The SHARE Blog

Anti-Mining Activist Disappears!

July 7, 2009

The SHARE Foundation denounces the disappearance of Marcelo Rivera, a renowned leader in the community of San Isidro in the northern department of Cabañas. Marcelo was last seen in the afternoon of June 18th near the town of Ilobasco, Cabañas. He was wearing a Bishop Oscar Romero t-shirt and blue jeans. Marcelo’s family, friends, and community members are desperately searching for him. They suspect that he may have been abducted for political reasons. Marcelo was one of the main FMLN leaders who denounced the presence of foreigners trying to vote illegally in San Isidro during the January 18th municipal elections. As a result, elections were suspended in the town and conducted a week later under strict oversight. Marcelo is a leader in the social resistance movement against the Canadian mining corporation, Pacific Rim. The mining company has been exploring for gold in the El Dorado mine located in Cabañas. Pacific Rim is currently suing El Salvador under CAFTA because the government has refused to grant the company permits to begin gold mining extraction.

Marcelo Rivera is a 37 year-old teacher who works as the Director of San Isidro’s Casa de la Cultura, a community center dedicated to promoting the local culture. Marcelo is also a founding member and Director of Friends of San Isidro Cabañas (ASIC), which is a member organization of the National Working Group Against Mining in El Salvador (La Mesa). In addition, Marcelo is an FMLN leader at the local level, serving as a party board member in the Cabañas chapter. This week, communities in San Isidro, ASIC, and other social organizations gathered in front of the Casa de la Cultura to express their concern and to pressure local and national authorities to begin investigations regarding the whereabouts of Marcelo. Students and teachers from San Isidro’s schools participated in the protest carrying signs asking authorities to stop violence, corruption, and impunity….Continue reading “Anti-Mining Activist Disappears.”

– Claudia Rodríguez, DC Policy Office Director


Lessons of a Mango Tree


Below is an essay written by Cretin-Derham Hall High School teacher and SHARE delegate, Ellie Roscher. The essay was originally published in Alive Magazine.

Lessons of a Mango Tree: Belief in New Life

The summer after my first year of teaching, I found myself sitting under a mango tree in the middle of El Salvador with a student named Sam. We sat on a bench together in a beautiful garden, looking at an intricate mural in an exotic country, yet the mood was somber and heavy.

Sam broke the silence we were sharing by whispering, “I do not understand, I cannot fathom how one person could ever kill a child.” I hoped he was not looking for his teacher to offer wisdom, because I had none. The world has the potential to be horrendously ugly.

In late July, 16 high school juniors, my two best co-worker friends and I left Minnesota to study the civil war in El Salvador. It was one of those trips that did enough filling to keep me full for quite some time. It was a journey that reinforced the idea that joy and sorrow come from the same well in our hearts. Our overscheduled lives of controlled routine were given up for guttural laughter and soul crushing tears within 10 minutes of each other. We sweated harder and experienced deeper joy and hurt in those 10 days than we had in the previous year of our formerly guarded, air-conditioned lives.

There is a part of the human spirit that knows that all humans have inherent worth and dignity. That part of the human spirit will always cry out for freedom, land, food, water, love and life. In the 1970s, a few families owned most of the land in El Salvador, and the people rose up out of their desperation. With the support of liberation theology and the Jesuit order, the guerillas went to war with the government in hopes of gaining more land, rights and power for the people….Continue reading “Lessons of a Mango Tree.”

*Illustration by Meghan Hanson.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


More photos from Honduran coup

July 6, 2009

Zelaya’s supports cheer as they watch his plane circle the city.

A woman shows her support for Zelaya in front of the riot police. Read More »


Update on coup in Honduras

July 2, 2009

In an effort to restrict public demonstrations in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran Congress passed a decree to institute curfews throughout the city. According to Reuters, the decree also allows security forces to hold suspects for more than 24 hours without charge, enter homes without a warrant, and prohibit the people right to assemble at night. This is an alarming development that highlights the rogue coup government’s development into a fascist state.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator
*Photos from AP.


PHOTOS: Coup in Honduras Turns Violent

July 1, 2009

Tear gas in the street.

A photographer is cornered by the riot police. Read More »


Pictures from coup d’etat in Honduras

June 30, 2009

A wounded protester lies on the street.

General Romeo Vásquez, mastermind of the coup d’etat, states, “No one is above the law.”

