The SHARE Blog

The Reality of El Salvador, Part 2: Economics and Violence in El Salvador

December 8, 2009

In August 2009, SHARE El Salvador Director, Marina Peña, gave a talk to Cretin-Derham High School about the National Reality of El Salvador. This talk has been split into three parts: The History of El Salvador, Economics and Violence in El Salvador and Agriculture in El Salvador. This is the second part of the talk.


Part 2: The Economy and Violence in El Salvador

They say in our country that 10 percent of the population has 90 percent of the wealth and 10 percent of the wealth is distributed among 90 percent of the population. This is what provokes the majority of the problems that we have in our country like delinquency and violence. Its what provokes the social struggles. Just a few minutes before I entered this room, the police were chasing a thief down the street, which is a common sight in our country. This is not just chance, its a product of a long history of social problems that have not been resolved. In the last 20 years under the ARENA government, this inequality has become worse. But apart from this, we have problems with the entity with whom we do the majority of our business and that is the United States. The economy of El Salvador is in crisis right now in large part due to the poor administration of the ARENA government of the past twenty years. But also, in part because of the economic crisis that is affecting the United States and that now affects the entire world. Read More »

The Reality of El Salvador, Part 3: Agriculture

In August 2009, SHARE El Salvador Director, Marina Peña, gave a talk to Cretin-Derham High School about the National Reality of El Salvador. This talk has been split into three parts: The History of El Salvador, Economics and Violence in El Salvador and Agriculture in El Salvador. This is the third part of the talk.


Part 3: Agriculture in El Salvador
Another one of the large problems we have is the lack of employment in the campo. This was provoked by the fact that in 20 years of ARENA government, they destroyed agriculture in our country. There was a man who was the President of El Salvador named Cristiani, he has a business in which he sells agricultural seeds and products and he is the only one who sells seeds in this country. So in 1992 when they started to implement the neo-liberal model in our country, they negotiated with agricultural producers in the United States, that El Salvador would dedicate itself to the maquila industry. So that it wouldn’t be necessary to have agricultural producers here in El Salvador, it would be cheaper to buy the corn and the beans from the United States and bring it here. Read More »

Climate Change in El Salvador

December 7, 2009

This is a video about climate change in El Salvador that was produced by UNES, an environmental organization here in El Salvador. To watch the video, click here

To watch the whole nine minutes, you must download the video, but you can watch the first seven online.

Election Day in Honduras

December 3, 2009

This article was written by Lisa Haugaard and published by the Latin American Working group. It gives a great analysis of the elections in Honduras.

Elections took place Sunday, November 29th in Honduras with National Party leader Porfirio Lobo declared the winner.

But elections carried out under a state of emergency, with visible military and police presence, by a government installed by coup, with a significant movement opposed to the coup calling for abstention, and with the deposed President still holed up in the center of the capital city in the Brazilian Embassy, are no cause for celebration. As we wrote to the State Department on November 24th, “a cloud of intimidation and restrictions on assembly and free speech affect the climate in which these elections take place… basic conditions do not exist for free, fair and transparent elections in Honduras.”

The United States’ apparent eagerness to accept the elections and move on has put it at odds with many Latin American governments. “Latin American governments accused the administration of putting pragmatism over principle and of siding with Honduran military officers and business interests whose goal was to use the elections to legitimize the coup,” wrote Ginger Thompson in the New York Times.

To read more

After 20 years, Salvadorans remember slain martyrs

November 20, 2009

This article was posted by Dan Nemes on the National Catholic Reporter, it’s about the recent 20th Anniversary of the Jesuit killings in El Salvador.

San Salvador, El Salvador
Salvadorans from every segment of society gathered here Nov. 14- 16 to commemorate the 1989 murders of six Jesuits, and their housekeeper and her daughter.

Many used local events to reflect on El Salvador’s progress since the end of the country’s civil war in 1992.

