The SHARE Blog

Virtual Chat on the Commerce Group Mine

September 7, 2010

Virtual Chat on the Commerce Group Mine in El Salvador with the Mesa’s David Pereira
What: Presentation and Q & A about the Commerce Group Mine with David Pereira from CEICOM, the Center of Investigation of Investment and Commerce and the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining. Pereira will speak about the CEICOM study of the mine at Santa Rosa de Lima which was once Central America’s most productive mine and has been operated by Commerce Group since 1968. The area is heavily contaminated and community members suffer various health problems. In 2006 the Milwaukee based mining company had to stop operations in El Salvador when there permit was revoked. Now, Commerce Group has jumped on the Pacific Rim bandwagon and is suing El Salvador for 100 million dollars. Read More »

A Conversation with Return to El Salvador director Jamie Moffett | Art Threat

September 1, 2010

Check out this article: A Conversation with Return to El Salvador director Jamie Moffett | Art Threat

Remembering Women in El Salvador

August 13, 2010

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Comadre Alicia Garcia Dies

On Wednesday, August 11th, Alicia Garcia, one of the founding members of the Committee of Mothers Monseñor Romero, passed away after over thirty years of unending struggle in defense of human rights and for justice in El Salvador

After witnessing the student massacre of June 30, 1975 from the Maternity Hospital where she worked at the time, sheltering students running from the National Guard and watching bodies thrown into military trucks, never to be seen again, coupled with the disappearance of her own son, Alicia accompanied women searching for their loved ones in prisons, morgues, and mass graves. When he was named archbishop, Monseñor Romero encouraged the Comadres to form a committee to search for their loved ones, support each other, and denounce violence together. At every Sunday mass, Monseñor Romero would read a list of disappeared, tortured and killed people that the Comadres compiled as they received information and testimonies from victims and families of victims.
Because of their extensive library of documents and photographs of the death squad and military violence during the 1970s and 1980s, the Comadres offices were bombed many times. In meeting with delegations, Alicia would often share her own heart-wrenching testimony of the disappearance, torture and death of her children and her unending search for their whereabouts and sometimes, her own stories of torture at the hands of the military. Read More »

Letter to the Editor: Mining in El Salvador

August 9, 2010

The following is a sample Letter to the Editor to raise awareness about the struggle against metallic mining in El Salvador. Please help us educate others about the threat of mining and of US corporations by sending this letter to the Editor of your local or state newspaper, posting it on your blog or facebook page, and sending it to friends and family. Feel free to edit in your own experiences in El Salvador, your own reflections, and please, when you get published, send us the link!

Dear Editor,

We are writing to express our concern about a series of violent events in El Salvador linked to US foreign and trade policy, directly involving multi-national corporations with bases in the United States. Underground, cyanide-leach gold mining operations in this tiny Central American country threaten to do severe damage by polluting streams, rendering livestock ill or sterile, and compromising the health of children and adults. Communities that would be devastated by these effects have organized in resistance to mining and the multinational corporations, and have faced the consequences.

Ongoing violence and threats towards community leaders and activists—including a local radio station and priest—culminated in three assassinations in 2009. In June, activist Marcelo Rivera was kidnapped and tortured, his body found at the bottom of a well bearing marks of a death squad assassination. A spate of killings in the days before and after Christmas left community leader Ramiro Rivera and eight-month pregnant Dora “Alicia” Sorto dead. Read More »

Women with Corbos in El Pino, Las Mercedes

The vegetable garden project in El Pino, Las Mercedes is an incredible testament to the effectiveness of organizing in women’s empowerment. Before this project, there was not a women’s committee in El Pino. According to the women themselves, the communal vegetable garden has motivated and encouraged women’s organization greatly. Women in this community are working together in synch, old and young, side by side, and are seeing the fruits of their labor. There are twenty-three people in total working this plot of land, including five young men. The work is done as collectively as possible, and there is certainly no shortage.

Their seeds are sown on the side of a steep hill, that ends, hundreds of meters below, on the banks of the Suchitlan reservoir. Aside from agriculture, which puts the beans and tortillas on many families’ plates, many in El Pino scrape by with fishing.

Because it is not possible for all of the members of the committee put in the same amount of work, when the crops are harvested, people will receive an amount relative to the time they contributed. Because of the size of the group, and with larger families in this community, the women believe that the harvest will go towards mostly towards family consumption.