A soldier stands ready to fire. Read More »


El Salvador’s response to Honduran coup


In the wake of the coup d’etat in Honduras, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes announced his support for and recognition of Manuel “Mel” Zelaya as the democratically-elected president of Honduras. Funes reiterated his support while attending a meeting for the System for Central American Integration, whose attendees included Guatemalan President Alvaro Colóm, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and Honduran Chancellor Patricia Rodas. Funes stated that he is seeking support for the diplomatic isolation of the coup’s leaders. As a result of the meeting, SICA participating countries have removed Honduran ambassadors; however, the Salvadoran Chancellery clarified that El Salvador will not close the Honduran Embassy. The Salvadoran government, along with Honduras’ other neighboring countries, has halted commerce along the country’s border with Honduras for 48 hours.

In a press conference on Sunday, FMLN party leaders condemned the coup d’etat in Honduras. Sigfrido Reyes, the FMLN’s communications secretary and vice-president of the Legislative Assembly, defended Manuel Zelaya, stating, “President Zelaya was not asking to continue to be in power, rather he was asking for a citizen consultation to ask the Honduran people if they wanted to have a fourth ballot box in the November elections.”

Many suspect that Mauricio Funes and his new government is watching the Honduran coup with a strong sense of unease. Funes is the first leftist president in the history of El Salvador, and the former ruling party, ARENA, and other conservative parties continue to control the National Civil Police and the Legislative Assembly.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

*Photo from Diario CoLatino.


Coup d’etat in Honduras


On Sunday, June 29, the Honduran military awakened the Honduran president, Mel Zelaya, and forced him on a plane to Costa Rica in an illegal coup d’etat. The coup occurred on the day that Hondurans were to vote to hold a Constitutional Assembly in November which could allow Mr. Zelaya to run for a second term. The coup was led by General Romeo Vásquez, a graduate of the infamous School of the Americas, who opposed the vote for the Constitutional Assembly, and is supported by the Honduran Congress and the Supreme Court.

The coup in Honduras echoes Central America’s violent history of military coups. As phone lines are cut and national TV channels are taken off the air, Hondurans are taking to the streets to denounce the military’s actions and are calling for international support. There are reports that demonstrators have been beaten, arbitrarily detained, and assassinated by the Honduran military. Read More »


Gang intervention leader arrested by FBI on suspicious charges

June 25, 2009

Alex Sánchez, Director of the US office of the gang intervention organization Homies Unidos, was arrested today by the FBI on federal racketeering charges. Sánchez is a well-respected leader of the gang intervention movement in both the United States in El Salvador, and many organizations and community leaders have come to his defense.

Sánchez immigrated to the United States from El Salvador when he was a child and joined the infamous Mara Salvatrucha gang in Los Angeles when he was a teenager. After several arrests, Sánchez was deported to El Salvador, where he lived on the streets and feared retaliation from gangs and death squads who saw him as a rival. Sánchez returned to the United States in 1995 and won an asylum case in 2002. In 1998, Alex Sánchez co-founded Homies Unidos, an organization that supports gang violence prevention and intervention. Of América blog has a list of links to stories detailing how Mr. Sánchez has repeatedly been subject to abuse, harassment, and unlawful deportation by the LAPD.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the indictment includes the names of 24 leaders, members, and associates of MS-13, part of the Mara Salvatrucha gang. The alleged crimes include seven murders, eight conspiracies to commit murder, and gun and narcotic offenses. All of these alleged crimes are supposed to have transpired after Alex Sánchez returned to the United States and became an anti-gang leader. The FBI arrested Mr. Sánchez in his home, as his wife and children watched.

CISPES released a letter of support today for Alex Sánchez.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


Salvadoran woman dies in DC Metro crash


In a sad reminder of how Salvadorans are touched by what happens in the United States everyday, yesterday the Prensa Gráfica announced that a 40 year-old Salvadoran woman, Ana Fernández, died in the tragic Metro crash in Washington, DC on Monday. Fernández, orginally from San Alejo in the department of La Unión, had been living in the United States for twenty years, and had just succeeded in bringing her eldest son to live with her in the United States. Ana Fernández leaves behind her loving husband of four years, Óscar Martínez, six children, her parents, and her five brothers and sisters. Fernández’s husband gave an interview to a local news station, stating, “She was the center of our family, I don’t know how to read or write.”

SHARE sends its condolences to all of the victims of Monday’s crash and their families across borders.

*Photo from La Prensa Gráfica.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


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