Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Tell Your Congressperson to Take Action!

March 15, 2014

On March 13, 2013 at 1:45 a.m., the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) held a press conference announcing the final election results. The FMLN won 50.11% of the vote with 1,495,815 votes and ARENA 49.89% with 1,489,451 votes (see the press release here). However, the TSE has yet to declare Salvador Sanchez Ceren the official president elect, as first they have to rule on legal requests ARENA submitted to nullify the elections, claiming that 20,000 FMLN poll workers voted twice.
 
Given the declarations by the Attorney General that there was no fraud in the elections, and the statements by the OAS, United Nations and many observation groups noting the transparency and efficiency of the elections, ARENA’s claims have no substance.

YOU can take action today to help ensure that the people’s vote is respected!

Call on your Congressperson and ask him/her to:

  • Make a public statement in support of the institutional authority of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and for El Salvador’s legally-established electoral procedures to be respected.
  • Call on President Obama to congratulate the President-elect once the winner has been officially declared by the Electoral Tribunal.
  • Read More »

ARENA Continues to Seek to Nullify Vote Despite Statements from United Nations and OAS Noting Transparency of Elections

March 13, 2014

Last night a quarter after midnight the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) finished its final vote count. At 1:45 a.m. they held a press conference announcing the results. The FMLN won 50.11% of the vote with 1,495,815 votes and ARENA 49.89% with 1,489,451 votes (see the press release here). However, the TSE has yet to declare Salvador Sanchez Ceren the official president elect, as first they have to rule on legal requests ARENA submitted to nullify the elections, claiming that 20,000 FMLN poll workers voted twice.
 
Given the declarations by the Attorney General that there was no fraud in the elections, and the statements by the OAS, United Nations and many observation groups noting the transparency and efficiency of the elections, the request will likely be rejected.
 
This morning, a couple hundred smiling members of various civil society organizations including FESPAD, the MPR-12, the Health Forum, and Pro-Busqueda gathered in front of the Salvador del Mundo Statue with signs stating “Respeto a la Democracia”/I respect Democracy. María Silvia Guillén, director of FESPAD, emphasized the transparency and legitimacy of the TSE, calling on all Salvadorans regardless of their political colors to respect the government’s institutions. 
 
Margarita Posada, coordinator of the National Health Forum read a press release titled “For Peace, Victory, and Dignity” noting that this is a transcendental moment in the history of El Salvador that has put to the test the government institutions and culture of peace and democracy, recognizing these elections as the most transparent yet, and congratulating the Salvadoran people for their participation in a peaceful elections, creating an environment of civic responsibility. Posada highlighted the work of the TSE to ensure the inclusion of the LGBT community and disabled persons.
 
Stay tuned to the SHARE blog and Facebook page for more updates.
 
 

TSE Announces Official Results of the Final Count


The following is a translation of a press statement issued by the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE)

TSE

At 1:50am on March 13 the Salvadoran Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the results of the second round of the 2014 presidential elections.

The president of the TSE, Eugenio Chicas, divulged the results to an audience that stayed through the end of the count, many of whom were journalists waiting in the disclosure room.

After the final count, the data approved by the collegial body with the unanimous support of the TSE is the following:

The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) received 1,495,815 votes, representing 50.11% of the vote; the National Republican Alliance (ARENA) received 1,489,451 votes, representing 49.89% of the vote. The total number of valid votes was 2,985,266 with a difference of 6,364 between the two parties.

In their message they did not fail to acknowledge the enormous help of many international organizations, observer delegations, national organizations, the Electoral Supervisory Board, the Attorney General of the Republic, the Human Rights Ombudsman, the technicians, clerks, the press for their many hours of work, the contending political parties, the union of the TSE, the workers, and the collegial body, “We feel very satisfied with the work that has been accomplished, which has not been easy, there were distortions of information due to the way in which the data was entered.”

“There was much political tension, this means that there were some departments that did not work at the same rate. This, without doubt, caused the anxiety of the long process. Nevertheless, we are satisfied with the agreement between the preliminary and final count.”

In this electoral process the TSE highlights the quality, the transparency, the safety, speed, and certainty that was in the first and final scrutiny of the vote.


El Salvador Election monitoring: blog no. 2 – the Magic of Witnessing

March 7, 2014

The following reflection was written by Cathy Lester, a first round elections observer, and representative for Meta Peace Team.  Cathy lives in Grayling, Michigan.  She writes a blog for the Traverse City Record-Eagle website.  You can read some of her other posts here. 
 
Americans take our right to have elections somewhat for granted. This was brought home to me by the enthusiasm of the Salvadoreños. They were not only glad simply that they were allowed to have elections, they were extra-glad that, as I said in my previous blog, the electoral process has been reformed into something they could believe in.
 
