The SHARE Blog

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


House Resolution Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Jesuit Martyrs

October 28, 2009

Taken from the Washington Office on Latin America website

WOLA is pleased to see that H.Res. 761, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern and 33 co-sponsors, was approved today in the U.S. House of Representatives. This resolution remembers and commemorates the lives and work of the six Jesuit priests and two women who were murdered in El Salvador nearly twenty years ago. On Nov. 16, 1989, armed men burst into the Jesuit residence at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, killing the six Jesuit priests who were there, along with the community’s cook and her daughter.

More than 70,000 died during El Salvador’s civil war, the vast majority of whom were civilians killed by the Salvadoran armed forces and paramilitary death squads. The Jesuit case galvanized an outcry for human rights and justice from the international community, played a key role in shifting opinions in the U.S. Congress, and helped to spark the peace process that brought the civil war to an end. WOLA is pleased to see the Congress commemorating this important historical moment, and to see that the resolution urges the United States today to collaborate with El Salvador’s new government on the unfinished tasks to which the Jesuits were committed – the “efforts to reduce poverty and hunger and to promote educational opportunity, human rights, the rule of law and social equity for the people of El Salvador.”

To see the resolution click here.


The Mesa Wins Human Rights Award

October 19, 2009

Congratulations to the the Working Group Against Metallic Mining (Mesa Contra la Mineria) for winning the Letelier Moffitt Human Rights Award!!

Five representatives from the Mesa travelled to the United States last week to accept the award and to bring more attention to the issue of mining in El Salvador.

See below to watch Vidalina Morales recieve the award on behalf of the Mesa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlsFnpsOmqg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuKxS7YdKyo


UCRES Commemorates Martyrs

September 28, 2009


This past Saturday, in the small community of Las Araditas in El Paisnal, El Salvador, the rural communities from the municipalities of El Paisnal, Aguilares, San Pablo Tacachico and Suchitoto, came together to commemorate their martyrs. On September 29th, 1979, thirty years ago, community leaders Felix Garcia, Patricia “Ticha” Puertas, Apolinario “Polin” Serrano and Jose Lopez were killed by the armed forces when their car was pulled over on the road to Santa Ana. Feliz, Ticha and Polin were all leaders of the the Christian Federation for Salvadoran Peasants-Union of Peasant Workers. Inspired by the theology of liberation and the words of priests such as Rutilio Grande, these illiterate peasants organized themselves to fight for their rights. Their deaths were mourned by all those who knew and loved them, including Monseñor Romero who was still alive at the time of their deaths.
Read More »


Salvadorans Seek a Voice To Match Their Numbers

September 25, 2009

This article was published in the Washington Post yesterday.  SHARE Director Jose Artiga is quoted.

Salvadorans Seek a Voice To Match Their Numbers

Summit Aims to Raise Political Visibility

By N.C. AizenmanWashington Post Staff Writer
Thursday,

September 24, 2009

For nearly three decades Salvadoran immigrants have been among the nation’s

most organized newcomers, founding clubs to raise money for schools back home, establishing medical clinics for new arrivals and battling in Congress and courts to gain legal status for tens of thousands of political dissidents who fled persecution by the U.S.-backed government during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s.

Yet, even as Salvadoran immigrants and Americans of Salvadoran descent have grown to number 1.6 million — essentially tying them with Cubans as the nation’s third largest Latino group — they have mostly shied from direct participation in U.S. politics. Read More »


Buen Pastor Artisans

September 18, 2009

This was an interview done with artisans from the Buen Pastor community outside of Aguilares in Northern San Salvador. Buen Pastor is a sistering community of Good Shepherd in Kansas and works with SHARE’s counterpart UCRES.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SxSMes6obo]


Delegate Reflection

September 7, 2009

This reflection was written by Laura Davison, a freshman in Journalism at Missouri University. Laura participated in a SHARE delegation this past June with her church Good Shepherd which is located in Kansas City, Kansas.

Here I am, Lord.

Here we are: Ten of us, four adults and six students, riding a bus to El Buen Pastor, a community of about 100 people in central El Salvador. As we sat there, slightly perspiring partly from apprehension and partly from the heat radiating off the sticky vinyl seat, the nervousness, excitement and French toast from breakfast mixed in our stomachs. We weren’t sure what to expect, do and say in a country in which most of us had spent less than 24 hours and where we spoke very little of the language. And how were we supposed to react when we arrived in El Buen Pastor, a place we had heard about for years but all of us, save one, had never experienced? What were we to say? What were we to offer? We felt powerless. Sure, we had been preparing since January for our stay in El Salvador. But as we passed pickup trucks with workers crammed into the bed of the truck on the way to find work for the day, mothers and children selling fruit in run down shacks on the side of the road and dirty dogs roaming the street, the reality of a country suffering from high unemployment, poverty and gang violence set in. We really were out of our element.

Read More »


French filmmaker Poveda killed in El Salvador

September 4, 2009


SAN SALVADOR, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Suspected Salvadorean gang members killed French filmmaker Christian Poveda, whose 2008 film “La Vida Loca” crudely depicts the hopeless lives of members of the infamous Mara 18 street gang, local police said on Wednesday.

Poveda, 53, was shot on a road 10 miles (16 km) north of the capital of San Salvador, as he drove back from filming in La Campanera, a poor, overcrowded suburb and a Mara 18 stronghold.

President Mauricio Funes said in a statement on Wednesday night that he was “shocked” by Poveda’s murder and ordered a thorough investigation.

“La Vida Loca” (The Crazy Life) closely followed the lives of several heavily tattooed gang members, some of whom were jailed or killed during the shooting of the film.

Poveda first came to El Salvador in the early 1980s to cover the civil war that ravaged the poor Central American for over a decade. He returned after the armed conflict was over to cover street gangs.

The Mara 18 and rival Mara Salvatrucha gangs make up a huge criminal network that runs from Los Angeles, where a diaspora of Salvadoreans lives, down through chunks of Central America.

Authorities estimate there could be as many as 30,000 so-called mareros, who sell drugs, rob illegal migrants or extort businesses in the tiny country of just 5.7 million people.


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