The SHARE Blog

High Murder Rates among Youth in El Salvador

December 2, 2008

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


Video on Metallic Mineral Mining in ES

November 11, 2008

Click on the link below to watch a video on metallic mineral mining in El Salvador. The video also includes an interview with Marcos Orellana, a Chilean lawyer who specializes in environmental law and international treaties. To view the video, click here.

*This video is in Spanish.

-Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

Action Alert: Speak up for Free and Fair Elections in El Salvador!

November 3, 2008


Call or write your US Representative and ask him or her to sign onto a Dear Colleague letter in support of free and fair elections in El Salvador. The letter is being circulated by Congressmen Jim McGovern (MA) and Dennis Moore (KS), and the staff contact person is Cindy Buhl in Congressman McGovern’s office. The letter is currently in circulation in the House of Representatives and signatures will be collected throughout the month of November. Below is a list of talking points to include in your message:

  • With the upcoming Municipal, Legislative Assembly, and Presidential elections that will take place in El Salvador on January 18th and March 15th, 2009, I believe the United States can help ensure that the 2009 Salvadoran elections are free, fair, and conducted under the most transparent conditions. Read More »

More malnutrition and poverty in El Salvador according to FAO

October 31, 2008

The food and agriculture organization (FAO) of the United Nations, states that the recent food and financial crisis has severely increased malnutrition and poverty in El Salvador. According to experts from FAO, 18,9% percent of El Salvadoran people faces conditions of chronic malnutrition during childhood. This can in some cases affect normal growth. The FAO representant in El Salvador, Delmy Linares, says that it has to be done a lot on the issue of nutricional food security.

She emphasizes that the problem in El Salvador is not only the decrease in food production, but also lack of food accessibility for the majority of the population. It is misleading when food security is only referred to as a question of lack of production when it is also about whether the people has access to food or not. She uses beans as an example of a product which is not lacking, but has an unaffordable price for many people. There are various products being imported and produced in El Salvador, but people does not always have the money. Read More »

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