The Election Monitors arrived at the voting center at 5:00 a.m., when it was supposed to open. By then, both the major parties already had tents up and were making lots of noise. 
 
Arena tent
I have to say the party of the Right had a lot more money to spend on tents, balloons, signs, drums, banners, food, etc. Their music had a triumphal, bouncy, we´ve-already-won air. I also noticed a certain racial divide: none of the right-wingers had “Indian” features, most of them had a middle-or-upper class air, and a lot of them were tall, fat and/or had big booming voices. (I think the “vigilantes” were chosen partly for that.)
 
The workers’ party had more country people, and more that looked Indian, and few that were fat. Or tall or overbearing. Their music was strong, serious, and determined – in a minor key but very upbeat.
 
The observers were surprised by the almost carnival-like atmosphere. I spoke to some Finns from a European group of Election Monitors, and they were saying, “In Finland, when we vote we´re so silent, it´s like going to church!” 
 
Outside the center, there was a constant stream of cars honking. Groups from the various parties were waving flags and chanting, singing, playing music. In addition, the sidewalks were crowded with vendors calling their wares: Mango-mango-mango! Election souvenirs, best prices! 

Salvador Sánchez Cerén: From Guerilla Commander to President?

December 6, 2013

Salvador Sánchez Cerén is a Salvadoran politician, one of original founders of the leftist party, Frente Farabundo Marti (FMLN), and the dissolved political-military organization, Fuerzas Populares de Liberacion “Farabundo Marti” (FPL).  He is the FMLN’s presidential candidate for 2014, with VP candidate Oscar Ortiz.

He was born in the city of Quetzaltepeque on June 18th, 1944.  Quetzaltepeque has indigenous origins and literally means “the quetzal’s (colorful bird) place”. Sanchez Ceren comes from a large, working family.  He grew up with twelve brothers and sisters, his mother and father.  His father was a carpenter by trade, and his mother was a market vendor. He went to primary and secondary school in Quetzaltepeque, at Centro Escolar Jose Dolores Larreynaga.

ssc2

Sánchez Cerén worked as a teacher, after graduating from the National Teaching School Alberto Masferrer in 1963.  On June 21st, 1972, he founded the National Association of Salvadoran Educators (ANDES 21 de junio). In 1992 he was elected as an FMLN parliamentarian, and then re-elected in both 2003 and 2006 as the Chief of Party. In September of 2007, he was nominated vice president, and won the campaign alongside current president Mauricio Funes.

Once vice president, he took position as the Minister of Education. As Minister, he was best known for his school uniform and cup of milk programs, that provides every student through the 9th grade with a uniform, two pairs of shoes, and a daily glass of milk.  But in June of 2012, he renounced his position as minister, and announced his candidacy for the 2014 Presidential Elections. His running mate is Oscar Ortiz, the popular former mayor of Santa Tecla.

Sánchez Cerén and Ortiz have a very clear platform: to continue with positive changes for El Salvador. They speak of a country of hope, change, and opportunity for its people. The majority of the FMLN platform focuses on education, economic development and violence prevention. Sanchez Ceren wishes to generate more jobs, stimulate the public-private sector, and support small and medium-sized businesses. He is also committed to strengthening Salvadoran agriculture, fighting crime, defending the constitution, and to governing with honesty, integrity, austerity, ethics and efficiency.

 

Press Release from ProBusqueda

November 21, 2013

The following press release was issued by PRO-BUSQUEDA on Thursday, November 14.

This morning at 4:45am, the PROBUSQUEDA Association was surprised by a violent act. Three armed men threatened the director of the institution at gun point when he arrived at the offices. The director himself was held at gunpoint and threatened until he call for the PROBUSQUEDA guard to open the door so they could gain access to the PROBUSQUEDA archives. The guard and president of the board were also attacked. After they were gagged and thrown to the floor the armed men proceeded to enter the specific rooms where the archives and documents are stored, they proceeded to damage the computers, douse the archives with gasoline, and light them on fire causing considerable damage.

La oficina de probusqueda.

La oficina de probusqueda.

It is important to emphasize that this violent act was intended to destroy specific documents as the armed men attacked units that were of vital importance to the work of PROBUSQUEDA, damaged computers with classified documents. In addition to destroying archives that are essential in the cases that have been presented to the justice system at the national and international level, they also destroyed the organization’s financial information.

