The SHARE Blog

ARENA names Cristiani as head of party

May 5, 2009

ARENA named formed president Alfredo Cristiani as the head of the party late last week. Cristiani, whose family is part of the 14 families who make up the oligarchy, was elected President of El Salvador in 1989, marking the beginning of ARENA’s twenty-year rule over the country. His presidency was marred by scandal and corruption. In 1989, the Salvadoran army shot and murdered six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s teenage daughter at their residence in the Central American University. Recently, the Center for Justice and Accountability filed a criminal case in Spain against Cristiani and fourteen members and former members of the Salvadoran military for their involvement in crimes against humanity and state terrorism. In January of this year, a Spanish judge formally charged Cristiani and the members of the military for their roles in the murders of the Jesuits and the women.

The naming of Cristiani to ARENA’s party leadership came just ten days after current President Tony Saca announced that a former president of El Salvador would not take over party leadership. However, many party members blame Saca for ARENA’s loss in the recent presidential election to the FMLN and for “using the party for his own particular interests.” In a veiled criticism of Saca, Cristiani emphasized the importance of “returning to the party’s roots.”

*Photo: Cristiani speaks as Rodrigo Ávila and Tony Saca listen behind him. Photo from El Faro.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Immigrant Roots – Immigrant Rights!

May 4, 2009

Below are a few pictures from NCIC’s May Day rally for immigrants’ rights. To see more pictures from the march, click here.

*Photos taken by Jake Cunningham.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

“The people who love their freedom will one day achieve it.” – Simón Bolívar

Below are photos taken during the 2009 May Day march in San Salvador last Friday:

To see a slideshow of photos from the march, click here.

*Photos from El Faro.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Legislative Assembly votes against same-sex marriages

Last week, the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador approved a new amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman, thereby by prohibiting same-sex marriages as well as adoption by same-sex parents. Rodolfo Parker, PDC Legislator and supporter of the amendment, pronounced, “Marriage is only between a man and a woman, born that way. It remains consecrated in our country that marriage is not possible for same-sex couples.”

FMLN politicians expressed concern over the amendment for its discriminatory nature and did not vote to approve the amendment. FMLN Legislator Arturo Fernández stated that although the party refused to support the amendment, the FMLN has no plans to promote the legalization of same-sex marriages and pointed out that the country’s LGBT organizations have not asked for legalization of same-sex marriages either. In fact, the Alliance for Diversity Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) issued a statement confirming that “we are have asked them to legalize [same-sex] marriages, but that they enact laws that do not affect their legality.”

*Photo of the Alliance for Diversity’s vigil courtesy of El Diario de Hoy.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Put aside the may pole – march for immigrants’ rights!

May 1, 2009

As I prepare to participate in tomorrow’s May Day March for Immigrant Rights, I try to recall memories of May Day celebrations during my childhood. I remember a class project on the May Pole and extra recess time, but I cannot recall any memory of a lesson, unit, or class speaker that touched on the history of May Day. It was not until I was eighteen years-old that I learned about the true importance of May Day. In my history classes in college, I learned about the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, when a bomb was thrown in a rally to demand the eight-hour work day and police fired into the crowd. Eight anarchist activists were tried for murder and four were executed with little evidence and a biased jury. As a result, workers and labor unions around the world took to celebrating what became known as International Workers’ Day with parades, marches, and civil disobedience. For many countries, May Day is a holiday from work. However, the U.S. Government has refused to join the global festivities around May Day. For example, in 1884, Congress passed an act making the first Monday of every September Labor Day in an effort to disassociate labor activism from the radical left. Moreover, in 1957 then President Dwight Eisenhower co-opted May Day and renamed it “Law Day” to celebrate the importance of the rule of law in society. Learning about May Day made me put aside the May Pole and join my brothers and sisters around the world to mobilize for justice….

To read the rest of the article, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

BREAKING NEWS: Pacific Rim subsidiary sues Salvadoran government

April 30, 2009

Today a Pacific Rim Mining Company subsidiary began arbitration proceedings under CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) against the Salvadoran government. The company claims that is has operated “in full compliance with Salvadoran law, including the country’s environmental, mining and foreign investment laws, and have met or exceeded all applicable standards while conducting business in El Salvador.” In a press release, Pacific Rim stated its intention to seek damages in the “hundreds of millions of dollars from the [Salvadoran] government” for its loss of potential profits.
Pacific Rim officials state that their company has invested over $77 million in their mining projects. The company states that the Salvadoran government has violated international and Salvadoran law by failing to issue the company mining extraction permits. In a statement included in the press release, Tom Shrake, Manager and CEO of Pacific Rim, tried to appeal to those with concerns regarding the effects of mining on human rights, environmental rights, and the Salvadoran economy. “It is not just the rights of Pacific Rim that are being compromised, but the rights of all Salvadorans and future foreign investors,” he lamented, claiming that Salvadorans were losing out on jobs and the privilege of being one of the first countries in the Americas to hold a new standard in environmentally-friendly mining projects.

To read the press release, click here. To read a copy of the filing, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

“In this house we want a life without violence toward women.”

April 29, 2009

The following article, written by Sara Miller Llana, was published in The Christian Science Monitor’s blog:

SUCHITOTO, EL SALVADOR – Time seems to have stood still in the colonial town of Suchitoto, about 30 miles from El Salvador’s frenetic capital, with its quiet cobblestone streets and perfectly preserved architecture. But now its white-washed walls are adorned with a 21st-century message: “In this house we want a life without violence toward women.”

The words, which are accompanied by a bird and flower, the symbol of Suchitoto, forms part of a campaign by the Feminist Collective for Local Development to “elevate societal rejection of domestic violence, and make it a subject we should all be worried about,” says local feminist activist Morena Herrera. Read More »

Stop the raids and deportations!

Join the SHARE Foundation on Friday, May 1st, in Washington, DC to march for immigrant justice. This is a critical time for all those who support the immigrant community to mobilize and demand that President Barack Obama make good on his promise to put forward immigration reform legislation in 2009.

Our demands:

  • Stop the raids and deportations
  • Just and humane immigration reform
  • End the 287(g) Agreements (no local enforcement of unjust immigration laws)

To join the march, meet at Malcolm X Park at 3PM (click here for directions) and at 4PM we will march to the White House.

This mobilization is sponsored by the National Capital Immigrant Coalition (NCIC). To endorse this action, contact David Thurston at

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Catholic Church presents 300,000 signatures against equality

April 25, 2009

The Catholic Church presented El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly with 300,000 signatures of people who are in favor of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman. Only 56 votes are needed to approve the amendment, and all but one political party (FMLN) have stated their support for the amendment. The Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas (left), stated that the legislation would not discriminate against homosexual relationships. Instead, the legislation would serve to “safeguard the good of the family, the good of matrimony, and the good of society.” He further stated, “We want to put up padlocks so that society’s values are firm.” Read More »

Past is Present in El Salvador

April 23, 2009

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