The SHARE Blog

CCR High School Scholarship Assembly: The Literacy Circle Challenge

June 11, 2010

As a part of their commitment to community organizing, every two months recipients of a CCR-SHARE high school scholarship attend a youth scholarship meeting. This assembly overlaps with the CCR sistering meeting, allowing students to participate in and benefit from the space of analysis and, when possible, represent their communities in the discussion. When the sistering meeting is adjourned, the students and youth leaders stay to check in.


At first, it’s like pulling teeth. In this group, like many groups of high-school aged youth throughout El Salvador, most of the teenagers are too penoso to participate in the beginning. The topic we began with was, in essence, how are we doing? What is working in our community work, and what isn’t working? What do we like, and what don’t we? When this didn’t get any volunteers, Lucio, a young man himself, coordinator of the youth programs at the CCR, started calling on people and asking them to more specific questions, eventually leading to fruitful reflection. Read More »

Roots of Justice: Delegate Reflection on El Salvador

June 7, 2010

The following reflection was written by Suzanne Bottelli, who accompanied her students from The Northwest School in Seattle, WA, on a delegation to El Salvador in March 2010. Northwest students actively support their sister region, UCRES, in youth and women’s organizing projects and are equally active in advocacy and political action in their home city.

In March of this year I was fortunate to accompany a group of students and faculty from The Northwest School to join a SHARE delegation in El Salvador. We traveled for two weeks in order to have a week to learn about and experience the country and a week to participate in the events surrounding the 30-year anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s martyrdom on March 24, 1980. There are so many highlights that I could share, but I will tell you about visiting our sister school (in the community of Huisisilapa) and about our visit with Danny Burridge, who is a friend to the St. Pat’s community. Read More »

Tropical Storm Agatha Hits El Salvador

May 31, 2010

Dear SHARE community,

As Tropical Storm Agatha moved over Salvadoran territory beginning last Thursday, El Salvador braced itself for yet another disaster. Heavy rainfall for days straight led to flooding and landslides throughout the country, and after elevating alert levels throughout the weekend, a state of emergency was declared. In his Sunday afternoon address, Funes asked citizens to cooperate with authorities and heed calls for evacuation, promising security for the homes and belongings families would leave behind and food and shelter at their destination. He made a call to solidarity organizations, political parties and governmental institutions to respond and unite to this most recent disaster.

As the rains diminish and we receieve more and more information about the aftermath from sister communities and counterparts, including organizations that SHARE was able to support after Hurricane Ida in November, we write with our own call: please help us respond to this most recent emergency.

Preliminary data from the Civil Protection Department informs that 10,335 people are currently in temporary shelter in 198 shelters throughout the country. Flooding of the Río Lempa caused evacuations in San Pablo Tacachico and El Paisnal along with dozens of communities in the Bajo Lempa, including the municipality of Tecoluca, along with dozens of communities in La Libertad, Cuscatlan, La Paz, Usulutan and San Vicente. Read More »

State of Emergency Declared in El Salvador

After elevating the alert level throughout the weekend, President Funes declared a State of Emergency in El Salvador on Sunday, due to torrential rains causing flooding and landslides, putting 90% of the country at risk in his estimation.

The rains were caused by Tropical Storm Agatha, which arrived over Salvadoran territory Thursday, causing heavy storms and heavier rainfall. Communities throughout the country, including in the Bajo Lempa, Ilopango, Mejicanos, San Pablo Tacachio and El Paisnal have been evacuated, and many homes have been destroyed. There is not yet an official number of the communities and families affected.

In his Sunday afternoon address, taking the place of what was to be a celebration of the first year in government, Funes asked citizens to cooperate with authorities and heed calls for evacuation, promising security for the homes and belongings they would leave behind and food and shelter at their destination. He made a call to solidarity organizations, political parties and governmental institutions to respond and unite to this most recent disaster.

The SNET, the National Service of Territorial Studies, has avised that the worst of Agatha has passed, although rains and storms will continue in certain parts of the country through tomorrow.

The SHARE Foundation expresses its solidarity with the families and communities affected by this most recent emergency, and will publish more information about the situation as it becomes available to us, as well as ways to respond.

The Fiery Furnace: Modern Day Easter Play about Mining in El Salvador

May 27, 2010

The following is a play written by participants in the 2010 Romero 30th Anniversary Delegation and performed at University Lutheran Chapel, SHARE sistering parish, for their Easter vigil. We at SHARE applaud their creative approach to outreach and raising awareness, and are grateful for the laughter and joy that they have brought to the anti-mining struggle, so important for El Salvador today.

Daniel 3:1-29 (The Fiery Furnace)

Narrator reads the text from the lectern.

