impact of the Commerce Group’s mining operations.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, we promised that if they did not withdraw the lawsuit brought against El Salvador under the foreign investor “protections” of the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) that we would continue our campaign of public education and political pressure. Read More »


Celebrating a successful 2010!

December 31, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, SHARE is excited to be celebrating another successful year. 2010 has been full of events worth celebrating. In addition to successfully implementing eighteen projects for youth leadership development and scholarships, women’s empowerment, organic agriculture, environmental protection, and advocacy initiatives, SHARE celebrated several major advocacy victories and kept the legacy of social justice alive with two major delegations commemorating Archbishop Romero and the 4 US Churchwomen.

Here are just a few highlights from 2010:

  • SHARE played key role in pressuring the Salvadoran state to apologize to the civilian victims of the civil war and ask for forgiveness for its role in Romero’s assassination for the first time since the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992.

Remembering the Martyred of El Salvador

December 23, 2010

A reflection by delegates, Sisters Julia Keegan and Jean Rupertus, who accompanied SHARE on the delegation honoring the 4 US Churchwomen. 

On November 29, we went to El Salvador with a 50-person delegation from SHARE to honor the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of Maryknoll Missionaries Maura Clark and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay volunteer Jean Donovan. Our first stop was Divina Providencia where Archbishop Oscar Romero lived and where he was killed while saying Mass. We laid our hands on the altar and united in solidarity with the people of El Salvador. It was fitting to go there first because his conversion and commitment to the poor inspired and strengthened the commitment of these four women. 

On the anniversary of the rape and murder of the four women, we traveled to San Pedro Nonhualco which is where their bodies were found…

Read the rest of the reflection here.


Need a last minute gift idea?

December 20, 2010

SHARE solidarity gifts are a great way to make your donation to SHARE a gift for someone special. Just pick a project, enter the recipient’s contact info and we’ll send a card that tells them you made a gift to SHARE in his or her honor. It’s that simple.  See the projects here: http://bit.ly/fwuF2q

And you can have the peace of mind, that this holiday season you helped support the struggle for economic and social justice in El Salvador.

Purchase your gift before 12/23 to ensure that we can email the card before Christmas. Let us know if you have any questions!


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