Although the extent of the damage has yet to be determined, it has affected many things including DNA samples and the theft of data of families of victims of human rights abuses during the armed conflict. In addition, an employee of the institution was threatened the same morning. At 7:50am when she was on her way to work, a vehicle approached the bus stop where she usually waits for the bus, three men got out and followed her on foot until she found a taxi. She was still in a state of shock when she arrived at the office only to find the destruction described above. Read More »


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

  Read More »


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.

Read More »


Order of Capture for Ex-Minister of Public Works: A Step Towards Justice for Corruption!

September 26, 2013

ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR THREE FORMER GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION IN THE CASE OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE DIEGO HOLGUĺN BOULEVARD, KNOWN TODAY AS THE MONSIGNOR ROMERO BOULEVARD.

The Monseñor Romero Boulevard connects San Salvador to Santa Tecla and Merliot

The Monseñor Romero Boulevard connects San Salvador to Santa Tecla and Merliot

Salvadorans across the country were outraged to learn that the construction of the Diego de Holguín Boulevard, recently re-named the Monsignor Romero Boulevard, which connects San Salvador to Santa Tecla and Merliot, cost the Salvadoran people nearly 100 million dollars. The extravagant price was due to the infamous corruption under the presidency of Elias Antonio Saca of the ARENA party, currently presidential candidate for the UNITY party. 

Following the installation of the new Minister of Public Works, Gerson Martinez, under the Funes administration in 2009, the ministry conducted an investigation of the case and presented evidence to the Attorney General’s Office to proceed with their investigation. After a long silence, just over a week ago news broke of the capture of eight individuals involved in this case, including former Deputy Minister of Public Works, Sigifredo Ochoa Gomez and the former Minister of Public Works, Jorge Nieto, who was the main actor implicated as responsible. The Attorney General´s office issued the arrest warrants.

Read More »


Hope and Frustration in Murder Trials of Salvadoran Environmentalists

April 19, 2012

Organizers flyer the Pacific Rim Mining Company sign in Sesutepeque, Cabañas. Photo courtesy of stopesmining.org

On April 11, 2012 the trials for the murders of  two environmentalists in in Trinidad, Sesutepeque, Cabañas – including (Ramiro Rivera and Dora Sorto – who was 8 months pregnant at that time) came to an end with six members of the 18th Street gang being sentenced to between 30-145 years in prison.  Unfortunately, the conclusions of  prosecuter in the Court of Specialized Sentencing  were  incredibly disappointing.  According to prosecutor’s hypothesis, none of the murders are linked to environmental activism against mining. Instead, they blame personal fueds that existed between families in the area.  Following this logic,  5 suspects were relased. In a statement by released by the Environmental Comitee of Cabañas they denounced this decison.

Similar reasons were cited in the case of Marcelo Rivera, an  anti-mining activist who was murdered in Cabañas in 2009. While it’s true that there are tensions and conflict within communities impacted or threatened by mining, many of them have been caused by the proposal of mining projects. Some community members are enticed by the projects such as schools and soccer fields that mining companies have offered, while others have spoken out and organized against mining because of the destructive impacts for humans and the environment.

The following is an article from La Prensa Grafica outlining the prosecutions denial of a connection between anti-mining activity and the violence:

10 prosecuted for murders of environmentalists

Source: La Prensa Grafica By Suchit Chavez, Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On April 10th, the Court of Specialized Sentencing in San Salvador began a trial against 10 people accused of involvement in five murders, including two environmentalists, which occurred in 2009 in the small community of Trinidad, in the municipality of Sensuntepeque (Department of Cabañas).

The defendants, according to the prosecutors, are supposedly close to two families in the conflict.

Most of the violent deaths occurred in December 2009. Within days of each other, Ramiro Rivera, Felicita Argueta and Dora Alicia Sorto were killed in different parts of the Trinidad community. At the time Rivera and Sorto were identified as activists against active mining projects in the area. Months earlier in the same area, two relatives of a man linked to mining, Horacio Menjivar and his wife, Esperanza Velasco were also killed.

The chief prosecutor of the Organized Crime Unit (UNICCO), Rodolfo Delgado said yesterday that following his investigation, prosecutors ruled that the crimes were not related to the activity of the mining company.

According to Delgado, “these families had previous quarrels with each other.” Activity for and against mining exacerbated ​​these alleged attacks, he said.

Delgado declined to specify what the prior arguments were about, or if they had ballistic tests that connected the cases. The prosecutor stated this was due to the fact that the trial was still ongoing. He added, however, that two witnesses gave statements indicating there was allegedly a history of problems between the families.

The killing of Marcelo Rivera, another environmentalist, occurred in June 2009 in another town in Cabañas, and was disconnected by the chief prosecutor to the case currently being processed in the Court of Specialized Sentencing. In September 2010, three people were sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of Rivera.

 –Translation by SHARE staff


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