It was 20 years ago that a Salvadoran military unit broke into the grounds of Central American University, brutally killing Jesuits Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín Baró, Segundo Montes, Joaquín López y López, Amando López and Juan Ramón Moreno, as well as their housekeeper, Elba Ramos, and her daughter, Celina.

At the entrance to the university, only a short walk from the courtyard where the priests and the women were executed and where they are buried in the university’s chapel, students collected supplies to contribute to disaster relief efforts after heavy rains Nov. 8 that led to mudslides, killing 160 people and leaving more than 12,000 homeless.

Carrying out the university commitment to social justice, several noted, is one way students could remember the Jesuits. “This is what they stood for, helping the poor,” one said.

Read more

Photos of destruction in Aguilares

November 19, 2009

Read More »

Update on El Salvador

Dear Friends of El Salvador,

Please receive our greetings!

You may have been reading our eNewsletter updates on the situation in El Salvador following the destruction wrecked by Hurricane Ida. As you might recall from those communications, SHARE is partnering with counterparts in three regions of the country that experienced significant destruction from the flood waters. Just yesterday, I approved three initial projects, worth approximately $17,000 that will provide mattresses, blankets, and basic food items (beans, rice, oil, flour, and drinking water) to an estimated 600 families (or approximately 2700 individuals) in three municipalities.

Clearly, this is an important beginning, but it is only a beginning. The numbers of people affected by Ida continue to rise as the reports from the National Civil Protection System are updated each day. As of yesterday, nearly 15,000 people were reported in temporary shelter settings. It is important to note here that this number does not even begin to take into consideration those who set up rudimentary structures near their homes in order to protect what may have been left behind by the storm and to begin the reconstruction/restoration process. Read More »

Emergency Relief Needed in El Salvador in the Wake of Hurricane Ida

November 9, 2009

While the National Hurricane Center in the United States has downgraded Hurricane Ida to a Tropical Storm, El Salvador has experienced the full brunt of hurricane force winds and rain. Over the weekend, the storm destroyed more than 7,000 homes and damaged many more. The most recent data, reported this morning in the Prensa Gráfica, indicates that approximately 130 people have been killed by the storm, and thousands more injured. This total is sure to rise as emergency relief workers continue to work their way through damaged buildings and areas that have experienced landslides.

The community of Verapaz in the department of San Vicente was left badly damaged by mud, rocks and derby after a mudslide from the San Vicente Volcano. Because the heavy rains rapidly made the land on the foothills of the volcano quite unstable, water quickly engulfed much of the town and many people did not have time to prepare or escape. Read More »

Reflections on Romero

November 3, 2009

Here women from Chalatenango reflect on what Oscar Romero meant to them as part of SHARE’s invitation to participate in the Romero delegation.

Click here to watch video.

EL SALVADOR: Clandestine Graves Are Back

October 30, 2009

This is an interesting article published by the International Press Service (IPS) about the violence in El Salvador.

By Edgardo Ayala

SAN SALVADOR, Oct 29 (IPS) – Spatula in hand, forensic scientist Israel Ticas carefully excavates a decomposed human foot protruding from a shallow grave in rough terrain in the mountains of Las Crucitas, close to Ciudad Arce in the west-central Salvadoran province of La Libertad.

Other body parts, already identified by the expert, give him some idea of what kind of person lies buried here in bushy thickets between plots of farmland planted with coffee and beans.

The body is that of a young man under 20, who at the moment of death was decapitated and dismembered: his head, feet and arms were severed from his trunk.

These are probably the remains of a person reported missing to the authorities in mid-October, who lived in the El Bosque shanty town in Ciudad Arce. Although the investigation has just begun, everything points to one of El Salvador’s notorious “maras” or youth gangs.

The main gangs in El Salvador are Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 (18th Street Gang), and they are sworn enemies. Drug mafias, maras and death squads are all waging undercover wars in this country of 5.7 million people.

“This young man was murdered about a month ago. There’s probably another body, about 15 metres away, because we have found more bones there,” Ticas tells IPS.

Click here to read the rest of the article

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