Here’s a snipet of our conversation:

Read More »

Organic Veggies and Powerful Women Tucked away in the Chalate Mountains

July 28, 2010

Los Pozos, Carasque. From Chalate proper, its another two hour drive down roads that remind you of the many corners of El Salvador long abandoned by may consecutive governments. To get there, near the border with Honduras, we drive a more-than-bumpy road, and on it, we pass over the Río Sumpul. The bridge was seriously damaged during Tropical Storm Agatha, the first time in anyone’s memory that this bridge has been damaged.

As we stop to look, Rubia, the Women’s Secretary of the CCR, points to the tourist center, whose meeting room and cafeteria were washed away by the raging river. As people came to witness, they saw entire refrigerators, tables, chairs rush downstream. Unpassable, people had to walk across the bridge while the buses on either side made 10-point turns on the narrow road to return. Read More »

Press Release of the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining

July 15, 2010

Last Thursday, July 1st, the Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador, through the Specialized Department Against Organized Crime (DECO) and the Sub directorate of Investigations of the National Civil Police captured a dozen suspects involved in the murders of the environmentalists Ramiro Rivera Gómez and Dora Sorto Recinos, who were brutally gunned down in December of 2009 in the town of Trinidad, Sensuntepeque (Cabañas). Most of these detainees are only in provisional custody, except for the two alleged intellectual authors of the crimes.

Its important that the Attorney General office has detained some of the alleged murderers, although they only did so seven months after the crimes took place and only under strong international and national pressure. Nonetheless, many aspects of this police action are worrying. Therefore, the communities and organizations of the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining would like to address three of these points. Read More »

Planting Seeds of Women’s Empowerment in San Pablo Tacachico

July 8, 2010

The last workshop from women in San Pablo Tacachico in the home vegetable garden part of the SHARE-UCRES Strengthening Women’s Committees and Advocacy for the Defense of the Rio Sucio project was held on the muggy morning of April 28th at CORDES, a technical organization that works alongside CRIPDES, to provide training and assistance for livestock, agriculture, construction, and many other things. Their compound in San Pablo Tacachico is stunningly beautiful—murals painted all over, flowers in full bloom. Women are given a handbook after the five workshops that encompasses all they have learned, including information specific to the fruits and vegetables they will be planting in their home gardens, and have the direct number of a CORDES expert for any questions or support they may need throughout the process.

In this last workshop, where women from Rutilio Grande, La Joya, Huisisilapa, Ita Maura, Dimas Rodriguez, Amayo, San Jorge, Paso Hondo, William Fuentes and Las Arenas were present, we learn about papayas. In a climate as tropical as El Salvador, papaya thrives, and is both very nutritious and in high demand in the local market. We learn about different varieties of papaya, how to plant them, what kinds of fertilizers the plant needs, how long most will take to provide fruit, the importance of weeding and watering, and the different kinds of insects and diseases that will attack the papaya tree, as well as ways to fight these uninvited guests. “Fruits and vegetables,” we were told, “are like being pregnant—you have to give the plant the most vitamins when it is about to produce, while the fruit is growing, so what it gives will be healthy.” We talked about how water is crucial for the papaya, and lots of it, but to stay on guard for root rot: if the land turns into a swamp after heavy rains, we were advised, be sure to dig drainage canals. Read More »

Youth Leaders and Scholarship Students in San Vicente Circle up to Share Progress in Their Communities

June 24, 2010

On a cool damp day in June, thirty youth from communities in the CRIPDES San Vicente region arrived at the CRIPDES/CORDES offices for the mid-year assembly, to check in, to provide feedback on the scholarship program, and share about their work in their communities, organizing youth and working with community councils. Amilcar, a scholarship recipient himself, energetically ran the meeting and encouraged the youth to voice their opinions as they took turns sharing their impressions.

Before the assembly began, Amilcar asked the group to put their chairs in a circle to be able to see one another and participate collectively—the chairs were set up in rows, facing forward, with chairs formally placed behind the “mesa de honor.” It was a great way to start the meeting, with an emphasis on shared, horizontal leadership, with no one above anyone else in a hierarchical vertical structure. The meeting started with introductions and greetings as we went around the circle and took turns announcing who we were, which community or organization we represented, and why we were there. Soon after the introductions, the young adults took turns explaining what the scholarship meant to them. Read More »

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