The SHARE Blog

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 »

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 »

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