Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Who Will be the Next President of El Salvador? Open-Forum with Presidential Candidates

February 2, 2014

Tomorrow, eighty SHARE delegates will travel throughout El Salvador to participate as international observers in the 2014 Salvadoran Presidential elections.  

Yesterday, these delegates had the privilege of meeting the Vice Presidential candidate for the three largest political parties in this elections: FMLN, UNIDAD, and ARENA. While the political campaigns officially ended on Wednesday and political parties can no longer promote their candidate, the vice presidential candidates answered a series of questions covering the economy, security, and education.

To open the forum the first presenter, FMLN Vice Presidential candidate Oscar Ortiz began, “I want to thank CIS and SHARE for bringing you here to help the Democratic process. Thank you for accompanying us at this historic moment. I won’t ask you to vote, but I will tell you that we will win.”

Ortiz explained the FMLN’s top five priorities:

1. Grow the economy to both improve jobs and create more jobs

2. Education, invest more in the people of El Salvador

3. Security,guarantee greater safety for families and entire communities

  • Continue to lower the homicide rate
  • Reign in extortion
  • Reform the prison system in El Salvador

4. Continue with social inclusion programs

5. Strengthen the democratic system in El Salvador

Ortiz recognized that though the homicide rate in El Salvador has decreased from 83 per 100,000 in 2009 to 42 per 100,000 in 2013, too many Salvadorans continue to suffer from high levels of violence. The mass immigration to the United States has torn families apart and the FMLN will invest in children, art, community programs that will reconstruct the social fabric of Salvadoran society.

“We don’t want our biggest export to be people. We are grateful for the way people in the U.S. have received our people, but we need to ensure that our people can stay here.” said Ortiz.

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SHARE Visits a Local Farmer’s Market

December 13, 2013

Farmers Market

The Local Market in the UCRES Region

Every 15 days, local farmers and artisans come together to sell their produce and simple crafts in the UCRES region of La Cabaña, just north of El Paisnal. You can find most anything at this colorful market, including: homemade candies, limes, homemade cheeses, cream, papaya, pineapple, spinach and other greens, loroco, squash, green peppers, ornamental plants, and a variety of fabric crafts, such as small thin towels called mantas, used for storing hot tortillas. An assortment of food is also available for purchase: coffee, homemade pastries, pasteles, and a cinnamon, rice, and milk snack known as arroz con leche.IMG_1909

Many of the women who participate in the farmers’ market received training in agricultural techniques and small business practices through SHARE’s partnering organization, UCRES.  The 2013 women’s empowerment project, supported by SHARE’s Grassroots Partners, provided opportunities for women to learn to plant and manage their own home vegetable gardens, among many other skills.  FECORACEN, a local agricultural cooperative affiliated with another SHARE partner, CONFRAS, facilitated workshops on organic fertilizers, garden set-up and management, soil types, and vegetable types and diseases.  

Rosa Delia Pinto

Rosa Delia Pinto

Rosa Delia Pinto from San Antonio Grande was kind enough to share her experience as a vendor in the farmers’ market and participant in the garden workshops.  Aside from tending her small garden, in which she grows eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers, green onions, jicama, and jalapeño peppers, she is also very active in local organizations.  She serves as the legal representative for the local women’s association, is a member of the Nonviolence Committee, and a literacy promoter with MINED (the Ministry of Education) in San Antonio Grande.

(This project) has helped us immensely … even though it’s a small amount (that we sell in the markets) we almost always sell everything,”  Rosa sells pineapple, loroco, homemade cheeses and cream, and arroz con leche at her small stand.  She makes the cheese and cream herself from fresh local cow’s milk that she gets from El Verdío, a small community nearby.  

Rosa’s story is just one small testament to the impact of regional women’s projects in El Salvador.  SHARE is looking forward to continued support for 2014 projects, including additional home vegetable gardens in the UCRES region.  Consider supporting women’s empowerment in El Salvador by purchasing a solidarity gift or making a donation.


Institutional Crisis: Road Paved to Fraud

October 23, 2013

Only one month remains until elections in Honduras, and the crisis in Honduran public institutions has only deepened. The Honduran people have faced a multitude of deep-rooted systemic injustices for decades, which have only been aggravated further by the coup. Impunity ranges from human rights violations in the 1980s, to dozens of murders in the context of the coup, to the current homicide rate, the highest in the world in 2012.  

