The SHARE Blog

Salvadoran Government trying to ban gay marriage…

April 23, 2009

There is limited information and news regarding the new constitutional amendment for the Salvadoran government on making marriage only between a man and a women, but the following article was posted on the Melbourne Community Voice for Gay and Lesbian Readers:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Members of El Salvador’s gay community hang a rainbow flag bearing the words ‘Paedophile Priests’ in Spanish outside the Legislative Assembly in San Salvador on Monday, April 20, 2009 to protest the Catholic Church’s request to legally prohibit marriages between gays.
The action is a response to the Church’s claim to have amassed 200,000 signatures on a petition in support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, which is currently before the legislature.

“The basic unit of society is the family, and consequently so is marriage, and therefore it deserves a true constitutional definition,” the Archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar, said at a press conference on Sunday. He went on to say same-sex marriages “are not moral and therefore cannot be considered marriage, but in fact are [unions], but that’s another thing,” the website reports.

The LGBT movement in El Salvador has continuously fought for job security and simple recognition. They have not fought for marriage, but ARENA has pushed this agenda and now we will find out today if the Legislative Assembly will pass the amendment.

*Photo courtesy of the Melbourne Community Voice for Gay and Lesbian Readers.

-Posted by Gregory Stock, Communications and Development Officer

Summit of the Americas Recap

April 22, 2009

Thirty-four heads of state and government attended the fifth Summit of the Americas this past weekend (April 17-19) in Trinidad and Tobago. For the first time since the Summit of the Americas began in 1994, free trade was not the focus of the discussion. Rather, Cuba was a major topic of discussion, with some leaders hoping that Cuba will be invited to the next Summit of the Americas, as well as immigration.

The tone of the Summit was notably different from previous Summits under the government of President Bush. While Obama proponed that he wanted a new, more mutual relationship between the US and Latin America, many leaders remain skeptical. Brazil’s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said prior to the Summit, “I’m going to ask the United States to take a different view of Latin America. We’re a democratic, peaceful continent, and the United States has to look at the region in a productive, developmental way, and not just think about drug
trafficking or organized crime.”

At the summit, Obama and many of the other presidents drew upon Obama’s race for optimism for social progress in the region. Obama included comments about his race in his remarks about Latin America being the most unequal region of the world, and identifying himself with the lower classes that have notbenefit ted from US ties with the economic elite of Latin America. Obama intends to address this disparity between the rich and the poor. While Chavez sees potential for increasing understanding with the poor, Bolivian President Evo Morales was less optimistic. An official commented, “Morales said to [Obama], ‘I can see publicly that there has been a change, that you have learned’ — and then he mentioned his race — ‘but that the actions of your people on the ground in my country are no different.”

*Pictures from Tim’s El Salvador Blog and The Miami Herald.

– Leslie O’Bray, SHARE Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern

Weekly Current Events, April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

In the 16 April edition of Prensa Latina, they reported that governing party of El Salvador, ARENA, approved the Law of Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents. “The law establishes universal education for children and adolescents, prompt medical attention in cases of emergency by an hospital, either from the national network, social security or private sector.”

The Associated Press reported that President Barack Obama will be entering the Latin American region for the first time today, Friday, during the fifth Summit of the Americas. The summit agenda has six topics of interest: prosperity, energy, the environment, security, democratic governance, and the summit process itself.

It was reported by the Associated Press on Wednesday from the Vatican City that there will be a doctrinal investigation into the leadership of the Catholic sisters of the United States, reportedly because they have not sufficiently promoted the Vatican line on homosexuality and other issues. There have been problems since 2001 regarding the sisters lack of promotion of teaching on homosexuality, salvation and the priesthood, which the Vatican says is reserved for men. The US Conference have said they have been confident in their teachings and have been faithful to its mission of women’s orders.

Sources: Prensa Latina, Nassau News Live, The Seattle Times, and the Associated Press.

-Gregory Stock, Communications and Development Officer

Empowered Women, Empowered Communities!

Shoveling soil is HARD! That thought ran through my head over and over again as I watched SHARE Foundation’s delegates and members of cooperatives shovel compost as the sun beat down on the tin roof that barely covered the compost soil pile. We kicked up dirt and sand and soon everyone’s brightly colored sneakers were covered with muted brown earth. I gulped down water from my water bottle and wiped sweat from my brow with my sleeve.

The group I was with was comprised of American University students and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger’s staff and board members who had come to observe El Salvador’s historic elections and learn more about Salvadorans who are fighting for justice and creating real change in their communities. This group visited two cooperatives that participate in SHARE Foundation’s local development program: Los Frailes (The Friars) and the Marta Gonzalez Cattlewomen’s Cooperative (ACAMG).

