The SHARE Blog

MCC Urges Nicaraguan Government to Respect Democracy – A Hint of What’s to Come for El Salvador?

December 2, 2008


Chief executive officer of the MCC, John Danilovich, has decided to reevaluate the aid package from MCC to Nicaragua due to irregularities regarding the recent municipal elections in Nicaragua.

This decision comes after recently-reelected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega refused accreditation to independent election observers to monitor the elections, violence erupts in Nicaragua following the election results, and the opposition and unofficial election observers allege fraud. As a result, MCC has now suspended all disbursements to all projects and activities which are not already contracted with the MCA-Nicaragua, until further notice.

Danilovich states: “We had hoped, for the sake of the Nicaraguan people, that the government would continue the country’s trend towards peaceful, democratic, and credible elections,” I am afraid that recent evidence shows that this is not the case.” Read More »

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Bishops beg priests not to enter into political partisanship

Participation of priests in partisan politics would generate an environment of exclusion and could propagate violence in the society. This is the conclusion from the Central American bishops after their meeting in Ayagualo. They asked the clergy to stay out of partisan politics, and also refrain from instigating and initiating violence in the communities they live in.

The claim is that partisan politics would be destroying to the mandate of the priest as a figure for all of society. It would also hamper the proper identity and mission of the priests. The societal values of the priests should not be identified with certain political parties and it is not compatible to have both civil and religious power at the same time. Bishop Gonzalo de Villa from Guatemala claims that each person should have their own sphere of influence and interest. Read More »

Swiss expert warns about the impact on water from the mining

Swiss specialist in environmental chemistry warns about the dangers related to the approval of different mining exploration projects in El Salvador. The overall supply of the water resources, the quality of the water in the rivers nearby, and the health of the population living nearby are severely threatened by the mining projects.


Fresh water is highly susceptible to contamination because of the acid drainage coming from the mines. This drainage contains high levels of heavy metals which are damaging to the waters. This is very difficult to evade even with the use of “green methods” in the mining. These methods are promoted by the companies, but are considered to represent a small difference from the normal methods. Read More »

High Murder Rates among Youth in El Salvador

Murder rates in El Salvador have reached frightening levels; in fact, 230 murders have been counted in 23 days. The daily average has then reached a rate of ten murders per day. This is two more than the daily average for 2008 as a whole. According to the national police, the high rates can largely be seen as a result of gang activities. The gang activities can account for about 70% of the murders, while the rest of them are due to family violence.

A large number of the murders are also murders among youths. The murder rate for youth is actually much higher than the rate for the overall population. The murder rate among youths in El Salvador is 92 in a population of 100,000 people. This rate is mainly due to the high presence of youth gangs. It is also a matter of importance that the country has a long history of armed internal conflict. Read More »

Central American crime is a growing U.S. problem

Central America has the highest crime rates in the world, with the Caribbean and South America following close behind. The country with the highest rate of homicides per year is El Salvador, with other neighbouring countries next. Of a population of 100000 inhabitants, El Salvador has a rate of 68 killings per year.

These criminal tendencies are also posing a problem to the United States. People with criminal records from Central America enter the U.S. illegally and continue their habits there. This has contributed to the increase in deportations of undocumented immigrants. What is more problematic is that these people often return illegally to the U.S. later on. Read More »

Latin America awaits Obama action

Washington analysts on Obama`s policies towards Latin America are careful in predicting too much changes in the policy. “No major changes or initiatives, but a change in tone”, is the common attitude. Despite a huge involvement in Latin America and several areas of common interest, the current situation with economic recession and involvement in two wars are reducing the likeliness of major change. Latin America was hardly mentioned in the electoral campaign, and Obama has never put his feet on the continent. However, the more soft power approach to foreign policy promoted by Obama can open for understanding and more fruitful cooperation between the two. Read More »

Company promoters “contaminate” communities in El Salvador

The Canadian mining company Pacific Rim, creates social tensions in the communities they operate. In addition to the environmental pollution that comes from the mining, their way of entering the communities creates “social pollution”. The company hires people from the communities to work as promoters for the mining projects. The promoters are then working on behalf of the mining company, and they create tensions in their effort to convince the other locals to support the mining. The use of promoters creates divisions across communities and families and tears down earlier community bonds.
Even if the consequences of mining are often unknown and uncertain for the local people, many have been informed because of reports from similar projects in neighbouring countries and neighbouring areas. The communities are now divided between those who benefit from the mining, and those who oppose it.

Read More »

Salvadoran Archbishop: “El Salvador’s Problems Should Be Resolved in El Salvador.”

November 21, 2008

The Salvadoran Archbishop, Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, spoke out against the recent criminal complaint against former Salvadoran president, Alfredo Cristiani, and 14 other former military members for the murder of the six Jesuit priests and two female employees in El Salvador in 1989. The Archbishop responded to the news by commenting, “El Salvador’s problems should be resolved in El Salvador.” However, many argue that the case cannot be resolved in El Salvador because of the amnesty laws that protect war criminals from the Salvadoran civil war.

Click here to read the article in the National Catholic Reporter.
Look for the quote from SHARE’s executive director, José Artiga!

– Posted by Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator, SHARE Foundation

Congressional Candidates in El Salvador Will Allow Mining

Future lawmakers are willing to facilitate mining in the country, but with certain conditions that will prevent contamination. With the joke that if a congressman found gold under his house he would vote in favor of a law to allow him to excavate all the metal, invitees to the debates of congressional candidates for the central zone made it clear that they are in agreement to regulate mining, which has been an important topic due to the interest by several companies in digging on Salvadoran soil.

Mario Valiente of ARENA, Benito Lara of FMLN, Ciro Cruz Zepeda of PCN, and Medardo Hernandez of PDC are all seeking San Salvador seat and they all say that they will support a mining law.

The country already has a mining law which is very old, hence lawmakers want to update it. There is even a special commission in the Assembly to study the preliminary project presented by the PCN, but there have not been any major progress.

Click here for the original article in Spanish.

– Posted by Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Justice for the Slain Jesuits in El Salvador?

Spanish human rights lawyers have filed a complaint against former Salvadoran president Alfredo Cristiani and 14 former members of the Salvadoran military for their involvement in the deaths of the six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s daughter almost twenty years ago and the resulting cover-up by the Salvadoran government. Alfredo Cristiani was president when the priests and the two women were murdered on the Central American University campus in November 1989. The priests were symbolically shot in the head for being a part of a group of intellectuals who openly criticized the Salvadoran government during the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992). Despite the investigations of and the international outcry over the murders, Alfredo Cristiani and those involved with the case have remained free due to the amnesty laws in El Salvador for those involved in war crimes during the Civil War. However, most of the priests who were murdered were Spanish, so the Spanish High Court may decide to charge them with crimes against the humanity and seek their extradition.

Click here to read an article from the NY Times.
Click here to read an article from CNN.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

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