Last month, Guillermo Lopez Luna, a Honduran magistrate spoke at a forum on impunity in Central America, sponsored by FESPAD, the IDHUCA, and the International Commission of Jurists. Lopez stated that Honduras faces “a complete collapse of the System of Justice,” with the Honduran police, judiciary, and the Public Prosecutor’s office characterized by corruption and inefficiency.

Additionally, the Honduran Congress has taken several actions to consolidate influence and control over the judicial system. As far back as 2003, the International Commission of Jurists noted the intervention of political parties in the Honduran Justice System. In the last year, the Honduran Congress has enacted at least three unconstitutional interventions in the judicial system:

  •  Removal of four Supreme Court Magistrates
  • Replacement of the Attorney General and Adjunct Attorney General for a longer term than outlined in the constitution

  • Election of Judiciary Council members limited to an organization of Judges aligned with the Honduran oligarchy

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Norman Quijano: From Mayor to President?

October 14, 2013

Norman QuijanoThis is the second post in a three-part series introducing the three main candidates for presidency, representing UNIDAD (a coalition of the GANA, CD and PCN parties), ARENA, and the FMLN. Six months remain until Election Day on February 2nd, when a team of elections observers will join SHARE to ensure a free and just electoral process for El Salvador in 2014.

On August 15th, Norman Quijano took leave from his position as the mayor of San Salvador to focus on his official presidential campaign for the ARENA party. Although the elections polls show too many discrepancies to predict a winner, Quijano is a strong candidate because of his popularity as mayor of San Salvador, having won a second term in 2012 by a landslide.

Norman Noel Quijano Gonzalez was born on November 2nd, 1946 in Santa Ana to a middle class family. He graduated from the University of El Salvador in 1977 with a Bachelor’s degree in Odontology. He continued his studies for oral surgery in Argentina, Cuba, Colombia and the United States. Quijano was first introduced to politics under the reign of then ARENA mayor Dr. Armando Calderón Sol, when he served as the Manager for Social Action of San Salvador from 1989 to 1994 . He then held the position of Board Secretary of the Legislative Assembly from 2006 to 2009.

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Inside Look with Ricardo

June 22, 2013

An interview with CONFRAS’ Ricardo Ramirez, social organizer, marking 4 years of the FMLN administration. CONFRAS is the Confederation of Federations of Agricultural Cooperatives from the Agricultural Reform. CONFRAS connects federations of agricultural cooperatives throughout El Salvador, facilitating economic and social development for its members of national agriculture cooperatives.

What advances have you seen in these last 4 years under FMLN leadership?

Well, there are a lot.  We can categorize them under four themes:  economics, social advances, democracy, and international relations.

Economic Advances

From (CONFRAS’) point of view, there has been an improvement in the economy. When the “Government of Change” took power, there was an economic recession …in 2009 it was a very serious problem. It has been a very difficult process, but… there has been a slow recuperation. At least there has been some re-growth, and this growth has happened even though the private sector has not been investing in the nation, as the large corporations have been taking their investment to other countries.  Here, economic growth is instead accredited to public investment. Even so, we can say that the economy is in a state of recuperation. Read More »

P3 law passes: What does this mean?

May 28, 2013

The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly passed the Public-Private Partnerships Law Thursday, May 23rd, with 83 of 84 votes. As one assembly member was absent for the vote, the law passed by consensus, meaning no parties opposed the passing of the law. Despite some resistance from the Salvadoran left and social movements, especially unions, the current public services that this law will open to contracts for management by private companies include ports, the airport, highways, and municipal services. Before agreeing to pass the bill, left-wing political party FMLN negotiated to ensure that some major public services are excluded from privatization, including water, education (particularly the national university), healthcare, the health insurance system for Salvadorans with formal jobs, and public security. While these exclusions are an important silver lining, Salvadoran social movements have reacted with outrage.“Public-Private partnerships continue the neo-liberal economic model where, once again, the state turns over public goods to private enterprise.”
– Isabel Hernandez, SHARE El Salvador

The United States was keen on this law passing in order to facilitate contracts for U.S. based corporations’ future business development and other international corporations’ investment to be carried out without facing any obstacles. U.S.-El Salvador ambassador, Mari Carmen Aponte, even threatened not to approve the next Millennium Challenge Corporation project funding, had the law not been passed. The fund focuses on coordinating public-private partnerships to enact mega tourism and development projects primarily along the coast in the Lower Lempa region. Read More »

“Partnership for Growth” or Destruction?

