The SHARE Blog

Ministerial decree to reduce homophobia in health services

April 6, 2009

The Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of El Salvador approved a decree to reduce homophobia in health care services as part of the country’s National Plan on HIV Prevention.

According to an article by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, a country progress report from 2008 indicated that human rights violations as a main barrier to an effective response to the spread of AIDS in El Salvador. This new decree, therefore, is one of several actions being taken to “reduce homophobia and any type of discrimination based on sexual orientation in the health services.” To measure the health providers’ accountability to this decree, the Minister has asked that health institutions report back how they have reduced homophobia in their health services, though it is unclear what standards would be used or actions would be taken to sanction those who do not make improvements. Read More »

CAUSA issues press release on El Salvador’s historic election

CAUSA, an Oregon-based immigrant rights organization, issued a press release about SHARE’s election delegation and Funes’ commitment to work with the United States on immigration. Francisco Lopez, CAUSA’s Executive Director and SHARE delegate and board member, stated “The historic election of President Funes offers an important opportunity for President Obama to work towards mending relations with people who view the United States as historic supporters of repressive regimes.”

To read the press release, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

“Take off the ‘Cold War’ glasses concerning Latin America”

April 1, 2009

Below is an article written by Ollie Jefferson, one of 19 members of the National Lawyers Guild that participated as a delegate in SHARE’s Election Observation Mission. The article, published in the Star Telegram, talks about her experience observing the Presidential Elections in March.

Joined by other members of the National Lawyers Guild, I was part of a delegation of international election observers who went to El Salvador to witness its March 15 presidential elections.

The delegation was sponsored by the SHARE Foundation, which has programs in El Salvador designed to meet basic human needs and build long-term solutions to poverty and social injustice.

Our participation, independent of the U.S. government, was an effort to see whether the elections were fair. While I have had hundreds of Salvadorans as clients and empathize with what they have suffered, my participation as a certified presidential electoral observer required objectivity. Read More »

Cyanide spills into a river at a mining site in Honduras

Cyanide spilled into the Lara River at a mining site in San Andrés Minas, Honduras, after a rock ruptured the tube transporting it. At 11:45 p.m. on March 19, a tractor suddenly dropped a large rock that hit a 50-60 centimeters thick tube transporting cyanide to clean the extracted metals. The puncture caused a stream of cyanide to spill out into the Lara River, resulting in the deaths of thousands of fish.

According to Minosa, the mining company, 150 gallons of the cyanide solution fell into the river, though residents fear the quantity was greater than that since the employers did not notice the spill until a few hours after it had happened.

The next morning, the district attorney in the community arrived to inspect the damage, as well as representatives from the Catholic Church, human rights organizations, and other social organizations. Findings showed that the cyanide reached 300 meters from the spill, but there was not any cyanide detectable 400 meters away. Read More »

Ad-Hoc Commission on Mining dissolves

In the Diario CoLatino, the Mesa Nacional Frente a la Mineria Metalica wrote an opinion piece on the dissolution of the Ad-Hoc Commission on Mining on March 19, 2009. The Commission was formed in the beginning of 2007 in order to discuss the proposal of a new mining law put together by the Canadian mining company, Pacific Rim, and presented by legislators from the PCN (National Conciliation Party) political party. Read More »

Pictures of election observation in San Salvador

March 31, 2009

Claudia Rodriguez-Alas, SHARE’s DC Policy Office Director, has uploaded pictures of SHARE’s Election Observation Delegation. Most of her photos take place in different voting centers in San Salvador. To view the photos, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

“Election observer in El Salvador, a recession-proof spring break job”

Below is an article written by a Georgetown University student and SHARE Election Observation Delegate, Sarah Stodder, for her university’s newspaper on her experience in El Salvador. Sarah is a member of the Georgetown Magis Group, a SHARE youth partnering group.

Last Tuesday, I spent my morning in the noisy, sunlit streets of San Salvador and the night in Georgetown’s comparatively glacial climate. But the drop in temperature has actually been the easiest thing to get used to since my return. Not so easy have been my brief encounters with people I know, those friendly but slightly awkward and unfulfilling moments on the way to class when neither person has the time or desire to stop and talk. Each conversation follows a similar outline: “How was break?” One-word response. “Yours?” One-word response. Off to class.

I’ve been struggling to find a word for my break. Through Campus Ministry’s Magis Immersion and Justice Program, I spent ten days in El Salvador with nine other Georgetown students and three staff members. We visited impoverished and marginalized communities—places many Salvadorans themselves don’t see—where people showed us their living conditions and explained the situation in their country. We also served as International Election Observers for El Salvador’s March 15th presidential election.

Passing friends in a hurry, all the words I want to use—sobering, life-changing, uplifting—seem too heavy for a five-second conversation….

To read the rest of Sarah Stodder’s article, click here.

To read another article on the Georgetown Magis Group’s trip, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Romero Justice Week – Baltimore, MD Celebration with Bishop Rosa Chavez

March 30, 2009

In commemoration of the 29th anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s martyrdom, SHARE’s friends at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, Maryland Presbyterian Church, St. Andrew’s By the Bay, St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, and Govans Presbyterian Church held a procession and mass with their invited guest, Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador Gregorio Rosa Chavez. Keep checking SHARE’s blog for more reports and pictures from Romero events!

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

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“Perhaps, like fear, stress, and salt, a national sense of guilt would, in moderation, be healthy.”

Jon Santiago from the Huffington Post recently visited El Mozote, a small town in the Morazan department of El Salvador, where he learned about the infamous massacre of nearly 1,000 people by the Salvadoran military in 1981. After describing in brutal detail the events that transpired, the writer criticized the US government’s involvement with the Salvadoran civil war. He points out that both El Salvador and the United States have new, left-leaning governments and asks, “Hopes are high right now, why not drive them even higher? Why not internalize, and fully recognize, all of our past mistakes rather than bury them amidst generalizations that serve only to excuse?”

The writer noted that the story of El Mozote should not be forgotten and should be passed down to future generations to avoid such horrendous mistakes. He ruminates, “Perhaps, like fear, stress, and salt, a national sense of guilt would, in moderation, be healthy.”

To read the full article in the Huffington Post, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

LPG Datos indicates Saca will leave with a high rating

Angus Reid Global Monitor published an article that says current Salvadoran President Antonio Saca will finish his term with a favorable rating. LPG Datos conducted a poll that showed Saca’s performance rating is 6.2 on a scale of one to ten.

La Prensa Grafica has a running discussion about these results. One reader was skeptical of the validity of the results, because of his party’s (ARENA) recent loss in the presidential election due in large part to party’s poor management.

Another said of the poll: “Credible…in spite of the tireless attempts of the communists in an insatiable campaign to discredit ARENA, it [ARENA] has given us good governments. The most important thing is that they know what they are doing; there are not hidden agendas, the people know it and hope that they continue having an open book like that. Saca has done a good job with the compatriots in the United States, applying and promoting the re-inscription of the TPS*…” Read More »

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