The SHARE Blog

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.

PRESS RELEASE

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 »


Three teachers assassinated in UCRES region

April 23, 2010

Dear UCRES Sisters and SHARE supporters,

I regret to write you under these circumstances, but unfortunately, violence is all-too-often a part of daily life, reality in El Salvador.

On Monday evening, April 19th, two teachers and the director of El Ángel school in San Juan Opico, municipality neighborhing San Pablo Tacachico, were kidnapped, shot and killed. Classes were immediately suspended and marches took place in the area to protest ongoing violence and impunity. Indignation and fear are palpable.

Scroll below to read the UCRES press release along with a letter of condemnation, condolensce and solidarity drafted by SHARE. We would like to send this to UCRES and communities as soon as possible, ideally tomorrow. PLEASE let me know (tedde@share-elsalvador) as soon as you are able whether we can add your parish, school or committee signature to this letter, and circulate this information within your community. As we get more information on this case, we will be sure to pass it along.

Thank you for your accompaniment in the joyful and sorrowful times,

Tedde and the SHARE El Salvador team

PRESS RELEASE Read More »


El Salvador: comic rent-dodger against extortion

April 22, 2010

This grassroots movement against gang violence has recently sprung up in San Salvador.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Crime-weary Salvadorans refer to street-gang shakedowns as rent. So anti-crime activists are using a comic rent-dodger to encourage them to reject extortion attempts. The Don Ramon Citizen’s Movement has printed posters of the lanky, weedy deadbeat from the long-running Mexican television comedy “El Chavo del Ocho.” Movement organizer Ernesto Lopez says Don Ramon “always had an excuse, and the courage” not to pay rent.The show that originally aired in the 1970s involves the endless attempts of Sr. Barriga (“Mr. Paunch”) to squeeze rent out of the wily Don Ramon. El Salvador’s Mara street gangs charge millions of dollars in protection money annually from motorists, bus drivers, store owners and others.

-posted by the AP

In their manifesto, the Don Ramon Citizen’s Movement stated:

“Ours is a call to civil courage and taking responsibility for our communities. It’s not about responding to violence with more violence. Its about Salvadorans taking back what is ours, that the gang members come back to being among our circle of friends, that respect goes back to being something that you earn with work and decency, not threats and violence, that “the barrio (neighborhood)” goes back to being a place of coexistence and joy, not a territory being disputed by gangs.

Our call is to overcome fear. We can no longer permit fear to paralize us. We have to raise our voice and show that we, the decent people, are stronger. The face of Don Ramon spread through the city so quickly because it is a symbol that the majority of us are tired of staying quiet.

Don Ramon is not just a face that we have adapted to express that were are tired of this, and that as individuals we are willing to take responsibility for our families, for our communities, for our El Salvador. There is no political party, church or ministry behind this campaign. We are all Don Ramon.”


A reflection on accompaniment

April 13, 2010

This piece was written by SHARE Grassroots and Tours Coordinator Danielle Mackey and it was published on her blog and in the Volunteer Missionary Movement’s publication Bridges. It does a wonderful job of talking about the type accompaniment that we work for here at SHARE.

On Saturday at midnight I stood ankle-deep in tawny sand, observing the waves. The tide of the Pacific is magical at that hour. Its foamy edges strain to reach higher, starving for the beach. In its hunger it breaks down the oldest, most durable bits of earth— pummeling rocks into slivers of sand— simultaneously undoing and recreating the stuff of life. It’s funny how watching the ocean in its most eternal, basic function can be mystical.

Read More »


Romero and Holy Week on NCR

April 6, 2010

During our Romero Delegation in March, we were joined by Pat Marrin, a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter. Pat chronicles his visit to El Salvador for the Romero Anniversary throughout Holy Week, in six different blog entries. Click on the below link to access the first entry and scroll down for the following posts.

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/holy-week-2010-accompanying-el-salvador

Thanks for sharing with us Pat!


UN Expert on Violence Against Women Reports on Visit to El Salvador

April 5, 2010

22 March 2010

UN EXPERT ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
CONCLUDES VISIT TO EL SALVADOR

In conclusion of her three day follow-up visit to El Salvador, last visited by the mandate in 2004*, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences, delivered the following statement:

“At the outset, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the full cooperation extended to me by the Government of El Salvador. I am grateful to all my interlocutors, including State officials, representatives of civil society, representatives of United Nations agencies and international organizations. I am also particularly grateful to the victims and families of victims of violence that shared their personal experiences with me.

The objective of this visit, which comes six years after the visit conducted by this mandate in 2004, was to review progress made on the recommendations provided by my predecessor, assessing the current situation of violence against women and the State response to such violence. Read More »


Anticipation high ahead of Romero anniversary

March 4, 2010

This article was written by Pat Marrin in the National Catholic Reporter about the upcoming Romero celebrations. Pat will be joining us in El Salvador for Romero Week.

Published statements from both the church and the government in El Salvador are raising hopes that the 30th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero may occasion an official announcement of his beatification.

San Salvador Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas told a press conference Feb. 7 that the bishops of El Salvador had written to Rome to ask that Romero be canonized “as soon as possible.” Escobar cautioned that he had received no official word from the Vatican, but said the bishops would like to be able to give everyone the good news that Romero was declared “Blessed” on the anniversary day. Romero was assassinated while saying Mass on March 24, 1980. Read More »


Working to Alleviate AND Prevent Natural Disasters

February 18, 2010

Published on our SHARE e-newsletter, February 18, 2010. To subscribe to our e-newsletter, email Laura at laura@share-elsalvador.org

A phrase that can be heard here in El Salvador is that there are “no natural disasters,” rather there are natural phenomenon, but that disasters are a result of human error. An example of this is when in places like El Salvador, heavy rains hit, and it is the poorest who lose everything due their poorly constructed homes that are built in the riskiest places. We saw this in Haiti when a 7.0 earthquake killed over 200,000 people, while the 6.9 earthquake in San Francisco in 1989 killed 63 people. Planning for disasters and prevention can make high-risk areas less vulnerable. However, like Haiti, El Salvador is incredible vulnerable to natural disasters. People live in constant fear of another hurricane like Mitch, Stan or Ida, or another earthquake, like the ones that hit in 2001.

On November 7th, 2009, disaster struck again when torrential rains from Hurricane Ida swept over El Salvador, destroying homes and crops in some of the most marginalized communities. SHARE responded as quickly as we could and with the support of individuals and groups in the United States, we were able to provide relief to communities in the departments of San Salvador, La Paz, San Vicente and La Libertad. Read More »


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