Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Intellectuals propose creation of Ministry of Culture

May 21, 2009

The Forum of Salvadoran Intellectuals (FIE), a group comprised of artists and writers, have submitted a proposal to the Salvadoran government for the creation of a Ministry of Culture. The office would be responsible for the development and preservation for Salvadoran culture. José Roberto Cea, a poet, professor, and member of FIE (pictured at left with Chinchilla), asserted, “After twenty years of ARENA administrations, it is now time for neoliberalism to disappear and give way to fundamental factors for society, like cultural development.”

Although there are 173 cultural centers in the 262 municipalities in El Salvador, members of the FIE complain that the relationship between the organizations and governmental institutions remain abysmal. Miguel Ángel Chinchilla, another member of FIE, suggested that this situation could be rectified with the creation of a Ministry of Culture. The members of FIE agree that Funes’ new government “opens the door for a new cultural policy that dignifies and develops society in all of its components.”

*Photo from Diario CoLatino.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


Funes visits Venezuela


Less than one month before his inauguration, President-elect Maurcio Funes is visiting Venezuela to discuss trade and social projects with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. After meeting with Funes on Tuesday, Chávez announced plans to set up a commission for future projects with El Salvador. Chávez also announced that he will attend Funes’ inauguration on June 1, 2009 in San Salvador.

Contrary to what ARENA predicted during the presidential campaign, the U.S. Government does not appear alarmed or concerned by Funes’ visit with Chávez. US Deputy Assistant of the Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Craig Kelly, stated, “It is not up to the US to make comments on the diplomatic relations of El Salvador.”

*Photo from Diario CoLatino.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


“Victimizer wants to punish the victim”

May 7, 2009

Below is an English translation of the public opinion piece from the National Working Group Against Metallic Mineral Mining published in the Diario CoLatino in response to Pacific Rim’s initiation’s of arbitration proceedings against the Salvadoran government.

Victimizer Wants to Punish the Victim

On April 30, Pacific Rim made good on its threat to sue the Salvadoran State for denying them the environmental permit to extract the El Dorado mine in San Isidro (Cabañas).

Having completed the ninety days waiting period, the Canadian company went to the International Center for Investment Disputes (ICSID) to demand repayment of $77 million in “mining exploration investments.” Read More »


What We Want: An Interview with a Salvadoran Student Activist


Below is an excerpt of an interview with Oswaldo Natarén, a student activist and founding member of the Roque Dalton University Front of the University of El Salvador, with Erica Thompson. This interview is part of a series of interviews with Salvadoran activists conducted by Upside Down World.

UDW: Tell us a little bit about the founding of the FURD and why you chose Roque Dalton as a historic figure to identify with?

ON: The FURD was envisioned as a new chapter in the ongoing response of students in the National University to organize ourselves and to uncover the UES’ historic role in El Salvador’s revolutionary movement. The political project of the FURD arose in 2002 out of a collective need to continue that struggle. The group continues to explore and affect the life of the University through these objectives: to examine the other side of the history that is taught to us; to discover that there are many of us who think differently than the way society has trained us (as this is the case, we often think differently than one another); and to articulate both what the University’s role in society is at the moment and what it could be. Read More »


ARENA names Cristiani as head of party

May 5, 2009

ARENA named formed president Alfredo Cristiani as the head of the party late last week. Cristiani, whose family is part of the 14 families who make up the oligarchy, was elected President of El Salvador in 1989, marking the beginning of ARENA’s twenty-year rule over the country. His presidency was marred by scandal and corruption. In 1989, the Salvadoran army shot and murdered six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s teenage daughter at their residence in the Central American University. Recently, the Center for Justice and Accountability filed a criminal case in Spain against Cristiani and fourteen members and former members of the Salvadoran military for their involvement in crimes against humanity and state terrorism. In January of this year, a Spanish judge formally charged Cristiani and the members of the military for their roles in the murders of the Jesuits and the women.

The naming of Cristiani to ARENA’s party leadership came just ten days after current President Tony Saca announced that a former president of El Salvador would not take over party leadership. However, many party members blame Saca for ARENA’s loss in the recent presidential election to the FMLN and for “using the party for his own particular interests.” In a veiled criticism of Saca, Cristiani emphasized the importance of “returning to the party’s roots.”

*Photo: Cristiani speaks as Rodrigo Ávila and Tony Saca listen behind him. Photo from El Faro.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


“The people who love their freedom will one day achieve it.” – Simón Bolívar

May 4, 2009

Below are photos taken during the 2009 May Day march in San Salvador last Friday:


To see a slideshow of photos from the march, click here.

*Photos from El Faro.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


Legislative Assembly votes against same-sex marriages


Last week, the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador approved a new amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman, thereby by prohibiting same-sex marriages as well as adoption by same-sex parents. Rodolfo Parker, PDC Legislator and supporter of the amendment, pronounced, “Marriage is only between a man and a woman, born that way. It remains consecrated in our country that marriage is not possible for same-sex couples.”

FMLN politicians expressed concern over the amendment for its discriminatory nature and did not vote to approve the amendment. FMLN Legislator Arturo Fernández stated that although the party refused to support the amendment, the FMLN has no plans to promote the legalization of same-sex marriages and pointed out that the country’s LGBT organizations have not asked for legalization of same-sex marriages either. In fact, the Alliance for Diversity Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) issued a statement confirming that “we are have asked them to legalize [same-sex] marriages, but that they enact laws that do not affect their legality.”

*Photo of the Alliance for Diversity’s vigil courtesy of El Diario de Hoy.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


Put aside the may pole – march for immigrants’ rights!

May 1, 2009

As I prepare to participate in tomorrow’s May Day March for Immigrant Rights, I try to recall memories of May Day celebrations during my childhood. I remember a class project on the May Pole and extra recess time, but I cannot recall any memory of a lesson, unit, or class speaker that touched on the history of May Day. It was not until I was eighteen years-old that I learned about the true importance of May Day. In my history classes in college, I learned about the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, when a bomb was thrown in a rally to demand the eight-hour work day and police fired into the crowd. Eight anarchist activists were tried for murder and four were executed with little evidence and a biased jury. As a result, workers and labor unions around the world took to celebrating what became known as International Workers’ Day with parades, marches, and civil disobedience. For many countries, May Day is a holiday from work. However, the U.S. Government has refused to join the global festivities around May Day. For example, in 1884, Congress passed an act making the first Monday of every September Labor Day in an effort to disassociate labor activism from the radical left. Moreover, in 1957 then President Dwight Eisenhower co-opted May Day and renamed it “Law Day” to celebrate the importance of the rule of law in society. Learning about May Day made me put aside the May Pole and join my brothers and sisters around the world to mobilize for justice….

To read the rest of the article, click here.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator


Catholic Church presents 300,000 signatures against equality

April 25, 2009

The Catholic Church presented El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly with 300,000 signatures of people who are in favor of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman. Only 56 votes are needed to approve the amendment, and all but one political party (FMLN) have stated their support for the amendment. The Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas (left), stated that the legislation would not discriminate against homosexual relationships. Instead, the legislation would serve to “safeguard the good of the family, the good of matrimony, and the good of society.” He further stated, “We want to put up padlocks so that society’s values are firm.” Read More »


Past is Present in El Salvador

April 23, 2009

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