Intro: Throughout all time and history, people have vested their hopes and dreams in false gods: power and wealth and gold. Not just in the United States and El Salvador, but also in ancient Babylon…

(During this section, the slides go up) (3:1) King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue whose height was sixty cubits and whose width was six cubits: he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (3:2) Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent for the satraps, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to assemble and come to the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (3:3) So the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Character Number One: (Pacific Rim) I am Pacific Rim mining company, I have the opportunity here in El Salvador to make A LOT of money! The gold here, nestled under the ground, underneath these paltry communities, is the key to my extreme wealth and power….muahahahaha Read More »

Community Organizing and Local Advocacy for Disaster Prevention: Inagurating Prevention and Mitigation Projects in the Bajo Lempa

May 24, 2010

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch ravaged El Salvador, claiming hundreds of lives, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of families and destroying homes, bridges, roads, crops and cattle. Mitch hit the Lower Lempa region especially hard. Seventeen communities in the Lower Lempa region were completely evacuated and devastated; Mitch made the vulnerability of the zone, felt by inhabitants since repopulation began at the end of the war, painfully clear. After Mitch, organization and advocacy in the region got stronger as people came together to demand prevention and mitigation projects. Private companies were contracted by the government to repair levees damaged by the floods, but while they made incredible profits, the companies hired did shoddy work.

Twelve years later, the national government finally responded to the pressure of these communities. On April 29, representatives from the Department of Public Works (MOP), the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the Mayor of Tecoluca, CRIPDES San Vicente and ACUDESBAL—both long-time counterparts of SHARE, representing the Tecoluca (West) and Jiquilisco (East) sides of the river, respectively—and hundreds of community members gathered to inaugurate a series of prevention and mitigation project along the banks of and in communities surrounding the Lempa River. Read More »

Rio Sucio Update

May 20, 2010

While in San Pablo Tacachico for the women’s vegetable garden workshop (pictures, an update and a youtube video will be coming your way shortly!), we took advantage of the trip to visit UCRES headquarters and talk with Alex, UCRES President, about a number of current events in the area.


The main topic we discussed was the Río Sucio, the heavily polluted river that runs through communities of San Pablo Tacachico and El Paisnal that many families depend on for cooking and cleaning, for cattle and crops.

During the week of June 5th, International Environment Day, the social movement in El Salvador hosts forums, concentrations and marches, press conferences, radio and television interviews and other activities to raise awareness about the situation of the environment in El Salvador. In the context of these activities, UCRES will host a forum in El Paisnal and San Pablo Tacachio to draw attention to the state of the Río Sucio and raise awareness about rescuing the river, organic farming and practices that pollute and harm the river as well as demand that public officials and government offices act to protect and clean-up this dirty river. Read More »

The Violence in El Salvador Today

May 7, 2010

This was written by Grassroots Solidarity Educator, Laura Hershberger, for our e-newsletter.

Violence in El Salvador

With a homicide rate of 13 murders a day, in a country with a population of 6.2 million people, El Salvador has become one of the most violent countries in the world. Salvadorans live with the daily threat of violence hanging over their heads. Every day upon opening the newspaper, one reads about another homicide or set of homicides. Of young men and young women shot down on their way to school or on the bus, of bus drivers, street vendors, or even high profile people such as the Secretary of the Mexican Embassy and his wife (he survived, she did not).

One particular news article stood out on the Dia de los Santos Inocentes this past December, the Saints Day following Christmas which remembers the Bible story of King Herod who ordered the killing of all children under the age of two. It was a picture of children dressed up to celebrate this feast day in a small town outside of San Salvador. Underneath this picture, in an unrelated article, was a headline about how two children were killed when an unknown individual threw a bomb into a children’s health clinic. The irony in the juxtaposition of the two articles was startling and a harsh reminder that the violence in El Salvador is not something you can escape. Read More »

Press Release for the Marcelo Rivera Case

April 29, 2010

Thanks to our friends at CISPES for sharing this with us.


For Immediate Release

Wednesday April 28, 2010

Contact: Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director of CISPES – 202-521-2510

The International Community asks for a fair and impartial ruling in the Gustavo Marcelo Rivera murder case

Organizations in the U.S. and Canada continue to worry about impunity in the murder of the environmentalist

San Salvador, El Salvador. With the first hearing in the case of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera scheduled for Friday April 30th, organizations in the United States and Canada continue being concerned about the murder case of the environmentalist in Cabañas.

According to Alexis Stoumbelis, the Executive Director of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), “For decades in El Salvador justice has been a privilege of the powerful. It’s time to change this way of acting and truly show the will to end impunity in this case and all the cases of violence against members of the social movement.Read More »

Romero vive, la lucha sigue!

April 27, 2010

The following reflection was written by Joe Miller, master’s student at Boston College and member of the Paulist Center’s sister committee, after his participation in the March 2010 Romero delegation, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Monseñor Romero’s martyrdom.

Romero vive, la lucha sigue! Romero lives, the struggle continues. In some ways, the situation in El Salvador is better than twenty years ago. The civil war has ended; whole parts of San Salvador are not under siege, and for the first time in the country’s history, a progressive president is in office. But still, the shanty towns exist. Health care continues to be far out of reach for the majority. Community leaders who oppose gold mining in the rural areas are being assassinated. Gang violence and theft abound, and El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the Western Hemisphere (about 12 murders a day); and one of the highest in the world, and some people are still hungry or at least struggle to provide food for their family. Because the danger is now more clandestine, and not ‘in-your-face’ as during the war, one can no longer assume they are in a safe area just because there’s no visible military, paramilitary, or rebel presence. Read More »

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