February 1, 2013

When El Salvador privatized electric energy in 1999, electricity rates rose an average 47.2% for the lowest-level consumers and 24.3% for the highest users, hitting the poorest sectors of society the hardest and illuminating problems associated with privatization. During the past two decades, privatization has trampled through El Salvador’s economy. In 2007 the government attempted to privatize water under the thinly-veiled “decentralization” effort, but a passionate social movement response halted the potentially devastating law. With the newly proposed P3 law, an even stronger offensive is needed to block the menacing attempt at privatization.   

Salvadorans protest the bill that would destroy progress with labor rights.Photo credit: Eric Draitser

Salvadorans protest the bill that would destroy progress with labor rights.

With the Public-Private Partnership (P3) law, the government is again attempting privatization; this time the P3 law threatens to destroy labor conditions, including unions and wages, and disempower Salvadoran institutions and workers. 

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Civil Society Reacts to Vendor Removal

November 5, 2012

Quijano bulldozed 970 street vendors within 33 blocks

On the weekend of October 28th, mayor of San Salvador and 2013 ARENA presidential candidate Norman Quijano ordered the violent removal of 970 informal vendor stalls from 33 blocks in San Salvador. With a bulldozer. That’s right, he demolished hundreds of stalls containing thousands of dollars in merchandise and a few vendors inside, with a bulldozer. Such rampant disregard for other human beings requires action.

As can be expected, national and international communities are outraged and calling for justice to be served. When Quijano literally bulldozed the vendors’ livelihoods last week, he extensively violated the rights of every affected individual and created an even deeper divide between the middle and lower classes.

SHARE partnering organization, FESPAD, was among the first to speak out against this appalling disrespect and oppression of the working class. FESPAD is demanding that the government recognize the needs of the targeted low-income community and respect the dignity and vulnerability of this population.

On October 21st, FESPAD held a press conference during which they released a position statement recounting how Quijano violated the vendors’ rights. The statement charts out a number of demands for justice, including a formal apology to those affected and for the government to recognize that they violated both the municipal law and human rights.  
For background on this event, read our blog. 
For the full position statement from FESPAD, visit their position paper, published in the Diario Colatino. For more background under the “Read More” tab, Equipo Maíz has published a informative comic.

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Relief Update: October 2011 Flood

November 1, 2012


A micro-loan recipient and her 2012 crop.

Last October, Tropical Depression 12-E dumped more than five feet of rain on El Salvador in less than ten days. The record shattering floods destroyed more than 165,000 pounds of basic grains, resulting in a loss of $800 million, 4% of El Salvador’s GDP. Over the course of one week 56,000 people were displaced and 8,118 homes and 900 schools were severely damaged.

The situation was dire, but because of SHARE’s individual donors, grassroots partners, and supporting foundations we were able to send more than $40,000 to support communities devastated by this deluge.

This is what we did together:

  • 400 children and their parents received mosquito nets to protect them from malaria and dengue. The prevalence of both diseases increased dramatically in the months following the floods. 
  • A brigade of SHARE scholarship students carried food and supplies to 20 familieswho were stranded when the only bridge to their community, Santiago Torres, washed away. 

    Scholarship students lead games with children in Santiago Torres after they led a brigade to bring basic supplies to the stranded community.

  • Provided 100 food and personal hygiene packages to families in the Puerto de La Libertad. Packages included corn flour, beans, rice, sugar, oil, cheese, and milk. Hygiene packages included soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, diapers and heavy soap to clean homes.
  • More than 200 leaders from over 100 communities received emergency preparedness
  •  training this spring. Last October, communities with these training experienced almost no loss of life.  
  • In the community of San Jose el Pacún 18 latrines were constructed. During the flood many latrines were destroyed, creating public health hazards.
  • In Tecoluca, shelters received food and medical supplies for 1,759 people seeking refuge from the flooded Lempa River. 

Take Action Now for Ousted Vendors!

October 30, 2012

City officials violently bulldozed and removed all vendor stalls within the 33 blocks of San Salvador. photo from El Blog

Over the weekend, San Salvador Mayor Norman Quijano, presidential candidate for the ARENA party, ousted 970 street vendors from 33 blocks of downtown San Salvador. More than 5,000 police officers and city employees violently removed vendors who attempted to stay by barricading themselves in their stalls.

The process injured ten individuals and resulted in thousands of dollars in destroyed equipment and merchandise belonging to vendors. The assault on low-income workers continued Monday when Quijano ordered police to shut down Casa Sindical, headquarters of the Salvadoran Union Front, so that unionists could not enter and organize.

To TAKE ACTION, click the “Read More” tab. Read More »

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