Read More »

UN loans $15 million for agricultural development

April 13, 2009

The United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) plans to loan $14.98 million dollars to El Salvador to advance agricultural production in rural areas. This newest initiative is projected to benefit 30,000 Salvadorans living in marginalized communities, and is directed towards landless farmers, agricultural laborers, rural women and youth, and small business owners.

The project will provide access to financial services, technical assistance, and markets, to help “transform subsistence agricultural and off-farm activities into profitable, rural businesses and micro-enterprises.” It will also incorporate efforts to manage micro-watersheds and rehabilitate environmentally deteriorated areas.

– Leslie O’Bray, SHARE Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern

* Photo taken from UN News Centre

“Mo(u)rning in El Salvador”

Robert Lovato wrote the article below in The Nation about his recent experience in Izalco, El Salvador. He relates the FMLN presidential victory to events throughout El Salvador’s history, notably to the 1932 killing of around 30,000 indigenous peasants, known as La Matanza.

In Izalco, El Salvador, an idyllic but very poor village nestled under the gaze of the great volcano of the same name, I asked Juliana Ama to help me understand how the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the guerrillas-turned-political-party, had managed to triumph over the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) in the presidential election on March 15, ending the right-wing party’s twenty-year reign. Ama guided me to a dusty, football field-size dirt lot adjacent to a church. The 61-year-old schoolteacher said nothing at first, staring meditatively at a round spot blackened by a campfire or some burnt offering. Then she said simply, “It’s our dead.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

– Leslie O’Bray, SHARE Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern

* Picture taken from The Nation

SHARE delegate reflects on experience as an international observer

April 8, 2009

Jeannie Berwick, a SHARE delegate who monitored the presidential elections in March, reflects below on her experience as an international observer.

“Salvadorans, you have the sky for your hat, so great is your dignity.”

So begins the song that became the popular anthem of El Salvador’s poor communities as they resisted military repression during their country’s civil war that formally ended with the 1992 Peace Accords.

On March 15, 2009, seventeen years after the war, we witnessed the great dignity of ordinary Salvadorans as they voted in elections that were miraculously absent of the violence that has characterized the Salvadoran political process for generations.

We were in El Salvador, along with thousands of people from several countries, to serve as accredited international election observers. Our delegation of 150 people from 18 states was sponsored by the SHARE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has accompanied El Salvador’s poor for over twenty-five years, through twelve years of war and now in the arduous process of rebuilding. Read More »

“El Salvador Elections: the Ghosts of Izalco”

Emily Achtenberg, a delegate from SHARE’s electoral observation mission, wrote this article about her experience on Election Day in Izalco, Sonsonate. Izalco is the site of the 1932 peasant uprising that became known as “La Matanza” (the slaughter). Due to great inequality between peasants and landowners and a fall in coffee prices, rebels rose up behind communist leader Augustín Farabunto Martí. The US backed dictator, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, quelled the revolt in a few days, killing around 30,000 peasants.

March 15, 2009 – 4:45 AM

As we approach the voting center in Izalco where our international observer team will be stationed, the weight of history is hard to escape. Both the left and right of El Salvador trace their political roots to this small town in the western coffee-growing department of Sonsonate. Read More »

Father Miguel Vasquez visits Kansas City to commemorate Oscar Romero

April 7, 2009

The article below provides coverage of Father Miguel Vasquez’s recent tour to Kansas City, MO, sponsored by the SHARE Foundation, the Kansas City Sister Parish Committee, and St. Sabina Parish. Father Miguel (in photo at left), from Arcatao, El Salvador, spoke to the community about his memories of Oscar Romero, who was assassinated before he was scheduled to ordain Father Miguel to become a priest. Below is an article written by Kevin Kelly for the Catholic Key.

Father Miguel Vasquez Hernandez knew the four U.S. women missionaries who were raped and murdered by Salvadoran National Guard soldiers in December 1980.

As a newly ordained priest, he served the same poor in the same area of the country as did Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missioner Jean Donovan. Read More »

A new environment towards mining

April 6, 2009

Just five years ago, the Glencairn Gold Corp. said Central America was “a top destination for mining companies” where the political situation “encourage[s] mineral exploration and mining.” Yesterday, the Global Post published this article on the changing prospects for mining companies in the region, largely due to strong anti-mining campaigns.

The Catholic Church has been vocal in the anti-mining protests that seem to be impacting the government’s stance toward mining. In Guatemala, two mining activists were murdered and a bishop received a death threat, which may have prompted the government to halt the distribution of mining permits. During this six month moratorium, the Guatemalan government will consider a new law that which would require mining companies to give 4% of the profits to the government, an increase from the current requirement of 1%.

Read More »

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