The SHARE Blog

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.

Monseñor Romero: Verdad, Justicia y Esperanza

Comunicado de Prensa


La Concertación Monseñor Romero informa a la sociedad salvadoreña y comunidad internacional, el lanzamiento de la campaña ciudadana “MONSEÑOR ROMERO: VERDAD, JUSTICIA Y ESPERANZA”.

La campaña busca enaltecer la figura de Monseñor Oscar Romero, como símbolo mundial de compromiso a favor de los pobres, desde la lucha por la verdad y la justicia que reclaman los oprimidos y las víctimas de violaciones a los derechos humanos, en el contexto del XXX Aniversario del martirio de Monseñor Romero en marzo de 2010.

La campaña, desde esa perspectiva, adoptará como un eje central de su temática, la exigencia del a las recomendaciones dictadas en 2000 por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) en el mismo caso de Monseñor Romero, las cuales hasta hoy se encuentran incumplidas por el Estado de El Salvador. Read More »

27 years after the Calabozo massacre

August 26, 2009

The road from Amatina Arriba to Amatitan Abajo was muddy and hard to see in the dark, but never the less, over a hundred people primarily teenagers walked the muddy road holding signs that read “A people never forgets its martyrs” and “Que viva los martires del Calabozo.” When they arrived in Amatitan Abajo, the cultural and commemorative activities of the Friday night vigil commenced. A few of the survivors shared some words and then the youth took over with songs, reflections, a small documentary they had made about the massacre and short play they had written. None of the youth had lived through the Calabozo massacre that happened by river of Amititan in a place called the Calabazo in 1982, but they had grown up hearing the story from their family. Read More »

The Martyrs of Calabozo

August 25, 2009

This song was written by a young man from the community of Amatitan Arriba in Northern San Vicente about the massacre that occured in his community in 1982.

Get Your Own Free Playlist.

Salvadoran remittances drop 11 percent in 2009

August 20, 2009


El Salvador’s central bank says the money citizens living abroad sent home during the first seven months of this year dropped 11 percent compared to the same period in 2008.

The bank says remittances between January and July reached $2 billion in the Central American country compared to $2.2 billion during the same period last year.

In a report issued Monday, the bank blamed the decrease on rising unemployment in the United States, especially among Latin American immigrants.

Remittances represent the largest source of legal foreign income. About 2.5 million Salvadorans live in the United States.

-Associated Press

Community Activists in Cabañas are Receiving Death Threats

August 5, 2009

Less than a month after the assassination of Marcelo Rivera, an increasing number of activists from the northern Department of Cabañas report to be receiving death threats. Like Marcelo, the targeted people have been outspoken against mining and have denounced electoral fraud. They also have called for a full investigation into Marcelo’s killing. The death threats seem to be linked to the murder since often they refer that the victims will “end up just like Marcelo.” Click here to see a video in Spanish about death threats that activists have received.

The first to receive death threats were three young reporters who work for Radio Victoria. José Beltrán, Ludwing Iraheta and Vladimir Abarca explained in a press conference that after they began to cover the disappearance and murder of Marcelo they started to receive hand written and phone death threats. Radio officials denounced this situation to the police (PNC), the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman and the Office of the Attorney General. Read More »

Over 100 organizations demand an investigation of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera’s Murder

San Salvador, El Salvador. One hundred and eight international organizations sent last Friday July 24, a letter to the Salvadoran Acting Attorney General, Ástor Escalante Savaria, demanding an exhaustive investigation of the kidnapping and brutal murder of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera Moreno. Among the signatory organizations are the Salvadoran American National Association (SANA) and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). Gustavo Marcelo Rivera was from San Isidro, Department of Cabañas. He disappeared on June 18th and his body was found 11 days later with signs of terrible torture according to a forensic report.

In the letter the organizations vehemently reject the statements that prosecutor Rodolfo Delgado gave to the media, expressing that the hypothesis of the crime is that Rivera was killed by gang members after a disagreement. According to the organizations, by attributing the motives of the crime to common violence, the prosecutor is discarding a priori the existence of intellectual authors of this assassination.

Rivera was a renowned leader in the struggle against mining in El Salvador and in addition he played a key role at denouncing the electoral fraud that resulted in the suspension of the municipal elections in San Isidro in January 2009. For this reason the international organizations consider that there is enough evidence to suggest that that the crime was committed for political reasons and that “the failure to investigate this motives , including the slow response of the police in the initial search for Marcelo constitute serious irregularities that need to be investigated and corrected.” Read More »

El Salvador’s Gold Fight

July 17, 2009

This is another very informative article about the Gold Mining in El Salvador. Written by Michael Busch and posted on the Foreign Policy in Focus website.

As El Salvador transitions from decades of conservative rule to the administration of leftist President Mauricio Funes, the country faces an international showdown triggered by a restrictive free-trade agreement between the United States and Central America. Canada’s Pacific Rim Mining Corporation is suing the government for its refusal to allow it to mine gold in El Salvador’s rural north. If Pacific Rim succeeds in securing the $100 million settlement it seeks, that would set a troubling precedent. At stake is a question that affects all nations: Can private interests trump national sovereignty under international law?

Click here to read the rest.

Public opposition brings ban on gold mining in El Salvador

This is a great article written about the opposition to mining in El Salvador. It can be found on the Progressio website.

El Salvador has become the first country in the world to ban gold mining, thanks in part to opposition from Salvadorean civil society.

The key role played by Salvadorean civil society in achieving the ban has been recognised by an international human rights award for the El Salvador National Committee Against Metal Mining, with which Progressio works closely. An umbrella organisation of Salvadorean human rights groups, the Committee set out to raise awareness and carry out advocacy work in order to make the Salvadorean government take action against the problem.

Nicoletta Marinelli, a Progressio development worker who has coordinated the Committee’s communications work, explains: “Metal mining contaminates surface and subterranean waters with cyanide and heavy metals. In Central America it has caused health problems which have mainly affected women and children.

“It has also displaced and divided communities, generating new outbreaks of conflict in a region which is still recovering from the wounds inflicted during decades of civil war.” Read More »

Alert: First Victim of the Struggle against Mining in El Salvador

July 16, 2009

Dear friends,

With great sadness the SHARE Foundation informs you of the brutal murder of Marcelo Rivera, a great community leader from San Isidro, in the northern department of Cabañas. He was kidnapped on June 18th, 2009, near the town of Ilobasco, Cabañas. On July 1st, his body was found inside a dry well. DNA tests were conducted and confirmed that the body belonged to Marcelo. His belongings were found in a nearby abandoned house in the middle of a corn field. According to the medical examiner, Marcelo was kept alive several days after his disappearance. His body showed signs of brutal torture typical of a death squad killing.

However on Thursday July 9, a prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Office, Rodolfo Delgado, declared that 4 gang members had been captured as suspects for the crime. Delgado’s hypothesis is that Marcelo had been drinking with the gang members the night of his disappearance and that they killed him after a fight. Delgado discounted the political motives of the crime, and solely attributed Marcelo’s murder to gang violence that did not merit investigation. Marcelo’s family and social justice organizations strongly rejected these assertions. Miguel Rivera, Marcelo’s brother expressed, “To say that my brother died at the hands of gang members is not a credible story and it becomes an insult to our family. My brother was tortured; he was alive for 9 days after his disappearance. His trachea was broken with a nylon cord when they strangled him, forcing his arm toward his face. This is not the work of gang members; it is a crime of torture.” Read More »

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